SUPER BOWL XLVII
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers (-4)
Sunday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Head to Head since 2000: Baltimore, 3-0.
We’ve all been beat over the head with the overly pious displays by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis this week. Heck, this decade.
How many other athletes have been pictured praying on the cover of Sports Illustrated — twice?
He’s like an in-your-face, black Tim Tebow. Except he has talent.
Take the deer-antler-spray “incident.” His response to whoever levied the accusations against him: “That’s the trick of the devil,” he told The Associated Press. “The trick of the devil is to kill, steal and destroy. That’s what he comes to do. He comes to distract you from everything you’re trying to do.”
We get it. You’re still trying to distance yourself from the unsolved and unsubstantiated double murder in Atlanta all those years ago. And when that “incident” was brought up this week, we were subjected to another religuLewis answer: “Nobody here is really qualified to ask those questions,” he said. “I just truly feel that this is God’s time, and whatever His time is, let it be His will. Don’t try to please everybody with your words, try to make everybody’s story sound right.”
Enough, please. Can you hear Sweet Brown? “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Like most NFL fans left without a horse in the race — or a shot in the office pool — I didn’t have any real reason to root for either team, but Ray-Ray’s constant preaching has pushed me into the San Francisco 49ers' court. And Vegas has sided with the Niners in Sunday’s big game, too, favouring the Bay Area boys by four points.
Now that’s a small enough spread to leave the San Fran faithful in a cold sweat, since the difference in the game could come down to David Akers and his scattergun kicking leg. In 29 years, no Super Bowl kicker has missed more field goals in a season, as he was off-target on 13 regular-season attempts, and missed a 38-yarder in the Niners’ narrow 28-24 win over Atlanta in the NFC Championship game.
Just don’t ask him about his misses.
“Oh, the same thing over and over and over again?” he told NFL.com after being asked about it.
“Where’s the horse? Because we’ve been beating it a lot.”
Numbers-wise, the offences are a wash, though Baltimore has been much improved under former Colts coach Jim Caldwell, going 4-2 with him calling the plays. In that span under centre, Joe Flacco has 10 touchdowns, no picks and a 111.5 rating.
The ground games are a study in contrasting styles; Ravens RB Ray Rice is the slash to the smash of Niners RB Frank Gore. What makes San Francisco dangerous, of course, is the “pistol” offence and QB Colin Kaepernick.
While the second-year stud didn’t keep the ball on any of the option plays, they still scored three touchdowns off of them.
On defence, the Niners get the edge, with stalwart pass rushers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, and a secondary led by Carlos Rodgers and Donte Whitner. Though you can’t discount a Ravens D led by the Chaplain (Lewis), the ageless Ed Reed, or the Patriot-killer Bernard Pollard.
If history is your bag, it’s worth noting that the 49ers are 5-0 in Super Bowls — the best of any NFL team — and Baltimore is 1-0. The Niners have the momentum, with their historic comeback from 17-0 against Atlanta, which also gives them the heart factor.
And to quote the great Jack Dempsey, “a champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”
Sounds like the 49ers.
Against the Spread: 49ers
Straight up: 49ers
Last week: SU 2-0, ATS 2-0
Playoffs: SU 7-3, ATS 7-3
© Copyright (c) The Province