A chance to look like a genius, or a chance to look like a dope.
We here at ArizonaSports.com haven't shied away from making predictions this football season. We've shared our thoughts for Arizona Cardinals games and even stuck our necks out and peered into the future back in training camp.
Now it's time to put a cap on the 2012 season with our fearless predictions for Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
The hardest thing for coaches is to know when to stick to your strengths and when to attack your opponent's weaknesses even if that doesn't play to your strengths. Tom Brady torched the 49ers with checkdowns and passes in front of the secondary during a regular season game. Flacco's strength is the deep ball. The way to beat the 49ers is simple: patient execution. The problem is patience and execution is not in the Flacco repertoire.
I think Flacco will try to change. Flacco will try to execute a short game plan and fail. In the second half he'll go back to what he's good at and hit some long shots. The Ravens will make a valiant come back but come up short.
Final Score: San Francisco 27, Baltimore 24 -- and no, it's not on a late David Akers FG. Baltimore will score late but fail on the onside kick.
It seems like most who are picking the Ravens are doing so on the basis of picking the "hot" team or the hot quarterback. The "team of destiny" team. The "we're doing this for Ray" team. I don't dismiss all of this but I do think the Niners have much better talent than Baltimore. The more talented team doesn't always win in the Super Bowl; this year I think it does.
Final Score: San Francisco 31, Baltimore 24
Super Bowls featuring good offenses have a tendency to become defensive slugfests, so what should we expect from a Super Bowl featuring a pair of good defenses? A defensive slugfest. I think Baltimore will have a tougher time stopping Colin Kaepernick than San Francisco will stopping Joe Flacco, and thus I've got the Niners in this one.
Final Score: San Francisco 23, Baltimore 13
Mostly everything in my head says I should pick the 49ers. They've got a superior defense and a quarterback running an offense that nobody can seem to slow down. But for whatever reason, I'm leaning toward Baltimore. I've been critical of Joe Flacco in the past, but man, the dude just wins ball games. He's got almost as many postseason wins to his credit (eight) as his counterpart has career starts (nine). Not to mention, he's been nearly flawless this postseason. The Ravens want to send Ray Lewis out a champion, as much as I dread the phony postgame histrionics in that event, I think it'll happen.
Final Score: Baltimore 27, San Francisco 24
Baltimore fits the mold of recent Super Bowl champions that simply got hot at the right time of year. And while Colin Kaepernick might be the talk of the town leading up to the big game, something tells me he'll commit a costly turnover late. Joe Flacco throws two touchdowns and wins MVP, and Ray Lewis retires a champion.
Final Score: Baltimore 23, San Francisco 17
In Week 16, the 49ers were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks 42-13. The Seahawks, like the Ravens, have a big and physical defense, a powerful and talented running back, and a quarterback with a cannon. The difference between the two is that the Ravens have weapons at the wide receiver position, and experience all over the defense. I see a lot of big plays for the Ravens, and I also think their defense will be able to limit Colin Kaepernick's effectiveness. This game won't be a blowout, but it won't be too close either. I think Joe Flacco has a big day, but Torrey Smith will bring in the MVP. Ray Lewis will have 16 tackles, force a fumble and retire as a Super Bowl champion.
Final Score: Baltimore 34, San Francisco 23
Famous Person From City San Francisco - Steve Jobs Baltimore - Edgar Allen Poe...Advantage - San Francisco (iThink, therefore iAm)
Infamous Person From City San Francisco - OJ Simpson Baltimore - John Waters...Advantage - San Francisco (Divine can't touch the Juice)
Pre Super Bowl Controversy San Francisco - Homophobic CB Baltimore - Deer Antler Spray-using LB...Advantage - Baltimore (Way to know your San Francisco fan base, Culliver)
Signature Food San Francisco - Rice-a-Roni Baltimore - Blue Claw Crabs...Advantage - Baltimore (mmm Old Bay Seasoning)
Signature TV Show San Francisco - Full House Baltimore - The Wire...Advantage - San Francisco (Michelle and co. better than Omar and McNulty? You got it dude! )
Former Cardinal on Roster San Francisco - Leonard Davis Baltimore - Anquan Boldin...Advantage - Baltimore (Breaking face during game > Repeatedly false starting during game)
# of Receivers on Roster Better Than Jerry Rice San Francisco - 0 Baltimore - 0...Advantage - PUSH
Verdict: San Francisco 27, Baltimore 21