The 2013 Super Bowl matchup is officially set.
After surviving a wild conference championship weekend, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens will meet in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
The 49ers will be looking to win their sixth Super Bowl and first since 1995, while the Ravens are seeking their second championship in franchise history. They won their first title in 2001.
Aside from the usual Super Bowl stories, there are several intriguing narratives surrounding this meeting. Not only is it the last game of Ray Lewis' legendary career, but this matchup also pits Jim and John Harbaugh against each other.
They are already the first pair of brothers to be head coaches in the NFL. Now, they will lead their teams against each other with football's biggest prize on the line.
Here is all the vital information you need to know for Super Bowl XLVII.
|San Francisco 49ers|| Baltimore Ravens ||Sunday, Feb. 3||6:30 p.m.||CBS|
How They Got Here
It should be a thrilling game, as both teams impressed on their road to New Orleans.
In the NFC, San Francisco advanced to the Super Bowl after eliminating the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.
The 49ers showed great perseverance in their conference title game, as they overcame a 17-0 second-quarter deficit to win 28-24 on the road.
Young quarterback Colin Kaepernick played well again, completing 16 of 21 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown. He also added 21 rushing yards on two carries.
His performance wasn't as spectacular as his destruction of Green Bay in the divisional round, but he showed remarkable poise. He didn't commit a single turnover, and he led the 49ers to four touchdowns after a disastrous first quarter.
Of course, Kaepernick had plenty of help. Running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James combined for 124 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while Vernon Davis busted out of his slump by catching five passes for 106 yards and a TD.
On the other side of the bracket, Baltimore advanced to the Super Bowl after beating the top two teams in the AFC.
After taking out the Denver Broncos 38-35 in overtime, they avenged their 2012 AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots.
The Ravens were excellent in Foxboro, coming back from a six-point halftime deficit to win 28-13. They held the powerful Patriots offense without a point in the second half, while Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense put up three touchdowns after the break.
Tom Brady is 67-0 in his career at home when leading at halftime— Jeremy Lundblad (@JLundbladESPN) January 21, 2013
Baltimore got strong performances from most of their key players, but it was Ray Lewis who stood out again. Despite returning from a torn triceps just three weeks ago, Lewis led his team in tackles for the third consecutive game.
It will be fascinating to see how Lewis and the Ravens handle the 49ers, who are averaging 36.5 points per game in the postseason.
Players to Watch
Vernon Davis—TE, 49ers
After weeks of poor performances, Davis brought is A-game to Atlanta.
The big tight end was instrumental in San Francisco's victory. He took advantage of the Falcons soft coverage, finding gaps in the defense and racking up yardage after the catch. He gave the 49ers a huge boost, and San Fran likely would have lost without his contributions.
If he can deliver a similar game in New Orleans, the 49ers will have a great chance to take home the Lombardi Trophy. If he struggles like he did in the weeks leading up to the NFC Championship Game, San Francisco will be in serious trouble.
Joe Flacco—QB, Ravens
Baltimore's quarterback has been on fire this postseason. In his three playoff games this year, Flacco has thrown for 853 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.
He is only completing about 55 percent of his passes in the playoffs, but he is avoiding mistakes and has been killing teams with the deep bomb. Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the league, and he's flexed it this postseason.
Flacco had a lot of doubters coming into the playoffs. He has quieted most of them with his play so far. If he can lead the Ravens to their second Super Bowl victory in franchise history, he will cement his status as a top-10 NFL quarterback.
This should be an amazing game, as both teams boast balanced offenses and opportunistic defenses.
This matchup features two great young quarterbacks, two elite running backs, several dangerous pass-catchers and numerous bone-crunching defenders. This game will likely come down to who is more disciplined, as penalties and turnovers will be deciding factors.
Although this one could go either way, I'm expecting the 49ers to win their first Super Bowl since 1995. The Ravens haven't seen anything quite like the Niners read-option offense, and Colin Kaepernick should wreak havoc against Baltimore's aging defense.
Joe Flacco will make some huge throws, and Ray Lewis will bring everything he has in his final game. But when then scoreboard strikes zero, Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers will be Super Bowl champions.
Final score: 49ers 27, Ravens 24
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