The odds are in, and to nobodies surprise, Las Vegas has picked the 49ers as the favorites to win Super Bowl XLVII by 4 points.
A big reason why the 49ers are being favored in their first Super Bowl appearance in nearly 20 years is because of their explosive offensive attack. In a game that features two stout defenses, it's going to come down to which team can generate the most offense, and if their last two games are any indication, the 49ers will be up for the challenge. With Colin Kaepernick under center, the 49ers have proven that they can put up points in bunches as they can now beat you in a variety of ways. Just look at last weeks game vs. the Falcons when San Francisco didn't get a single first down in the first quarter, then went on to torch Atlanta's D throughout the rest of the game. Once that switch gets turned on, the Niners are a tough team to stop thanks to the playmakers that offense has generated and particularly the play of that offensive line. We've seen Kaepernick have a couple of outstanding games in January, and Frank Gore and LaMichael James have been able to run at will because of the way that line is playing, and they are going to have to be the ones that again set the tone vs. Baltimore.
As potent as the 49ers offense has looked the last two weeks, this will be the toughest defense they've run into since that Seattle game in December, and that was the last time the 49ers were handed a loss. My guess is that Baltimore will stack the box heavily to keep an eye on both Gore and Kaepernick running the ball as I think they're going to try and force the Niners to beat them through the air. Kaepernick has done a tremendous job (for the most part) of protecting the ball, but the Ravens make a living off turning the ball over and 'Kaep is going to have to be extra aware of the playmakers in Baltimore's secondary. That being said, and as good as the Baltimore defense is, the 49ers are favored in this one because they can win whatever type of game this turns into. They've shown already during these playoffs that they aren't scared of facing an early deficit and making a comeback. They also are more than capable of playing defense and running the ball should this one turn into a low-scoring, smash-mouth type of contest.
I do think this one will be close, but I do think the 49ers will pull away in the end. They are playing with a ton of swagger right now, and Baltimore has just barely survived a few games in order to make it to this point. The only way the Ravens win this one is if they get to Kaepernick early and often, create some turnovers and make Kaepernick look like a 2nd year QB with just 12 career starts.Otherwise, if Kapernick gets going, it opens up the running game and like I said earlier, makes the 49ers a very tough team to slow down. I'll go ahead and make my prediction now, even though we'll be discussing this game again before next Sunday's showdown. My guess is it will be a bit of a defensive battle in the first half then the 49ers take over and dominate the 2nd. Picking a score is always just blind speculation, but I'd be surprised is San Francisco doesn't win by 7+. I'll go with 27-17, Niners.