10 Perfect Position Matchups for Super Bowl 47
Lewis will be among the players to watch during the game, as Super Bowl 47 brings with it a multitude of great matchups.
These are the 10 battles to keep an eye on during the 2013 edition of the Super Bowl.
Torrey Smith (Ravens) vs. Carlos Rogers (49ers)
Torrey Smith has become one of the biggest deep threats in the NFL.
In just his second year in the league, Smith racked up 855 yards and eight scores on 49 catches. He also torched the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs, going for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just three receptions.
Smith is known best for catching long balls, and he will be looking for another one in the biggest game of his career.
Carlos Rogers will likely be tasked with trying to keep Smith in check. It hasn't been easy for anyone this postseason, but Rogers will attempt to keep Smith in front of him at all times.
If Joe Flacco can let one rip to Smith, he certainly will. If the Ravens connect for a huge touchdown pass, that will be crucial in terms of momentum.
Ray Rice (Ravens) vs. NaVorro Bowman (49ers)
Speaking of keeping players in check, NaVorro Bowman will be the one trying to keep versatile Ravens running back Ray Rice in check.
Bowman has shown his speed all season long, but it's tough to keep up with a quick back who can run the ball and catch passes as well as Rice can.
Tallying 1,621 total yards on the year, Rice wreaked havoc against opposing defenses. In the playoffs, it's been pretty much the same, as he's gone for 316 yards and a pair of touchdowns in three games.
Bowman is incredibly fast for a linebacker, but it will be interesting to see if he can keep up with Rice and contain him.
Justin Smith (49ers) vs. Bryant McKinnie (Ravens)
Justin Smith is not at full strength, but he'll need to play like he is on game day.
Despite playing with a partially torn triceps tendon, Smith must find a way to keep the focus of the Ravens offensive line—and particularly Bryant McKinnie—on him.
Smith's importance goes beyond just him because when he's healthy, the defense loses focus on other players—namely Aldon Smith.
Aldon Smith is the team's leader in sacks with a whopping 19.5 on the season. He has found ways of getting to the opposing quarterback every week. Reaching Joe Flacco before he can throw the deep ball will be important in this game.
If Justin Smith can't force another blocker besides McKinnie to think about him, then Aldon Smith will be locked up as well, giving Flacco plenty of time in the pocket.
Joe Flacco (Ravens) vs. Dashon Goldson (49ers)
Joe Flacco is getting better and better, and now he will look to lead his Ravens to a Super Bowl victory. However, he is going to have to deal with ball hawk Dashon Goldson in the secondary.
Flacco has had a problem with interceptions, throwing 10 this season. At one point, he threw six in six games, but in the last two regular season games, he didn't throw a single one.
Flacco kept building on that momentum and has been playing extremely well in the playoffs. He has yet to throw a postseason pick, but Goldson could snag the first.
Goldson leads the 49ers with three interceptions and has 11 pass deflections as well. He has the ability to terrorize opposing quarterbacks if given the chance, and he may be able to force Flacco into making mistakes.
If Flacco turns the ball over, the Ravens are in trouble. Goldson's play will be critical for San Fran.
Haloti Ngata (Ravens) vs. Joe Staley (49ers)
This matchup is all about Haloti Ngata.
While Joe Staley might not be the one blocking Ngata on every play, it really doesn't matter who blocks him as long as someone does.
Ngata has the potential to get in the backfield on every play, and he could fluster Colin Kaepernick easily if he finds his way back there on a consistent basis.
While he didn't have his best season because of injuries, Ngata is still an elite rusher who can give Jim Harbaugh fits if his team can't get in the way (and we've already seen him lose it this postseason).
Ray Lewis (Ravens) vs. the World
OK, maybe "the world" is a bit of an overstatement, but Ray Lewis will be competing with every single member of San Francisco's offense at one point or another.
The Landshark will be playing his last NFL game no matter the outcome, and you can expect the 17-year veteran to play emotional football.
We know that this is Ray's last ride, and he is certainly going to have an impact on the game. But the question remains whether or not the 49ers will be able to limit how much Lewis does during the game.
Vernon Davis (49ers) vs. Bernard Pollard (Ravens)
Vernon Davis is one of the most talented tight ends in football, but he will be facing one of the hottest safeties in the league.
Bernard Pollard had a whale of a game against the New England Patriots. He seemed to be part of every play and was laying some vicious hits during the game.
Davis is also coming off a huge day during which he snagged five passes for 106 yards and a score. He was only targeted six times, but certainly made his mark on the game.
To see these two match up would be perfect. We probably won't see it all that often, but when Pollard is on Davis, that is the matchup to watch.
Colin Kaepernick (49ers) vs. Dean Pees (Ravens)
Dean Pees is the defensive coordinator of the Ravens and was previously the team's linebackers coach.
Pees has two weeks to scheme and plan for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose dual-threat nature has frustrated coaches all season.
So far during the postseason, opposing coordinators have had to pick their poison against Kaepernick. He beat the Green Bay Packers with his legs and the Atlanta Falcons with his arm.
After running for 181 yards and two scores against Green Bay, he immediately came back and recorded a 127.7 passer rating against the Falcons.
Kaepernick has been on fire, and we will see if Pees can use the linebackers that he schooled to contain him both on the ground and through the air.
David Akers (49ers) vs. Justin Tucker (Ravens)
You might think it's silly to have the kickers be a matchup to watch, but they are both going to be key.
Of the last 10 Super Bowls, three have been decided by a field goal or less. If you want to question how important a kicker is, ask the 1991 Buffalo Bills.
When you then factor in the struggles of the veteran, David Akers, and the youth of the rookie, Justin Tucker, you can see just how valuable these guys are.
Akers has been having a rough year, missing eight field goals in his last eight games, including a big one against the Falcons.
Tucker, on the other hand, has been on fire, not missing a field goal in the postseason and only two in his last 13 games.
Tucker might not have Akers' experience, but this is certainly going to be an intriguing matchup throughout the course of the game.
John Harbaugh (Ravens) vs. Jim Harbaugh (49ers)
Super Bowl XLVII could very well come down to a tactical contest between head coaches, and that's what makes this such a great matchup.
The Harbaugh brothers will match wits in this game, with John's Ravens and Jim's 49ers competing for football's ultimate prize.
These two know each other better than anyone else, and it will be interesting to see who changes their game plan and who stands by their old one.
In the first Super Bowl between two head-coaching brothers, we will see if Jim can finally topple his older brother, who got the best of him when the Ravens beat the 49ers 16-6 last season.