With Super Bowl XLVII, we are in for one entertaining game. Each team has explosive players on both sides of the ball, and each team, in case you forgot, is coached by a Harbaugh.
Here, I’ll lay out one key to victory for each side.
For the Baltimore Ravens, that key is to contain Colin Kaepernick and the read-option. Kaepernick has emerged as a star, showing off breakaway speed with a strong throwing arm.
The 49ers offense is run through Kaepernick. Much of that offense is read-option where Kaepernick has the ability to read a defense and when there are holes, he finds them. The Ravens need to put a helmet on Kaepernick anytime he gets into open space: knock him down a few times, throw him off his game and minimize his running chances.
We’ve seen time and time again Kaepernick’s ability to rise to the occasion. The Ravens can’t afford to have Kaepernick beat them with his legs.
Play a spy, and designate that spy to keep his eyes on Kaepernick the entire play because if he can get past the front seven, he won’t be caught.
If Kaepernick has his way with this Ravens defense, they’re going to be in for a long night.
For the 49ers, it’s stopping Ray Rice. With the front seven the Niners have, it should be no problem. But, Ray Rice could be a problem.
Rice is a versatile player who can change any game he plays in. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he’s quick on his feet. He has the ability to change directions easily when running the ball.
While the Ravens have their share of playmakers, it’s Rice who stands out. If he finds the open field, he is very dangerous. (The fourth-and-29 play against the Chargers is an indication.)
Rice is crucial to the success of the Ravens. Giving Joe Flacco that extra option in the passing game has worked wonders for Flacco. Stopping Rice and forcing Flacco to air out his arm won’t be the option the Ravens are hoping for.
If the linebackers, led by Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman, can plug the gaps and make sure there is nowhere for Rice to run, the Niners will be in good shape.
The key to victory is clear: contain the run.