GJ Sports Blog - Superbowl XLVII Preview

Discussion in 'NFL Writer's Block' started by gjsportsblog, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. gjsportsblog

    gjsportsblog Rookie

    GJ Sports Blog: Superbowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers

    So after almost five months and over eighty NFL related posts on my blog, we are finally here and Superbowl XLVII is just hours away. It's been a long season but it has been another good one. We've had some great moments along the way and what better way to end it than with a bit of history in the Superbowl. It is amazing to think that the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are coached by two brothers and one can only imagine the pride that their parents must be feeling right now.

    The game itself is very intriguing. Both sides lost Conference Championship games last year but have bounced back from the disappointment to go one step further and reach the Superbowl. Both sides have done things a little different this year and whilst I haven't always agreed with it, I've been proved wrong. Initially I had them both as playoff teams and in my preseason predictions, I even picked the 49ers to win the Superbowl. As much as I'd love to sit here and bask in the glow of that prediction, I have to be honest and say once Alex Smith was replaced by Colin Kaepernick that went out the window. I still have issues with Kaepernick and it was a risky strategy from Jim Harbaugh to make such a big personnel change midway through the season. However, as much as I can look for ways to argue, the bottom line is Kapaernick, Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers have made it work and they have earned the right to represent the NFC in Superbowl XLVII.

    In the regular season, these teams won their divisions but neither held their conferences top seed. The Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons held that honour and it is no coincidence that the 49ers and Ravens have had to beat those two along the way to getting this far. The 49ers and Ravens both had decent regular seasons but more importantly, they improved in the playoffs. All year I have been looking at certain statistics to help me gage how good certain teams are. The Ravens have improved in 63% of the statistics I look at and the 49ers have improved in 75%. It just goes to show how important it is to peak at the right time in the NFL.

    It will be no secret to anyone that the statistic I believe to be the most important is turnovers. I have looked at all ten playoff games so far and in every single game the team who has won the turnover battle has won the match. There was a few games were the teams had the same amount of turnovers but in the games were their was an outright winner, that team won the match. It will also not come as a surprise to learn that when I looked at the turnover differential table, the top two teams are the Baltimore Ravens (+5) and the San Francisco 49ers (+2).

    One of the things I am looking forward to, is seeing how the Baltimore Ravens cope with the 49ers offense. In their three games so far, the Ravens have faced three passing teams. They have managed to get the better of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady but they face a totally different task when they take on Colin Kaepernick. The Ravens haven't done well against mobile quarterbacks and lost to Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III. Another of their defeats came against the Houston Texans who don't have a mobile quarterback but I would consider them to be a run first offense. The 49ers will combine a mobile quarterback with a run first offense and the Ravens will have to find a way to deal with that. They have improved on a lot of things throughout this playoff run so it's certainly possible that they will have a plan to deal with the 49ers.

    In their two playoff games so far, the 49ers offense has put up some great numbers. In the regular season they averaged 362 yards of offense per game. In the playoffs they have improved their passing and their running. They are averaging 476 yards per game and most of that improvement has come on the ground. They are averaging almost as many yards on the ground as they are in the air with 236 rushing yards and 240 passing yards.

    The one big issue is they have struggled against the pass so far. In the regular season they gave up just over 200 yards per game in the air. In their two playoff wins they have gave up a total of 644 yards. That's a huge increase but it can be offset a little by the fact that they played two pass heavy teams and a lot of their regular season schedule was against teams who prefer to run the ball. The 49ers will face a difficult task on defense as the Ravens have shown that they can win the game on the ground or in the air. Joe Flacco has done a great job in the playoffs but it things aren't working out for him he can always turn to Ray Rice who is among the best rushers in the NFL.

    I can't write my preview without mentioning that this is the final game in the career of an NFL legend, Ray Lewis. Nobody can deny his achievements on the field and he has been a fantastic player for the Ravens over the years. He has had his fair share of controversies, including one this week when it has been claimed that he has been using illegal substances but that's a story for someone else and unless it's proven that he broke the rules, it's not a subject I will be talking about. Lewis has always been a controversial character but he is one of few players who will be able to say that he left everything on the field each and every time he stepped onto it.

    Prediction - My final prediction of the season. Who will be crowned as King of the Harbaugh's? I'd like to say John as I like him but this isn't a personality contest and everything I know about football and everything I have learned this year about football tells me that the San Francisco 49ers will be crowned Superbowl XLVII champions.

    Finally, I'd just like to thank everyone for all their support this season. A blog is pointless without readers and I have enjoyed reading all the comments, debates and encouragement received. I will do a review of the game but after that I'm not sure what I will be doing with regards the blog. You can follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up to date with any future plans. Thanks everyone and hopefully we will enjoy a great game. Good luck folks. Twitter - https://twitter.com/gjsportsblog