Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl predictions’

Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl 47 Predictions, Keys to Game, Picks

January 21st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl 47 Predictions, Keys to Game, Picks
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Ravens Super BowlThey didn’t take the easiest road in the world to get here, but the Baltimore Ravens have made it to the Super Bowl for the second time in their franchise’s history. They’ll get a chance to claim their second ever Lombardi Trophy on February 3rd, but they have a long road to climb to be able to get to that point. Check out our Super Bowl keys to the game and what the Ravens needs to do to beat the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.

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#4 Baltimore Ravens vs. #2 San Francisco 49ers
Superbowl 47 Location: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Superbowl Date/Time: Sunday, February 3rd, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Superbowl TV Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Joe Flacco has to come up with one more “elite” game
We’ve had this one drilled down our throats for weeks, months… and heck, even years! QB Joe Flacco isn’t an elite quarterback. We know this. All we have to do is look at the way that he stands in the pocket, the way that he ultimately plays under pressure from time to time, and his numbers, and we know that he isn’t the second coming of John Elway or Joe Montana. However, what Flacco is, is a winner. He has brought his team to the playoffs for five straight seasons, has won at least one playoff game for five straight seasons, has made it to the AFC Championship Game three times in the last four years, and now, he has his team just one game away from the Lombardi Trophy. Something different has happened this time around, though. Flacco is actually outplaying some of these truly “elite” quarterbacks. QB Tom Brady looked like a chump in the second half of the AFC Championship Game in comparison to Flacco, while the week before, Flacco was throwing big time passes, while QB Peyton Manning was busy getting picked off in overtime. The former first round pick of the Ravens has thrown for 853 yards and eight TDs over the course of his last games here in the postseason. Sure, some of it was luck, and sure, had that 70-yard floating pass not found its way into the hands of WR Jacoby Jones, we’d probably still be talking about Flacco as the man that has never won the big game in his career. But now, Flacco can say that he is a winner. He has been in the Super Bowl. And with one more game with the stats of an elite quarterback, there might be no way to avoid putting Joe Cool in the same discussion with Brady and Manning.

Key #2: Torrey Smith has to find space deep in the San Fran secondary
The 49ers can be had in their secondary, and we have seen it time and time again over the course of the last few weeks. They allowed WR Julio Jones to catch 11 passes for 182 yards and two TDs against the Atlanta Falcons, and he hasn’t nearly been the only receiver of late to make some big plays happen against these 49ers. Roddy White did it (7 catches, 100 yards). James Jones did it (4 catches, 87 yards, 1 TD). Michael Floyd did it with Brian Hoyer throwing him the football (8 catches, 166 yards, 1 TD). Brandon Lloyd did it, too (10 catches, 190 yards). Four of these five names all share the same thing in common: They aren’t No. 1 receivers on their own teams. In fact, short of the NFC Championship Game, there really aren’t any top targets that have beaten up the Niners. It’s always been the No. 2 or No. 3 guy in the pecking order. Smith is that type of receiver, and he is a man that can get up the field in a hurry. It isn’t a prerequisite for him to score, and he doesn’t even have to have one of these games where he catches 10 passes for 130 yards. Smith just needs to break through the 49ers in the back end a time or two over the course of the game, and the passing game could really open up.

Superbowl 47 Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
Baltimore Ravens +4
San Francisco 49ers -4
Over/Under 48.5
Click Here to Bet Your Ravens vs. Ravens Picks!

Key #3: The offensive line has to keep Aldon Smith out of the backfield
The best games that the 49ers have had this year have seemingly all involved big outings from LB Aldon Smith. The man from Mizzou had 19.5 sacks this year, and in games in which he logged at least one sack, the team allowed 13.1 points per game. In games in which Smith doesn’t get a sack, which now includes five games in a row, the Niners have conceded 24.6 points per game, and they certainly have looked beatable. Of course, we know that there are some fallacies in there, as Smith is getting more attention and room is opening up for some of the other members of the front seven to get to the quarterback. However, this is a real key in this game. When the Ravens were struggling at their worst this year, they were allowing men like DE JJ Watt or DE Von Miller wreak havoc on Flacco and the offense. If the offensive line and the combination of tight ends and FB Vonta Leach can figure out how to put a hat on Smith, it’s going to make life a heck of a lot easier for this offense for the whole game.

