Ralph Vacchiano's post on New York Giants | Latest updates on Sulia
My playoff record is a dismal 4-6, but here's my Super Bowl XLVII prediction anyway ...
I saw San Francisco against the Giants, but that was the pre-Colin Kaepernick version. Then I saw them live in the NFC championship and came away impressed. They are everything I'd want in a Super Bowl team -- a top defense, a strong running game, good on both sides of the line. They have plenty of underrated weapons, too, and of course the biggest weapon in their read-option quarterback. That's why I began the week leaning towards them.
But I began to lean the other way after talking to Justin Tuck and Eli Manning. Both of them said the Baltimore Ravens reminded them of the Giants last year. The Ravens were a good team that then struggled for a while, but managed to put it all together and get healthy enough for the stretch so they could take off on what has been an emotional run.
Now, they aren't as talented overall as the 49ers. That's especially true on defense, where the 49ers are loaded and the Ravens are riding an aging Ray Lewis playing on heart and steam. The Ravens have the offensive weapons, though. Joe Flacco seems to be locked in and he has a pair of terrific weapons in Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. And Ray Rice can run with any running back in the league. Their offense is just of the traditional variety. No read-option for them.
Then there are the quarterbacks, which I think are the most important pieces of a championship game. Flacco is just better at this point than Kaepernick, and as amazed as I am with the second-year 49er I trust the veteran a little bit more. I also think the read-option will look a lot different now that the Ravens had two weeks to prepare. In fact, I think the Falcons might have shut down the read-option in the NFC championship game if the 49ers had tried to run. They set up their defense perfectly wide to contain Kaepernick, but Jim Harbaugh out-foxed them by hardly using the read-option at all.
The Ravens have had two weeks to prepare for both contingencies. And if they get a big lead the way the Falcons did, there's no way they'll fall apart and give it up. I don't think anyone will get a big lead in this game, though. I think it'll be close all the way to the end.
But it will end like this: Ravens 24, 49ers 20, with Joe Flacco accepting the Super Bowl MVP.