Super Bowl 2013: Key Matchups Between Ravens, 49ers
Think of it almost like a changing of the guard of sorts.
Whoever wins the battle between these two will lead his team to victory.
For the last two playoff games, Kaepernick hasn't acted like a starter with single-digit starting experience. He's thrown the ball well and has shown he can be dangerous running the ball.
The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, collapsed on Kaepernick as he simply let the running backs take it. For the game, 49er running backs had 27 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
The danger he provides makes teams pick their poison. Do they collapse on the running backs and let Kaepernick do the work? Or do they collapse on the quarterback and hope someone is there to stop the running backs.
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Either way you look at it, both the Packers and Falcons failed doing it each way.
Lewis will be playing his last game and you can bet he'd like to join John Elway as greats who go out winning a Super Bowl.
He's been the leader of the Ravens for more than a decade and his knowledge of the game is unlike any other.
When watching video of checks at the line of scrimmage between him and other quarterbacks, it's truly a work of art. It's a constant chess game to see who will come out on top for that play.
With Lewis in the middle, the Ravens have found themselves in the top 10 of total defense almost every year.
But, this is just one of the matchups everyone will look forward to watching in New Orleans. Here's a look at a few others.
Which of these is the most important matchup?
San Francisco offensive line vs. Baltimore front-seven
The one constant in the run the 49ers have made through the playoffs has been the offensive line's ability to work with Kaepernick.
Green Bay got pressure, but the San Francisco offensive line was still able to give him holes to run through. Against Atlanta, barely any pressure got to the quarterback, which allowed Kaepernick to be successful.
However, Baltimore is a different defensive team than Atlanta or Green Bay.
For one, they have a defensive line that will bring pressure every play and linebackers who can hold their own against the big uglies as well.
San Francisco's offensive line has to give Kaepernick time and create holes for the running game.
If they can prevent the pressure we're accustomed to seeing from the Ravens, then San Francisco will have a field day on offense.
However, if Haloti Ngata, Lewis and others can get pressure, then it's going to be a long day for Kaepernick.
Torrey Smith vs. Either 49er cornerback
Smith has speed like none other in this game. He's shown how good of a receiver he can be and will be tested against Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown.
Whoever matches up against him on pass plays has to be aware of his speed. If they aren't, he'll blow right by them.
Smith, on the other hand, can't let himself be knocked off his routes. He has to get good separation at the snap and be crisp on his routes.
The player that can do this the best will give his team an ultimate advantage. It's even more important for the Ravens as the 49ers have shown other receivers can have big games, but they'll still win.
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