Super Bowl Point Spread: Ravens Who Will Prove Vegas Wrong with Big Game

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIFebruary 1, 2013

The Super Bowl point spread has slowly decreased to -3.5, but one thing remains the same: it still favors the San Francisco 49ers.

Both teams play elite defense, and it explains such a small window on the spread.

But Vegas continues to give the Niners the nod. While they're certainly a deserving football team, the Ravens have plenty of playmakers who can tip the game in Baltimore's favor.

Here are three impact players that will come up big on Sunday and seal the deal for Baltimore.



Joe Flacco, QB

The big armed quarterback has done everything for Baltimore this postseason. He's outplayed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, so how hard could it be to outplay Colin Kaepernick?

Flacco is 8-4 lifetime in the postseason, though this Sunday will be his first Super Bowl appearance.

The 28-year-old—who passed for 3,817 yards in the regular season—has saved his best for last. In his three postseason games he's averaging 284 yards per game with eight touchdowns and zero picks.

The usually stout San Francisco defense was susceptible to the pass late in the regular season, and that's been no different in the playoffs.

The Falcons and Packers put up a combined 644 passing yards in their games against the Niners, registering five passing touchdowns and two interceptions.

If Flacco can get things going early against San Francisco, it'll be tough to slow down this suddenly elite Baltimore attack.



Ray Lewis, MLB

In his entire 17-year career, Ray Lewis has been an anchor for the Baltimore Ravens. That was no different this postseason, and it will be no different in this year's Super Bowl.

The 37-year-old linebacker stands on the brink of retirement and is looking to go out with a bang.

Just like Flacco, Lewis has saved his best play for the postseason. He leads all players with 44 combined tackles in the postseason.

Baltimore has struggled with the run in the postseason, and now they face San Francisco's elite ground game.

The Ravens will have to find a way to slow down Frank Gore if they hope to win.

That comes back to Lewis. Not only is he the leader of this defensive squad, he's also a focal point when it comes to playing up front against the run.

If Baltimore's defense hopes to outplay San Francisco's, it needs to start and end with Lewis. And seeing how good he's been this postseason, there's a good chance he leaves Sunday with another ring.



Ray Rice

Baltimore's offense has plenty of talented players, but none may be more pivotal than Ray Rice.

Yes, Baltimore needs Flacco to have a good game to win, but he's not the anchor. That responsibility falls on do-everything man Rice.

Playing out of the backfield, Rice can easily rush up the middle or make a big play down the sidelines.

He had a 47-yard catch and run against the Colts, rushed for 131 yards against the Broncos and registered a touchdown against the Patriots.

The Ravens need Rice to make an impact in this game.

Getting the ground game running is always important in opening up the passing game, making Rice a key figure this Sunday.

But he'll have to fight for every yard against this San Francisco defense that allowed less than 100 rushing yards a game this season.

If Baltimore can feed the ball to Rice early and often, they'll spread open the defense enough to let Flacco do his thing in the passing game.

He's been dynamic to this point in the postseason, and chances are he won't slow down Sunday.


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