The conference-title games are in the books. We now know who will be facing who in Super Bowl XLVII.
Let’s take a look at the X-factors in this intriguing matchup between the two teams.
1. Ray Lewis
It is well-known that Ray Lewis will be retiring after the season is over. What better way to end his career than by winning it all? His teammates have rallied around him this postseason, and the Ravens have played with the heart of a team that really, truly wants it. If the Ravens are to win this game, it may be solely because of this one man.
2. Joe Flacco
The man has his critics. However, he also has his admirers. Joe Flacco showed true leadership in his command of the offense against the New England Patriots, as he has done throughout the playoffs this year. He has played very well on the road, and his experience in pressure situations will come in handy against a fast, strong 49ers defense.
3. Torrey Smith
Through the playoffs this year, Flacco has had one thing every offense must have to be successful on the next level—a deep threat. And that’s where Torrey Smith comes in. He has developed in leaps and bounds the last two years, having become a danger to defenses with not only his speed, but his ability to catch on the run, with coverage.
Expect him to be targeted at least a few times over the top against the San Francisco secondary.
San Francisco 49ers
1. Frank Gore
The man can certainly carry a team on his back. After running for 90 yards and two scores against the Falcons defense, he’ll look to have another solid game against the Ravens. He’s a threat running up the middle with his power and can even be used as a passing target in the flats or as a safety valve. Either way, he will see plenty of action in the 49ers' game plan on Super Bowl Sunday.
2. Colin Kaepernick
The sophomore quarterback has been spectacular in his first starts this year. That includes the two playoff appearances. He can win on offense with both his arm and his legs. He also has an uncanny ability to throw on the run with dead-on accuracy.
The read-option became a huge asset for Frank Gore getting the holes in the line that he needed for his scores. Whether Kaepernick runs or not isn’t necessarily the question. It’s the fact that he could run at any given time. He has that ability, and it gets in the minds of the defense quite easily.
3. Vernon Davis
The star 49ers’ tight-end has really been one of the targets that Kaepernick seems to throw to the most. Why is that? He is open, he can catch almost anything and he knows how to make the plays when he needs to. Davis is a huge threat to have as a receiver, especially when combined with the attention that Moss and Crabtree attract.
Super Bowl XLVII's Other X-factors
John Harbaugh and Jim Harbaugh
The two coaches have become some of the most notable leaders of their respective teams in the NFL. They both share traits of fiery passion and dedication to their teams' success. They respect their players and expect nothing but the best from each of them.
Sounds like the two brothers have a lot in common.
I’m sure they’ve had their shares of fights.
On Sunday, February 3, 2013, the two brothers will have a chance to settle all of their childhood disputes on the biggest stage in America—Super Bowl XLVII.