Key #4: The defense has to confuse Colin Kaepernick
It is clear that the more time that QB Colin Kaepernick has to throw the ball and get into space, the more likely he is to make the big time play to burn the Baltimore defense. We have seen that time and time again. Teams just underestimate how fast this guy really is, and in the end, he has blown just about every unit he has faced up, especially here in the playoffs. However, Kaepernick isn’t without his struggles, and he has made some young mistakes. There isn’t a defense that has more ornate schemes than this Baltimore ‘D’, especially with two weeks to game plan for the mobile quarterback. Though the Atlanta defense didn’t end up having the most success in the world, it was clear that it had a better chance to get off the field when Kaepernick was in the pocket than when he was out of it, but that doesn’t have to remain the case when push comes to shove. Remember that the pick six that Kaepernick threw against the Green Bay Packers at the outset of that game came while he was on the move, and he made a poor decision. Whatever it takes to make Kaepernick make some of those bad decisions, as rare as they are, is what will be the key factor here for Baltimore defensively.

Key #5: The emotion just can’t run out
If you really look at the talent level that the Ravens have been playing with and playing against over the course of the last several weeks, you have to think that they have just been overmatched. They certainly weren’t a more talented team than either New England or Denver, but they were able to persevere in spite of the fact, largely because of the emotions that are coming from the squad in purple. Oh sure, LB Ray Lewis’ pending retirement is helping the team ride that wave, as is the fact that the team has that “us against the world” mentality to it. However, there is always a danger, especially with the long layoff before this one kicks off, that any team is going to fall flat. The Ravens have to keep this intensity up for the next two weeks, because they are running into a very businesslike team in the 49ers that are going to be in the Bayou for business and business only, not a party. If that intensity isn’t high from the start of practice on Monday through the very last second of the Super Bowl, the Ravens are going to be in some trouble for sure, and they run the risk of getting their doors blown off.

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San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 47 Predictions, Keys to Game, Picks

January 20th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 47 Predictions, Keys to Game, Picks
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Super Bowl 49ersThe San Francisco 49ers became the first team to lock up a spot in Super Bowl 47 when they knocked off the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 at the Georgia Dome. Now, they’re playing in the biggest game of the season, and we are set to make our Superbowl predictions and picks.  In this article we’ll discuss the keys to the game; as in what the 49ers need to do to win the Super Bowl.

Click Here For The 2013 NFL Playoff Bracket, the 2013 NFL Playoffs Schedule, and all of our NFL Playoff Game Previews

#2 San Francisco 49ers vs. #4 Baltimore Ravens
Super Bowl 47 Location: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
When is the Super Bowl?: Sunday, February 3rd, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Super Bowl TV Coverage: CBS

Key #1: 49ers have to come out firing & let C.K. orchestrate the offense from the start.
Early in the Falcons game, it appeared that Jim Harbaugh & Greg Roman were trying to out-think Atlanta defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan.  It seemed as if the 49ers assumed that all the focus would be on Kaepernick’s running ability out of the pistol formation.  On the very first play, the 49ers came out of the huddle, showed the pistol formation, and than quickly switched to a power-i before running their first play.  Perhaps this was their way of saying, “We’ll do what we want”.  But, it didn’t fool Atlanta’s defense at all.  A hand-off to Gore resulted in Falcon defenders filling holes and swarming to the football.  Everyone knows the 49ers intend to run the football between the tackles, regardless of how well Kaepernick slinging the rock.  If the Niners coaching staff really wanted to throw the Falcon defense off-guard, a 5-wide receiver set along with a no-huddle offense from the start really would have done the trick.  The Falcons were playing the run on every play in the first quarter, and the 49ers were playing right into their hands.  Due to the quick three-and-outs, Kaepernick wasn’t able to get comfortable orchestrating the offense until he was allowed to hit some receivers in stride and make some check downs.  Baltimore is going to do everything they can to show that San Francisco’s highly touted offensive front isn’t going to push them around in the running game (and they are going to try to rattle the young gunslinger).  The Ravens will be very aggressive  in doing so.  Therefore, making sure C.K. gets into a rhythm throwing the football early is important.  Not only will it surprise the Ravens defense, but it will also open things up for the Gore/James/Kap running attack trifecta.  It will also allow them to use the Pistol more often later on in the game.  Making the older Ray Lewis run around a little bit, so that he’s huffing and puffing, rather than screaming, will do wonders for the 49ers offense.

