2013 Super Bowl: Breaking Down Each Team's Biggest X-Factor

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 24: The Baltimore Ravens offense lines up against the San Francisco 49ers defense at M&T Bank Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There are less than two weeks until the 2013 Super Bowl, and the excitement over the battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens is already through the roof.

Both franchises are very evenly matched, but each team has an X-factor that could make the difference for their team on Super Sunday.

While it was the 49ers’ defense and Ravens’ deep-passing attack that got the organizations to this point of the season, the deciding factor will be the players who step up in the other facets of the game.

Each team has a deep roster full of talented stars, so victory on Super Bowl Sunday will come down to execution and the will to win.

Luckily for the NFL fans, neither one of these teams will go down without a fight.


Game Info: Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

When: Sunday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

Watch: CBS



Ravens’ X-Factor: Ray Lewis, LB

There is just one game left in the storied career of long-time Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis, and there is no question that this one game is the biggest of the veteran’s life.

Lewis will have himself—and more importantly his entire team—leaving everything on the field in Louisiana. The future Hall of Famer has always led by example, and despite still feeling the effects of a torn triceps, Lewis will give every last drop of effort into the Super Bowl.

If the Ravens can use Lewis’ words and mindset to help them think the same way, Baltimore has the talent on both sides of the ball to steal a victory and shock the world.

If it’s possible to will a team to victory, Lewis will inspire the Ravens to achieve success on Super Sunday.


49ers’ X-Factor: Colin Kaepernick, QB

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most talented defensive teams in the NFL, but the biggest key to the team’s success in the Super Bowl will be second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how he handles the pressure.

After getting the chance to start midseason when veteran Alex Smith went down injured, Kaepernick has attacked his opportunity with everything he has, and the decision to ride with the young star has paid off for the franchise.

While the 496 yards and three touchdowns passing this postseason isn’t that impressive—Kapernick’s first two career playoff starts—the 202 yards and two touchdowns rushing the dual-threat QB put up in the same span more than makes up for the lack of an elite air attack.

As long as San Francisco's game plays to the young QB’s strengths by letting him run the option the way he knows how, the 49ers will claim the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title.