"Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it" — George Santayana
The Baltimore Ravens are hot right now. If history as shown us anything, it’s that getting hot at the right time is crucial to winning an NFL championship.
Baltimore has won three straight playoff games to reach the Super Bowl after losing four of its last five games.
That momentum may be enough for Baltimore to gain the upper hand over the favored San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
But what does history say about the matchup?
Defensively superior teams have fared well in the big game. Teams with one of the top-two scoring defenses have a 22-11 record in Super Bowls.
The 49ers are second in the NFL, allowing just 17.1 points per game. That number is impressive, but it’s magnified by the team’s ability to dictate the pace of games due to its defense.
San Francisco also finished fourth in both rushing (94.2) and passing yards (200.2) per game by opponents.
Baltimore has gotten increasingly better as they have gotten healthier on defense. However, they finished significantly behind the 49ers at 12th overall in scoring defense, surrendering 21.5 points per contest.
In the passing game, the Ravens missed No. 1 cornerback Lardarius Webb, and it has shown at times this season.
In addition to the defensive advantage, the Ravens are also fighting against historical seeding, again.
Are the Ravens better than they played at times in 2012?
There have been just four teams to win the Super Bowl who began the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in their respective conference since the beginning of home-field advantage in 1975.
Baltimore is one of them. They hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in 2000.
Still, the overwhelming majority of winners have come from the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. In fact, 28 of the 37 Super Bowls since ’75 have been won by either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
Can the Ravens defy the odds, again, and prevent the 49ers from winning their sixth Super Bowl?