Super Bowl 2013: Tight Ends Are Ultimate X-Factors in Super Bowl XLVII

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20:  Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a touchdown pass by Joe Flacco #5 in the third quarter against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco will headline the star players in Super Bowl XLVII, but you may want to take notice of the tight ends for both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

Neither starting tight end ranks near the top of the NFL in terms of receiving production, but they're each productive for their respective teams.

For Baltimore, Dennis Pitta has been a key to the Ravens' offense all season.

Pitta had the best of his three seasons in 2012, catching 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns—a TD mark that ranked second on the team during the regular season.

So far in the playoffs, Pitta has contributed two touchdowns to Baltimore's offense, on 14 targets, and has done an exceptional job in the run-blocking department.

With Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith headlining the Ravens' offense, Pitta becomes the X-factor in Baltimore's scheme.

On the other side, Vernon Davis is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL, but he had somewhat of a down season this year, catching 41 passes for 548 yards and five touchdowns.

Nonetheless, all of the hype surrounding Kaepernick and the 49ers' rushing offense has Davis flying under the radar.

With Davis' propensity for making huge plays in playoff games, he undoubtedly becomes the ultimate X-factor for San Francisco.

From his game-winner against the New Orleans Saints to his dominant performance against the New York Giants in the 2011 postseason, Davis has been the key to success for the Niners come playoff time.

Both the Ravens and 49ers boast two of the best running backs in the NFL, but it's the passing game that's going to make the difference for both of these offenses on Feb. 3.

When the show begins in the Superdome next Sunday, look for Pitta and Davis to be the difference-makers for their teams.


Follow me on Twitter: