Four of the last five Super Bowls have been decided by less than a touchdown, with three of the winners being picked to lose according to the final betting line.
Per Sports Book, the 49ers are currently the favorites with the line at -3.5 (as of January 28). However, recent history shows that should not inspire confidence among San Francisco fans.
Here are some statistics to consider before deciding to go with the Niners or the Ravens.
San Francisco Has Outrushed Its Opponent in All But One Game That Colin Kaepernick Has Started
Colin Kaepernick has grown as a passer since taking over the starting quarterback job for the 49ers, but he has made his greatest impact as a runner.
With an incredibly physical offensive line and a talented group of running backs led by Frank Gore, the added threat of Kaepernick has made San Francisco’s running game nearly unstoppable.
An embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks is the only game in which the 49ers— with Kaepernick under center—failed to gain 100 rushing yards as a team and outrush its opponent.
In the playoffs, the Niners have 472 rushing yards in just two games, and if the Ravens cannot find a way to slow down the San Francisco running attack, they will have a difficult time finding a way to win.
The Ravens Are Allowing 18.5 Points Per Game This Season When Ray Lewis Plays the Whole Game
While Ray Lewis may not be the same player he used to be at 37 years old, the Baltimore defense is still not the same without the legendary linebacker.
Lewis injured his triceps against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 and did not return until the postseason. During the first five games of the season, and the Ravens’ three playoff games, Baltimore’s defense has been much better.
The only teams that were able to score more than 16 points against the Ravens with Lewis in the lineup were the Philadelphia Eagles, the New England Patriots (in the regular season) and the Denver Broncos. While allowing 24 points to the Eagles is not an accomplishment, there is no shame in giving up several scores to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, especially since Baltimore won both of these contests.
This is an extremely motivated defense that will surely capitalize on any mistakes the 49ers make.
David Akers Missed 13 Field Goals This Season, and Justin Tucker Missed Three
With four the last five Super Bowls being close contests and two evenly matched teams set to do battle in this year’s game, the kickers may play a prominent role on Sunday.
Who will win?
The 49ers would seem to have an advantage with a 14-year veteran attempting field goals, compared to the Ravens, who have a rookie at kicker.
However, David Akers missed 13 of his 42 field goals during the regular season, giving him a career-low 69 percent success rate. He has missed one of his two attempts in the playoffs.
In contrast, Tucker has had a roaring start to his NFL career and made 30 of 33 field goals for a success rate of 90.9 percent, in addition to making both of his postseason attempts. There is no doubt that Baltimore should have more confidence in its kicking game in this matchup.