Key #2: 49ers secondary has to communicate and avoid allowing big plays down the field.
The one knock against the 49ers over the course of the last few weeks is that they’ve been giving up some big plays down the field.  Early in the Falcons game, a blown assignment by the 49ers secondary allowed Julio Jones to catch a wide open TD.  The Ravens proved in the AFC Championship Game that they can score using the big play, as they got off quite a few big plays in the second half against the Patriots. Baltimore likes to run a modified hurry up, and it has the potential to get a heck of a lot of snaps off if the defense can’t get off the field. Keeping a close eye on WR Torrey Smith down the field and Anquan Boldin over the middle will be very important.  When playing against any elite defense, most teams that have a big arm quarterback are going to take their shots down the field; hoping they can either make a play or get a flag.  If the 49ers can bat these deep ball shots down, they will force the Ravens into some early 3rd and longs and some mistakes.

Super Bowl Betting Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
San Francisco 49ers -4
Baltimore Ravens +4
Over/Under 48.5
Click Here to Bet Your Super Bowl Picks!

Key #3: Someone has to get in the face of quarterback, Joe Flacco
Though we know that QB Joe Flacco has a history of being cool in the pocket, he has also had some games in which he has folded as well when he is under a lot of pressure. Matt Ryan was very comfortable early in the NFC Championship.  However, in the second half, they were able to get to him a little bit and force him into some mistakes.  Clearly the talent is there to get to Flacco.  DE Aldon Smith is one of the best pass rushers in the game and DT Justin Smith is a monster up front as well.  However, DT Isaac Sopoaga managed to get the only sack of the game against Atlanta. Two weeks ago, LB Patrick Willis had the only sack against QB Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. Aldon Smith, had 19.5 sacks in his first 13 games of the season, but has not recorded a single sack in his last five games.  He seems to get them in bunches as he recorded 11 sacks over a 4 game span in the midway point of the season. Regardless, it doesn’t have to be Smith, but someone had better get a hand in Flacco’s face and knock him around a little bit.

Key #4: Other receivers have to step up aside from Michael Crabtree
Head Coach John Harbaugh isn’t a fool by any stretch of the imagination. He knows that WR Michael Crabtree is going to get the ball thrown his way quite a bit, as Crabtree really is the only outstanding receiver that the team has at its disposal. The Texas Tech Red Raider caught 15 passes for 176 yards and two TD in the playoffs thus far.  He was largely blanketed by a bevy of Atlanta defensive backs in the NFC Championship (opening things up for a big game from Vernon Davis). No matter what the Baltimore defense throws at Crabtree, he’ll get his catches, but someone else has to step it up. Don’t discount guys like WR Randy Moss and TE Delanie Walke. Though the two only combined for four catches and 66 yards, they were all in clutch spots for the offense. It’s not a matter of getting 100 yards out of Davis, Moss, or anyone else in the lineup, it’s just that a few guys need to make a few big plays to help Kaepernick win his first Superbowl.


Key #5: The 49ers’ front seven absolutely cannot miss tackles
RB Ray Rice is going to be coming and coming strong at the San Francisco defense, and he forces as many missed tackles of linebackers as any running back in the league with his low center of gravity. TE Dennis Pitta and WR Anquan Boldin also have the ability to bowling over unsuspecting members of the secondary to boot. San Fran is one of the best tackling teams in football, and it comes all over the field. This is the second straight year that Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has had his 49ers in the Top 5 in the league in tackles, and that has to hold true in the Super Bowl. If Rice is shaking tackles left and right, the Niners are going to be in some trouble. They have to continue to wrap up at the point of attack no matter who has the football. If they do that, Baltimore is going to have a heck of a time just trying to move the pigskin.

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