Who's Hot, Who's Not for Ravens Heading into Super Bowl XLVII

Jeremy Sickel@https://twitter.com/JeremySickelContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2013

Who's Hot, Who's Not for Ravens Heading into Super Bowl XLVII

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    The Baltimore Ravens avenged last season's AFC Championship loss by beating the New England Patriots on Sunday evening by the final count of 28-13.

    John Harbaugh and Co. will enter Super Bowl XLVII on an emotional high following Ray Lewis' announcement that this would be his last season.

    After three victories—two of which came against arguably the top two favorites to win it all this year (Denver Broncos and Patriots)—the Ravens can look up and down their roster for players that have contributed to this run.

    There is one more game, however. And there are guys that will need to either continue their great play or step up for Baltimore if this team has plans of beating the San Francisco 49ers in two weeks.

    Here are a few Ravens that are either hot or not heading into the Super Bowl.

Hot: Joe Flacco

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    Though he is only completing 55 percent of his passes, Joe Flacco has tallied 853 passing yards and eight touchdowns in the Baltimore Ravens' three wins during the postseason. The quarterback has yet to throw an interception as well.

    The San Francisco 49ers will present a difficult challenge in the Super Bowl. However, Matt Ryan was able to rack up 396 yards and three touchdowns in the NFC Championship.

    After a so-so regular season, Flacco has turned it on in the playoffs. Though the job isn't finished just yet, it will be interesting to see how the week off will affect his hot streak.

Not: Jacoby Jones

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    Jacoby Jones isn't relied on to provide much on the offensive side of the ball. The wide receiver tallied just 30 receptions for 406 yards and one touchdown in the regular season.

    Jones makes most of his noise on special teams, where he scored three touchdowns for the Baltimore Ravens this season.

    Through three postseason games, however, Jones hasn't been able to provide that same spark. He is averaging just 17.3 yards per kick return and 13.7 yards per punt return, with no scores.

    Though Jones did score on Joe Flacco's pass that tied the Denver Broncos at 35 in the divisional round, most of his impact will be felt on special teams.

    While it hasn't prevented the Ravens from winning, it would give this team a major boost if Jones can break off a game-changing kick return.

Hot: Anquan Boldin

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    Anquan Boldin is coming off a two-touchdown performance in Sunday's win over the New England Patriots. The wide receiver has tallied 16 catches for 276 yards and three scores during the Baltimore Ravens' postseason run.

    The Atlanta Falcons used their talented trio to torch the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship. The Ravens could employ a similar approach during the Super Bowl.

    Joe Flacco has done a remarkable job of spreading the ball around in the playoffs, with Boldin the direct beneficiary.

    With Torrey Smith keeping the third level of opposing defenses honest, Boldin will have plenty of space to work underneath and could continue to put up outstanding numbers in two weeks.

Not: Ray Rice

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    Though Ray Rice has rushed for 247 yards and has scored two touchdowns in three games this postseason, the running back has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and has been inconsistent out of the backfield.

    While that irregularity may be contributed to the Baltimore Ravens affinity to steer away from the run at times, Rice must do more with his chances—especially against the San Francisco 49ers in two weeks.

    The Ravens have a handful of talented players on offense, but it all starts with Rice's ability to balance out the attack out of the backfield. Against the defense that the 49ers will bring to the New Orleans, that all becomes much more vital to a Baltimore victory.

Hot: Ray Lewis

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    After an injury-plagued regular season, Ray Lewis is once again the on-field leader for the Baltimore Ravens. In the team's three playoff wins, the linebacker has tallied a combined 44 tackles.

    Lewis announced a few weeks ago that this season would be his last. While it is impossible to quantify how much that has contributed to Baltimore's run, it is just as unreasonable to assume it hasn't served as this team's rallying cry either.

Not: Ed Reed

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    After an average regular season by Ed Reed's standards, the safety has tallied just 10 combined tackles in the Baltimore Ravens' three postseason victories.

    The matchup with the San Francisco 49ers in two weeks will be much more physical than the team's previous contest in these playoffs. Reed will have step up in a major way to help hold Colin Kaepernick and Co. at bay.

    San Francisco does a great job of keeping its offense balanced. Reed is one of the best to ever play his position, but he will need to be as versatile as ever to give Baltimore a chance in the Super Bowl.


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