Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Brothers Bowl Breakdown...

As impossible predictions came true we're facing one of the most improbable Super Bowl matchups in recent history. The 49'ers outlook was bleak near the end of the first half of the NFC Championship game when they gave up an astonishing 17-0 lead. The high flying Falcons looked poised to end their streak of bad luck, but fate had a different plan. After riding the hot hand of quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco finds themselves in the driver's seat with a great chance of actually winning the Lombardi trophy. Luck is on their side, as they have performed well when they reached the big game.

However, victory will not come easy for either team. Though the 49'ers they have a deep receiving core in Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, A.J. Jenkins, Vernon Davis, expect DB's Bernard Pollard, and Corey Graham to cover routes over the middle, and to the sidelines rather well. The Raven's secondary is unheralded but they stymied New England's strong receiving corps.

The same can be said about San Francisco, however. Last week, they made second half adjustments to shut down arguably the best receiving tandem in football: Roddy White and Julio Jones. Meanwhile they had to contend with legendary tight end, Tony Gonzalez. So, things will not be easy for Anquan Bolden, Tory Smith, or Dennis Pitta.

Both teams are equipped with stout run defenses. Key matchups to look for. Frank Gore against Haloti Ngata. Both players share multiple Pro Bowls. This will be a great battle that may contribute more than people give it credit for. If Gore is held in check and receivers are well-covered, a linebacker spy could make Kaepernick think twice about running.

Another matchup to watch is the formidable pass-rushers of the 49'ers. The Ravens offensive line is not the strongest and they have been moved around plenty. Flacco may not get the luxury of holding the ball waiting for the deep routes to develop, if Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis put pressure on the offensive line.

In the end, will the Ravens rally around a grizzled veteran to give him on last shot at glory to send him out in style? Or will the 49'ers strike it rich and evoke the glory days once again? We will know soon enough...

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