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Early Call: Ravens-49ers in the Super Bowl

Ravens coach John HarbaughThere may be no purely logical way to account for it, but I’ve learned in my years as a sports fan that momentum is real. Not quantifiable and definitely not infallible, but real nonetheless. Indeed, momentum — or “getting hot” or “going on a run” — is often what it takes to take a good team and make it great. Once underway it often turns that suddenly great team into a champion.

Based on what we saw last weekend in the NFL playoffs, I think the Ravens and 49ers both fit the bill. I’m betting we see them both in the Super Bowl.

The Ravens in particular have taken on the look of a team for which everything is falling into place. They struggled at the right time (losing 3 of 4 in December) and made a bold, controversial move that paid off (firing Cam Cameron). The Ray Lewis effect can’t be denied, and Joe Flacco is looking like the guy every Ravens fan hopes he can be.

As for the 49ers, they struck gold with Colin Kaepernick and appear (though I haven’t watched them all that much) to be a fairly complete team. They’re #1 in total offense and #4 in total defense for the postseason, #11 in offense (much of it pre-Kaepernick) and #3 in defense for the regular season. I can’t put much past them after what they did to Green Bay.

It’s no small thing that both teams have to win on the road this weekend but it happens all the time. I like the Falcons but they barely managed to contain Russell Wilson and their defense ranks dead last for the postseason and 24th for the regular season. As for the Patriots, the Ravens beat them once this year and should have beaten them in the playoffs last year. This group knows they can win.

Add it all up and it’s an easy call. I expect close games but I’m pretty sure that once the dust settles we’ll be looking at one hell of a story with the Harbaugh brothers meeting to decide it all.

One last note: oddsmakers have the Ravens as 9.5 point underdogs. I’d take that bet.

10 comments to Early Call: Ravens-49ers in the Super Bowl

  • The Ravens have an excellent shot of beating the Patriots, even in Foxboro, if they follow the path of the Giants in those two Super Bowls: Get in Tom Brady’s smug face and don’t give him a chance to throw. It almost worked last year. Hopefully, the Ravens have learned enough in a year to make it happen.

    I’m not a Ravens fan, but everybody who lives in the New York Tri-State Area, naturally inclined to hate New England teams, stands with the purple half of Maryland this Sunday.

    Too bad the burgundy half didn’t get the job done: Outgoing Ray Lewis vs. incoming Robert Griffin III would have made for a very interesting Super Bowl.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    sports makes strange bedfellows. if you told me i’d be screaming and jumping up and down for the new york giants twice in the last few years i would have thought you were crazy. anyway, i had a true gut feeling that the ravens would win in denver. don’t have that gut feeling at all now (at least not yet) but there sure seems like there’s something special going on with this team. we’ll see.

  • Ravens only hope is for Charles Flacco to continue to chuck the ball PS3 MADDEN style like last week

    Brady is 3-2 in his 5 games vs Flacco – I’m down to call it 2-2-1 because you guys pretty much won last year…and all five games have been within 6 points

    so everyone should take those 9 points to the bank and we’ll all win! gonna be a close one

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    actually all three losses would be ravens wins if not for two dropped passes (evans AND mark clayton) and a rex ryan timeout that didn’t exist but WHO’S COUNTING.

    ravens 30-27

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    i credit the pats for not making the boneheaded plays that the ravens have in this series (bart scott’s flag toss comes to mind) but really…has any team dominated the pats on the field more than the ravens? and little to show for it. it all ends here.

  • Mark H

    No write up about Earl passing away here?

  • neal s

    @ Mark H: Still trying to wrap my head around it a bit.

  • dan the man

    Super Bowl.

    Game ball on defense goes to Pollard. That dude frightens people. Pats got hit enough times that they started to play tentative.

    And I love the new Joe Flacco. He just beat Peyton and Brady – and not with typical Ravens defense bailing out the offense. Flacco really beat these guys at their own game. Speaking of Peyton, Flacco will have more playoff victories than him if they win the SB.

    In Foxborough, man.

    Also loved Sharpe calling out typical sore loser Belichick for not talking to the media. Almost enough to forgive Sharpe for picking NE.

  • dan the man

    Oh and good call, Neal.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    note to the brady bunch media: the ravens straight up dominated the pats until they quit yesterday. i forgave you for claiming that the broncos lost that game but just stop. you’re embarrassing.