Well here we are, two days before the crowning game of the NFL season and I’ve got to admit that this game leaves me with a pretty big feeling of “Meh”. I’m sure that will rectify itself by kickoff but I find many of this game’s vaunted storylines to be pretty bland. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hell of an accomplishment that two brothers are coaching against each other in the Super Bowl, but I tired of that angle about 5 minutes after the end of the Conference Championship games. I know that we’re supposed to bow at the altar of the QBs during the two-week run-up to the big game but these two have all the spice and pizzazz of a steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat. The most controversial/exciting thing either of them has said was Joe Flacco calling something “retarded”. And don’t get me started about Ray Lewis. We get it dude, you do a thoroughly horrendous dance and cry a lot and there’s a seat with your name on it next to the ESPN anchors that have consistently fellated you for the last decade.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love the game of football and I love watching the highest level of that game. I just despise the 2-week hype cycle that happens leading up to the game. There’s too much “Harbowl” and not enough X’s and O’s in the analysis. I care more about how BAL will defend the read option than whether Flacco should apologize for using an outdated descriptor for something he finds stupid.
With that, let’s get to the pick.
SF-4 over BAL in New Orleans, LA
*-regular season only
Look at BAL’s stats. Thoroughly mediocre. Even GridironRank.com’s TPS statistic has them at a “blah” inducing 11th overall in team efficiency. Meanwhile, all SF did was dominate on defense all year long and stay respectable on offense despite a QB change in mid-season. But to stop the analysis there would be lazy. I know games are unpredictable so I usually shy away from making predictions about how a game will be won or lost but screw it, this is the damn Super Bowl. This game will pivot on line play. Why do I say that? Think of it this way, where does one squad have a noted advantage over the other? Not as easy as you’d think, is it? Is Frank Gore that much better than Ray Rice or vice-versa? I know Kaepernick can make plays with his legs but Flacco is a solid veteran with a huge arm and a serious dislike for throwing the ball to the other team. The WRs in this game aren’t spectacular. I guess you could say the 9ers have an advantage in Vernon Davis but BAL’s TEs aren’t chopped liver. That’s what brings me back to O-line tipping the game. Both of these teams gave up a similar number of sacks on O and had almost identical sack numbers on D. The team whose O-line controls the line of scrimmage better will win this game and I believe that team will be the 49ers. However, that’s not necessarily because of the 9ers OL. It’s because of their DL and LBs. I think Bowman, the Smiths, and Patrick Willis are going to cause BAL’s OL some serious consternation on Sunday and Flacco’s lack of mobility will end up being BAL’s Achilles heel. I don’t think this will be a high-scoring game, at least on the offensive side. We could absolutely see a defensive TD in this one and that could be the difference in the score going over the O/U of 47.5. Call it 27-21 SF. SF to win, SF-4
That being said, there’s still the matter of rooting interest. My Dad and I had a long-standing agreement that we would always root for opposite teams in the Super Bowl with two exceptions:
- We would both root for the Saints
- We would both root against the 9ers
I understand that many would think the Falcons would be the team we’d both root against but remember, in the old NFC West the Saints got their asses waxed by the 9ers twice a year and usually in embarrassing fashion. The Falcons weren’t much of a threat in those days, (funny how some things never change), so my most hated team throughout much of my childhood was San Francisco.
You know, it’s funny how life works out. My father passed away one year ago today and I just happen to be in Mobile, Alabama, the city in which he was born. It only seems right to do him a solid. So this one’s for you Pops. I’m rooting for the 9ers so you don’t have to. Crack open a bottle of Heaven’s finest brew and enjoy the game.