The winner of the Flacco vs. Kaepernick matchup will likely determine Sunday's champion.
Super Bowl XLVII is filled with headlines: Ray Lewis playing in his final game, two brothers coaching against each other and Randy Moss fighting to get his first ring. But as is often the case in many Super Bowls, I feel that the winner of this matchup will be decided by the play of the two respective quarterbacks.
Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick may not be the same type of players as Brady, Rodgers or Brees, but they have both managed to get their team to the Big Dance.
Flacco, after several early playoff exits thus far in his career, has guided the Ravens to the Super Bowl for the first time in his fifth season at QB.
Colin Kaepernick has burst onto the NFL scene this season giving defensive coordinators nothing but headaches. As a multi-dimensional QB—he has the ability to beat you on the ground or in the air—Kaepernick accumulated 15 total touchdowns and over 2,200 total yards of offense in 13 regular-season games.
In the playoffs, he has handled the pressure extremely well for a first-year starter, as he has turned the ball over just once in two games. Unfortunately for the 49ers, I don't see Kaepernick having a great game on such a big stage. Something about playing in the Super Bowl with only 10 games of experience seems to put history against you, and I think the young signal-caller may finally fold under the pressure. Look for Ray Lewis to shut him down on the ground, Ed Reed to create problems on his deep throws and the 49ers offense to struggle on the whole.
I believe that Joe Flacco's experience, recent hot streak and motivation will be the reasons he outplays Colin Kaepernick en route to a Super Bowl victory for the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco has been through the playoffs a handful of times already, and he seems to understand the situation a lot better this time around.
Through three playoff games this season, Flacco has thrown for 853 yards, eight touchdowns, zero interceptions and has compiled a 114.7 quarterback rating. I wouldn't be surprised if Flacco produces similar numbers in the Super Bowl, especially with the added motivation of playing to help teammate Ray Lewis win a ring in the final game of his storied career. Expect a few touchdown passes from Flacco to either Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin and look for the Ravens to be able to run out the clock with Ray Rice after Flacco puts them ahead early.
History clearly favors Joe Flacco and the Ravens in this matchup. Kaepernick is a unique athlete and will likely make it back to this stage before his career is over, but I do not think it is his time just yet. Flacco has been untouchable as of late and the Ravens are playing inspired football behind their veteran linebacker in Lewis. Bet on Flacco outplaying his counterpart and expect the Ravens to ultimately lift the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday.