Baltimore Ravens (+3.5) vs. SF – The “Harbowl” is finally upon us. The match-up is intriguing for a number of reasons but primarily because it pits muscle against muscle; the Ravens and 49ers have both knocked the “finesse” teams out of the playoffs to get to this point.
When the Ravens have the ball: Look for Baltimore to use the pass to set up the run. Their retooled offensive line has performed exceptionally since Bryant McKinnie was re-inserted at LT, moving Michael Oher over to the right side, and new OC Jim Caldwell’s play calling has given the Ravens offense the balance it needed.
Ray Rice will be more effective as a receiver out of the backfield and look for back-up Bernard Pierce to provide a nice change of pace and pick up good yardage on the ground. But the 49ers run D will remain stout.
The Ravens receivers and TEs should find success against the 49ers secondary and LB’ing corps.
When the 49ers have the ball: Look for San Francisco to continue to run the read option but primarily feed the ball to Frank Gore out of that formation, and pick up decent chunks on the ground. Don’t expect much success for QB Colin Kaepernick running the ball as the Ravens have already seen the read option once this year when facing RGIII. After the 1st two series of that contest, they defended it very well. LB Terrell Suggs and LB Ray Lewis were both out that week too.
When they pass, Harbaugh will move Kaepernick around as it’s nearly impossible for defenses to cover for long periods of time and Kaepernick’s legs will give him the necessary time to hit WR Michael Crabtree and both TEs – Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker, for some big plays.
The game will be close throughout, and very well could come down to a FG at the end. While the 49ers are the more talented team individually and could very easily win this game, the Ravens have really come together as a “team” and are peaking right now.
That’s tough to bet against.
Look for Baltimore to cover the point spread and we think Kaepernick’s lack of experience could be exposed by a defense of Baltimore’s quality.
He hasn’t seen one this good since their Week 16 visit to Seattle.
When the clock hits 0:00, this Super Bowl 2013 website will show 24-20 Ravens as the final score, as Ray Lewis goes out a winner.