FanSided.com will be providing non-stop coverage during Super Bowl Sunday, but let’s shine the spotlight on the participants involved in the Super Bowl XLVII matchup. First up, the Baltimore Ravens.
This team rolled through the AFC playoffs despite being viewed as an underdog each and every step of the way. Baltimore managed to rally behind star linebacker Ray Lewis and use the emotion to push through every challenge on their way to New Orleans. Now that they are set up for a Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, can the Ravens and Ray Lewis continue their magical ride?
We took the time to speak with the lead editor of the FanSided Sports Network’s Baltimore Ravens site Ebony Bird, Tynan Patrick. Here are his thoughts on today’s matchup:
FanSided.com: What was the reason for Baltimore’s success throughout the playoffs?
Ebony Bird: It has been all about Joe Flacco. The guy has been a flat out stud in the playoffs this year. Im sure everybody knows the 8 TDs – 0 INTs stat and about the fact that he outplayed arguably the two best QBs in NFL history in back to back weeks(on the road). Flacco has been as good as any postseason QB has been in recent memory. There are other reasons for the Ravens success, but Flacco has been the key.
FanSided: Will Joe Flacco continue to play at an elite level?
EB: Yes, ever since Jim Caldwell took over as Offensive Coordinator the Ravens offense has been pretty much unstoppable. If you get rid of his first week on the job and week 17 when the starters played less than 1 quarter, the Ravens have not failed to put up 28 points. they are racking up over 400 yards per game and Flacco hasnt thrown a single interception(he hasnt thrown one since the back breaker right before halftime against the broncos in the regular season). This offense is humming right now.
FanSided: Who is the most important player for the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII?
EB: Not to sound like a broken record here, but again it is all about Flacco. If Flacco plays as well as he has the past few weeks, I have no doubt the Ravens will win this game.
FanSided: What are the key matchups that Baltimore needs to exploit in order to hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
EB: Torrey Smith getting deep on whoever is tasked with covering him is one key. another main one is Ed Reed taking advantage of Kaepernick and his inexperience and getting his hands on a ball. I also really love the Tight ends and Ray Rice matched up against the 49ers linebackers. The 49ers have played better Tight Ends(Tony G last week), but they havent played a team that can relentlessly throw weapons at a LB corp like the Ravens can. Ray Rice getting into space on passing plays is going to be huge for the Ravens.
FanSided: How can the Baltimore defense contain Colin Kaepernick?
EB: It is all about communication and playing within the system. Every Ravens player must know what their gap is, who their man is and exactly what they are supposed to do. This is where Ray Lewis is key, he is one of the all time best communicators on the field and makes sure all of his men are in the place they should be. The zone read is vulnerable if the opposing defense doesnt get out of position.
FanSided: Prediction for the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII?
EB: I like the Ravens(big surprise right?). I think the 49ers like to try and wear opponents down until they break late in the game, that isnt going to happen against the Ravens who have been playing that same style of game for years. simply put, the Ravens arent broken as easily as finesse teams like the Packers and the Falcons. I think this will be close into the fourth quarter, but the Ravens will pull away when Kaep starts to feel the pressure.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided.com throughout Super Sunday for the latest and most up to date Super Bowl XLVII coverage. For more San Francisco 49ers news, check out our 49ers website, Niner Noise. For more Baltimore Ravens news, check out our Ravens website, Ebony Bird.