With so many storylines surrounding the showdown in New Orleans, Super Bowl XLVII looks to be one of the best in recent memory between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
A quarterback change midway through the season and a swap of an offensive coordinator down the stretch aided these two teams in their pursuit of the Lombardi Trophy.
In what's largely being dubbed the "Harbowl," fans will see two of the best defenses and running backs the NFL has to offer on Sunday.
Order your wings, stock the fridge and be prepared to call out of work on Monday morning.
Here's your complete guide to Super Bowl XLVII.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans
When: Sunday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: CBSSports.com
Listen: Sirius XM Radio: 88, WBAL 1090 AM (Baltimore) or KNBR 680 AM (San Francisco)
Spread: 49ers (-3.5) via Bet Online
A few weeks ago I would have taken San Francisco here without even second guessing it, but with Baltimore playing its best football of the season, I like the Ravens with the points.
There's a good chance this game comes down to a last-second field goal, which doesn't exactly sway in the 49ers' favor, with David Akers suddenly forgetting how to do his job.
In the end, San Francisco will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, but I'm rolling with Baltimore and the points here.
Over/Under: 47 (Bet Online)
Both the 49ers and Ravens offenses have been playing lights out—each averaging at least 30 PPG this postseason—but the Super Bowl will be a defensive battle.
The premier defenders like Ray Lewis, Aldon Smith and Ed Reed will shine, making this a lower-scoring affair.
The New Orleans clash will be won in the trenches with points coming at a premium, which is why I like the under on Sunday.
Key Injuries (via ESPN)
TE Dennis Pitta—Thigh—PRB
LB Dannell Ellerbe—Ankle—PRB
DT Justin Smith—Triceps—PRB
LB Aldon Smith—Shoulder—PRB
LB Ahmad Brooks—Shoulder—PRB
ESPN's Ed Werder updates us on Justin Smith's injury and offseason plans:
Ed Werder @EdwerderRFA
Justin Smith has significant triceps tear and plans surgery after SB but says he has four strong quarters left. Aldon Smith counting on it1/30/2013, 7:30:20 PM
Players to Watch
Ravens: Ray Lewis
In his going out party, you can bet Ray Lewis is going to leave it all on the field in Super Bowl XLVII.
Don't believe me? Check this bad boy out:
Lewis has been instrumental in Baltimore's playoff run, leading the playoffs in tackles with 44, highlighted by 17 takedowns in the Divisional Round overtime thriller against the Denver Broncos.
If the Ravens are going to shut down Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco's dynamic read-option offense, Lewis will be leading the charge.
In what will be the last game of his iconic 17-year career, all eyes will be on Ray Lewis this Sunday.
49ers: Aldon Smith
Baltimore's offensive line has been a forcefield this postseason, and with Aldon Smith struggling to reach the QB in the last five weeks, he's the player to keep your eye on for the 49ers.
Peep this tweet from ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
After recording 19.5 sacks in 1st 13 games - most ever by player through 13 games - Aldon Smith has 0 sacks in career-high 5 straight games.1/31/2013, 3:48:38 PM
If the Niners are going to stop a red-hot Joe Flacco and electric Ray Rice, Smith has to show up on the NFL's biggest stage.
Watching Smith try to break through the Ravens offensive line is definitely something to look for in Super Bowl XLVII.
Key to Ravens Win: The Effectiveness of Joe Flacco
We all know how effective Joe Flacco has been this postseason, as he's in pursuit of Joe Montana's postseason record of most touchdowns tossed without a pick, but Flacco needs to be just as good on Sunday.
Everyone knows what San Francisco's defense is capable of when it's firing on all cylinders, making Flacco the key to Baltimore's success.
Anquan Boldin is leading the postseason in receiving yards while Ray Rice leads the playoffs in rushing yards, meaning Flacco has the weapons around him to win.
Against one of the stingiest defenses in the NFL, Flacco's play is the key for Baltimore on Sunday.
Key to 49ers Win: The Read-Option Offense
Is the read-option offense here to stay? I think so.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 49ers have used the option 29 times this postseason to the tune of an 8.4 YPC mark and four touchdowns.
San Francisco's offense has dominated throughout the playoffs, posting an NFL-high 476 YPG and 36.5 PPG.
The 49ers defense will undoubtedly be crucial to San Francisco's success, but Kaepernick and the read-option offense are the key to the Lombardi trophy for the 49ers.
Prediction: 49ers 23, Ravens 21
It's going to be a close game, but I like the 49ers.
San Francisco's read-option offense will prove to yet again be an effective scheme, as Kaepernick and Frank Gore lead the way on the ground for the Niners.
I think Joe Flacco continues his great postseason play but it's not enough to culminate into a Super Bowl XLVII win.
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