The opening line, posted a few hours after the Ravens punched their tickets to Super Bowl XLVII, has the 49ers as 5 point favorites. Somehow that doesn’t sound quite right to me.
Oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein of America’s Line says he set the line at 4 1/2 to encourage betting action on both sides. Even if that response makes sense, it still feels like more of a popularity contest than anything based on logic.
It seems like that contest is quickly shifting in Baltimore’s favor. Within a matter of hours, the line has already changed to 4 even. I could honestly care less whether my boys are considered the underdog in New Orleans. Just ask Tom Brady what he thinks about those odds. Zing!
First it was Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, favored to beat the Ravens by 9 1/2 points. Then it was Princess Brady and the New England Patriots, favored to win by 8 1/2. Baltimore won 38-35 and 28-13, respectively.
Now it’s San Francisco’s turn. According to Bill Cowher, the ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach, the Ravens will have trouble with the 49er-offense because ‘we have never faced a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick.’ *dramatic pause*
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!
We haven’t faced a quarterback like a 2nd year player with 9 total starts?! Oh I’m sorry, our team was too busy beating 3-time Super Bowl champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 8-time Pro Bowl Quarterback Tom Brady last night. Did I mention his two regular season MVP awards or that he currently holds the record for most playoff wins in NFL history? What a load of crap.
What about the quarterback we beat in the AFC divisional round, 4-time regular season MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl-winning, 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning?! I know Bill Cowher used to be the Steelers head coach but come the fuck on, you can’t be serious. Colin WHO???
I get the feeling that it doesn’t matter who the Ravens beat to get to the Super Bowl. Insert quarterback’s name here, Bill Cowher will find a way to tell the public the Ravens can’t handle ‘him.’ All I have to say is, “we’ll see about that.”
Consider this. No rookie quarterback has EVER won a playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. Not Andrew Luck, not Ben Roethlisberger, not T.J. Yates, NOBODY. Technically, Colin Kaepernick isn’t a rookie quarterback but since he hasn’t even played a full season, for all intents and purposes he’s still a rookie to me.
Who really cares about the wildcat/pistol offense? Does anyone really think a few gimmick plays or a quarterback who can run the ball effectively is going to fool a defense led by Ray Lewis at linebacker and Ed Reed in the secondary? We’re not talking about scrubs or even Pro Bowl players here. We’re talking Hall of Fame-caliber defensive stalwarts, each with over a decade of experience.
That’s plenty of time to get acquainted with every little offensive nuance and gesture. The only way to win against experience like that is to beat them physically; to out muscle the other team. Not that there’s a chance of that happening. Nobody can match Lewis/Reed or even Bernard Pollard’s intensity. Just ask Stevan Ridley.
Dubbed the “Patriot Killer,” by his loving teammates, Safety Bernard Pollard has slayed 4 New England players since 2008. His hit last night on Ridley caused a crucial 4th quarter fumble, helping the Ravens limit the Patriots to a season-low 13 points. Luckily, the referees forgot to flag Pollard.
How I feel about the many legal-yet-flagged hits by Baltimore players is a topic for another day. Suffice it to say that nobody will ever mistake Baltimore for a finesse team. Anyone who knows anything about the AFC North teams can attest to that. We love to play defense and run the ball through our opponent’s guts here in the Charm City. So is anyone around here worried about a “dual-threat QB?”
We feast on them. The Ravens will come hungry on February 3rd. Paul Kruger, Terrell Suggs, Haloti
Ngata, Ray Lewis, Courtney Upshaw, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Corey Graham and all the other members of the vaunted Ravens defense will be chomping at the bit come Super Bowl Sunday.
As Terrell Owens once said, “Getcha’ Popcorn Ready.” After 12 years of waiting, Ravens fans are ready. Trust me.
SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS:
Ravens(-6) defeat 49ers: 30-24 (54 total points)