49ers vs. Ravens: Super Bowl Will Be High-Powered Offensive Shootout
The 49ers' defense is led by lineman Aldon Smith. He will be looking to show the entire nation what he can do on the big stage.
While not everyone knows about the players on San Francisco's defense, fans know about Baltimore's defense. Anchored by Ray Lewis, the defense also has lineman Haloti Ngata, linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety Ed Reed.
Both defenses are doing enough to win right now. They have allowed some points this postseason, but they have gone up against some good offenses. The 49ers have faced the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, and the Ravens have stymied the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots in back-to-back games.
How will this game play out?
While they have played well, it's all relative. Holding the Falcons to only 24 points at home is impressive.
Baltimore's defense has played better this postseason, but both teams have allowed their opponents to put up points.
With both defenses allowing high-powered offenses to score some points, this game could turn into a shootout.
Both offenses have some big playmakers.
San Francisco has the best athlete in the game in quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He can beat a team with his legs or feet. Since he took over at quarterback in Week 10, the 49ers have been held to under 27 points only twice. They lost both games they did not reach that mark.
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At running back, the 49ers have Frank Gore and LaMichael James. Gore can just line up and pound the football. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry during the regular season on his way to a Pro Bowl selection.
James, on the other hand, is pure speed. When Kaepernick and James are in the backfield together, the defense needs to be prepared to move quickly and can't afford to guess wrong. Not only does he line up in the backfield, but he also has the ability to change the game on a kick return.
Crabtree is having a breakout postseason with 176 yards and two touchdowns. Moss will be motivated to finally get a Super Bowl ring after falling short with the Patriots in 2007. Davis has 150 yards and a touchdown in this postseason, and he may be the most athletic receiver the team has.
On the other side, the Ravens are just as loaded.
Quarterback Joe Flacco doesn't have the speed of Kaepernick, but his arm is stronger. Not only that but he has talent around him to show it off.
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Receiver Anquan Boldin has nearly put up as many touchdowns in the postseason (three) as he did in the regular season (four). In three games in the playoffs, he has 276 receiving yards and ended any chance the Patriots had of coming back in the second half.
Lined up across from him, Torrey Smith, is the Ravens' best big-play receiver. Smith has nearly 200 yards this postseason on only nine catches. Jacoby Jones, who saved Baltimore's season in Denver, has great speed to go deep. Jones can also take a punt or kick to the house.
Flacco has all of those targets to use, but he also has Ray Rice in the backfield. Rice is extremely underrated and can change the game with one play. If he gets going early, the Ravens will be tough to stop.
So while most people are expecting a low-scoring game, this game has enough firepower on offense to turn into a shootout.
Both offenses have a mix of a young quarterback, established running backs and playmakers on the outside. The defenses will have to be ready to stop whatever the offenses throw at them.
*All stats are from ESPN.com
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