Super Bowl Line: Resilient 49ers Deserve a Bigger Spread

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIJanuary 25, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates on the field after the 49ers won 28-24 against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Super Bowl line continues to fluctuate, with today's number coming out with the San Francisco 49ers on top by 3.5 points for many sportsbooks (via Sporting News). For several reasons, 3.5 points just doesn't seem to cut it.

Looking at pure stats, San Francisco deserves the edge. It beats Baltimore in most regular season statistics. The only place the Ravens have an edge is an average 0.1 more points per game.

But arguments can be made in Baltimore's favor.

The Ravens spent the majority of their regular season nursing injuries. Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs both played in fewer than 10 games, and Ed Reed fought through his own pain to stay on the field.

Now that it boasts a healthy squad, Baltimore is playing the best football of its life in the postseason. The Ravens bested both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on their way to the AFC Championship.

They're about as hot as you can get.

The Ravens fight through their games, refusing to die. The team kept pace with Manning in its double overtime win over the Broncos and overcame a 13-7 deficit to beat New England on the road.

And so the spread is as small as it is, with people expecting Baltimore to put up the fight of its life. While that's a reasonable assumption, it's not the only team that had to fight to be here.

San Francisco has not had an easy road to the playoffs.

The Niners were 3-2 in their final five games and came dangerously close to losing the NFC West crown.

They were destroyed by Seattle 13-42 in the second-to-last game of the season and looked to be losing momentum.

Even though they made it to the postseason, it hasn't been the easiest journey.

They found themselves in an early hole against Green Bay in the divisional round, when Colin Kaepernick tossed an early pick-six. The Packers were up 14-7 after the first quarter, with plenty of momentum.

Kap would eventually find his composure, leading his team back to a decisive 45-31 victory. He passed for 263 yards while setting a quarterback playoff record with 181 rushing yards.

The 49ers were heavy favorites in the NFC Championship game, despite heading into hostile territory to take on the NFC's best 14-2 Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons looked unstoppable early on, with the 49ers finding themselves in a 17-0 deficit early in the second quarter.

San Francisco stormed back, stealing the game 28-24. While Kaepernick was once again a huge part of the win, shutdown defense proved the saving grace.

Baltimore has plenty of momentum and plenty to play for. It feels like a Ravens' Super Bowl victory has been a long time coming, and what better way to send out Ray Lewis.

But San Francisco is playing for just as much. The Niners' never-say-die attitude has helped put this once elite franchise back on the map.

With just as much of a drive to win, the Niners deserve more respect heading into Super Bowl Sunday.

San Francisco has beaten the big opponents, it has the better stats, and it's been just as resilient as Baltimore in these playoffs.

Mix it all up, and you have the makings of a big Super Bowl Victory.