The Ravens beat the 49ers in their previous meeting, 16-6, in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night 2011.
(Editor’s Note: Yesterday, Dr. J of SingleBlackMale.net gave his reasons why his 49ers would win Super Bowl XLVII. Now, William H. Strafe will attempt to bring you all back to reality.)
By William H. Strafe
Before last year’s AFC Championship game, I wrote five reasons why the Ravens would beat the Patriots. Those who disagreed with me took to all forms of social media to deem my reasons as tomfoolery. Of course, I knew better. And my feelings about the game were nearly vindicated…
… until this and this happened.
This year, I refrained from writing such a post before this year’s AFC title game, mainly because it was unnecessary (evidenced by the amount of trash talk – or lack thereof – by my Patriot-loving friends this year).
Besides, I knew I’d have to put something together for the game after that. #takethattakethat
The Baltimore Ravens are a 3.5-point underdog against the San Francisco 49ers. As is the case in any Ravens playoff game, always take the points. But if you’re feeling ballsy, here’s five reasons why they will win the game outright.
1. The San Francisco 49ers are as tough and physical as any team in the NFL… just like the Baltimore Ravens.
Every time the 49ers have played one of these high-octane offenses in the NFL (Patriots, Packers, etc.) I pick the 49ers, because they have the formula to beat these teams: be physical and punch them in the mouth. The only teams that give them serious trouble are teams that will punch them right back (see: Seattle, St. Louis (a Jeff Fisher-coached team will do that to you) New York Giants).
The Ravens love to punch teams in the face, 15-yard penalty or not. Don’t believe me? Ask Stevan Ridley.
2. Ed Reed
At this point in his career, Ed Reed is playing centerfield. A deep centerfield at that. As in, bottom-of-the-9th, Pujols-is-up-don’t-let-the-ball-go-over-your-head deep centerfield. The emergence of Colin Kaepernick is key for the 49ers because the pistol offense draws defenses in, setting up the deep pass. Ed Reed will respond in one of two ways:
a) “Yeah, keep that running shit up. I’m good back here. Cause I know you’re gonna wanna take a shot deep. And when you do… I’ll be here. Go ahead. I dare you.”
b) “Yeah, I’ll take two steps toward the line… just enough steps to think you can get the ball to Crabacake over there, or whatever his name is. Now I know you’re gonna throw deep over there. And I’ve started moving back before you snapped the ball. This should be an easy pick. Ha! Rookie.”
3. The 49ers’ front seven is awesome… or at least it was in November.
All-Pro defensive end Justin Smith hasn’t been the same since a shoulder injury in their win against the Patriots in November. The Niners have garnered all of two sacks in the playoffs. Much of the 49ers success is based on bringing pressure with only four guys, which is key because their secondary isn’t anything to write home about. In Denver, Torrey Smith had his way with Champ Bailey in one-on-one coverage… and Champ Bailey is better than anyone in the 49ers backfield right now.
Either Smith or Anquan Boldin could have a field day if the 49ers pass rush isn’t effective, which is possible because…
4. The Ravens’ offensive line is playing lights out.
The Denver Broncos led the NFL in sacks this season with 52. In the AFC divisional playoff game, Joe Flacco was sacked only once – at the 11:15 mark of overtime, to boot – thanks to an offensive line that hadn’t played together until Week 17. Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s decision to move Michael Oher from left tackle to right tackle and Bryant McKinnie from left bench to left tackle has paid huge dividends. If they can keep up their stellar play, we might be seeing a lot of Joe Flacco passing down the field and hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.
5. David Akers is the 49ers kicker. He stinks.
Let’s go back to earlier in this post, when I shared a link to a kicker missing a 32-yard field goal. That missed kick ultimately cost that kicker his job. He was unemployed since early October… until the 49ers actually signed that kicker during the playoffs in hopes it would motivate Akers to perform better!
Ten of the fifteen Super Bowls this century have been decided by a touchdown or fewer, while two others saw a lead of seven points or less after three quarters. You can’t afford to leave points on the table in playoff games, which is exactly what Akers did in the NFC Championship game against Atlanta. Luckily for him, the 49ers were able to overcome it. They may not be so lucky this time.
I won’t be as brash to “book” a Ravens’ victory like my brother Dr. J, but that 6.5-point line is way too high for a team that just won at Denver and at New England.
Ravens 27, Niners 21.