Before the season began, all of us at TD provided our early Super Bowl predictions and, yeah, not a single one of us was correct in guessing who the last two squads standing would eventually be. Oops. Some came close, though—a few brilliant people guessed that either the Ravens or 49ers would earn the trip to New Orleans. Smart folks.
Anyway, Round 2: With the last football game of the season upon us, and with our special Super Bowl issue currently on newsstands (if you haven’t yet, go buy it!), we asked the entire TD team to hit us with their SB prediction—more specifically, the final score, and why. Everyone’s answers are below, so check ‘em out and then hit the comment section and let us know who you think will come out on top.
Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief: Ravens 27, 49ers 20
They are the 2007/2011 Giants of this season. Got hot at the right time (which started against the Giants with me in attendance, sadly) and even though the Niners have a good D, I don’t think it’s enough to stop the Ravens’ diverse offensive attack. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ veteran, highly motivated defense should be able to keep the Niners under relative control.
Susan Price, Managing Editor: Ravens 27, 49ers 10
Well, Ray Lewis.
Tzvi Twersky, Senior Editor: 49ers 27, Ravens 20
Sorry, Ray Lewis, but happy endings are reserved for fairy tales.
Abe Schwadron, Online Editor: 49ers 31, Ravens 28
If I squint my eyes hard enough, I can convince my brain that Colin Kaepernick running around is actually RGIII.*Sigh* But seriously, I’m a big fan of the read-option, and I don’t see Kap backing down from the big stage. Also, for as good as he is as a player, I’ve had a little bit too much of Ray Lewis’ antics of late. I think it’ll take 30+ points to win, despite both teams historically having great defenses. San Fran, show me the read-option can win a Super Bowl. I beg you.
Adam Figman, Associate Editor: 49ers 34, Ravens 14
Neither of these teams mean much to me, but “Moss Fly” in Madden 2002 (or was it 2003?) was a simply unstoppable play, and I’d like to imagine that with a couple of those in the first and second quarters, the Niners will break this one right open. Hear me out, Jim: Moss Fly, all day.
Yaron Weitzman, Associate Editor: 49ers 28, Ravens 17
I believe in God, and because I believe in God, I believe that there is no way the Ravens could win, because if the Ravens win, that means Ray Lewis wins, which would mean we’d have to hear a gibberish filled post-game tirade about how God cares about football results, which is obviously ridiculous and cannot be something that God wants to happen. Also, Joe Flacco is not a good quarterback. I don’t care how many playoff games he has won. He plays as if he’s using a Nerf ball, and not in a good way. (And yes, I’m aware my first argument is a hypocritical one.)
Dave Schnur, Associate Publisher: 49ers 27, Ravens 17
While Flacco has surprised many this postseason (8 TDs, 0 INTs), I think he comes back to earth in this game. The 49ers D is going to lock up the Ravens run game and force Flacco to make big plays with his arm. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Rahim Moore was not picked up by the Niners for the Super Bowl so I think Flacco is going to look far more pedestrian than he has thus far. I favor the Niners D and the Niners new-and-improved offense led by Mr. Kaepernick (don’t sleep on Randy Moss!) that’s why I’m going with…the Niners, 27-17.
Sean Brown, Advertising Sales: Ravens 31, 49ers 28
The 49ers have a great rushing defense and will limit the Ravens ground game BUT Flacco will shine and expose the 49ers often weak secondary using Anquan Boldin. Kaepernick has had a phenomenal season and will perform well in the Super Bowl, throwing and keeping the football with his unique running ability, making it a high-scoring game—but not enough for a win. The Ray Lewis fired-up Ravens defense limits their other offensive threats, like Frank Gore. Flacco continues to be an elite quarterback in the post-season and wins MVP throwing for 3 TD’s and 0 Ints. More importantly: The 49ers are not allowed to tie the Steelers championship record of 6 Lombardi trophies.
Peter Walsh, NFC East Blogger: Ravens 27, Niners 17
Colin Kaepernick comes down to Earth and the Ray Lewis emotional roller coster concludes with a Super Bowl victory in New Orleans.
Leo Sepkowitz, NFC North Blogger: 49ers 31, Ravens 16
The Ravens have made an incredible postseason run, but they’re worse than the Niners. In fairness, every team is. Colin Kaepernick is too fast for an impressive-but-slow Baltimore D. Michael Crabtree is finally developing into a star and Frank Gore has suddenly shed his over-the-hill status. San Francisco’s defense is good enough to limit Ray Rice (19 carries for 48 yards against a mediocre Pats D last week), and take away Joe Flacco’s beloved deep ball. Lost in the Ray Lewis madness is that another future Hall-of-Famer—the ringless Randy Moss—might be trying to go out with a Super Bowl win, too. I think he’ll get it.
Daniel Moran, NFC South Blogger: Ravens 23, 49ers 20
It would defy logic at to suggest the Ravens would be here at the start of the playoffs, which is why it’s now logical to pick this improbable team. The 49ers D only has 2 sacks in the playoffs and Flacco will continue to work his playoff magic, giving Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs their first title.
Sam Good, NFC West Blogger: 49ers 28, Ravens 24
It’s going to be a slugfest. These are two physical teams with no quit in them. Both squads have found themselves in dire situations this postseason and bounced back, so expect this game to come down to the end. But the 49ers just have more weapons. They can beat you on the ground, through the air and with their suffocating D. I feel like the Ravens have really relied on big plays this postseason. I think Joe Flacco will connect with his receivers for a few big ones, but the 49ers just have too much talent and will prevail.
Dan Chiavetta, AFC East Blogger: 49ers 34 Ravens 20
Kaeptain Kaepernick has got this San Fran offense playing at such a high level that I think it’s going to be tough for the older, slower, Baltimore defense to stop them. And it’s no coincidence that Michael Crabtree has blossomed into a top five receiver ever since Jim Harbaugh pulled the plug on the Alex Smith experiment. Colin Kaepernick has a cannon for an arm, breakaway speed, and is going to play his way into the history books come Sunday.
Brett Weisband, AFC North Blogger: Ravens 27, 49ers 20
I’ve flip-flopped back and forth on this, but I’m there with the Ravens. They’re healthy, every unit is clicking and they just have that look. Call it a gut pick, but this team has that feel.
Maurice Bobb, AFC South Blogger: 49ers 28, Ravens 17
I think the Ravens’ defensive live gets all up in San Fran’s grill but the O-line stands its ground and lets Kaep do work. I think he kills them in the air and on the ground. At least one of the Niners’ touchdowns goes to Randy—this will be his chance to shine one last time. I think Kaep runs another one in and the other two are split between Vernon Davis and Frank Gore. I’d love for Ray Lewis to go out on a high note, but this is San Fran’s year.
Cub Buenning, AFC West Blogger: 49ers 31, Ravens 13
San Francisco is going to win this game. I think this may end up being one of those games that is not necessarily all that close. I think Baltimore has been a bit of a mirage winning on the road at Denver and New England and will not be able to match the physical play of the Niners. Baltimore should have the advantage in experience (especially at the quarterback position) but San Fran’s mix of defense and a running game should nullify that edge.
Joe Kozlowski, Editorial Intern: Ravens 28, 49ers 24
Since my favorite mantra of “defense wins championships” doesn’t really set the two teams apart, I think the key difference will be experience. The Ravens get the edge as Colin Kaepernick’s rookie status finally catches up to him.
Be on the lookout tomorrow for more “expert” picks coming your way!