3 Keys to a Baltimore Ravens VictoryBy Daniel J.
Oddsmakers have given the San Francisco 49ers a four-point edge in this year’s Super Bowl, so as the underdogs, what will it take for the Ravens to pull out a victory? We’re taking a look at a few of the keys to a Baltimore win this Sunday and providing a few reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to bet in favor of the Ravens, even on the moneyline.
1. Establish the Run with Ray Rice
Like with any solid, well-balanced NFL offense, the Ravens will undoubtedly need to establish the run. Ray Rice won’t have to run wild against a tough SF front seven, but he will have to make that front respect Baltimore’s ability to move the chains on the ground. If the Ravens can find even a little success running the football, they’ll be able to do what they seem to love; throw the ball deep and put points on the board. The run will effectively set up play-action and enable Joe Flacco to find one-on-one matchups, which will allow him to hit some of his favorite targets, including Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin. Of course, running the ball well on first down will also open up the playbook, allowing Baltimore to go with bigger yardage plays on second and short.
But you can be sure the 49ers will prepare to stop the run and they will bring heavy hitters Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith up to fill the lanes. However, at least so far this postseason, the Ravens have done a fantastic job opening up holes despite being run-blitzed and should be able to allow Rice to find creases. I don’t expect Rice to have a huge game, but if he can chalk up 3-4 yards per carry, that will open up the rest of Baltimore’s game and give the Ravens a good chance to win.
2. Contain Colin Kaepernick
This second one is obviously easier said than done, but some teams have been able to do it. Seattle crushed the Niners and limited Kaepernick in a blowout win near the end of the regular season, proving that the beast can be tamed. Kaepernick is the type of player who will get his yards, but the key word here is contain. If the Ravens can simply negate the big plays and keep him in check, then they’ve got a great chance at winning and with the talent they have on the defensive side of the ball and with Ray Lewis playing inspired in his last NFL game, you better believe the Ravens will bring it on Sunday. If those linebackers and safetys stay at home and don’t gamble too much, they’ll have a shot at containing the wild horse Kaepernick.
3. Out-Coach Your Little Bro
In a game where both teams have so long to prepare and think about, coaching will be paramount and of course, for John Harbaugh, you don’t want to lose to your little brother on sports’ biggest stage.
The two brothers know each other better than anyone and their relationship should create one of the most interesting match-ups on the entire field. John will have to be mistake-free in his decision making and not let emotions get in the way of what needs to be done. Both coaches are fiery and have plenty of will, but John needs to be smarter and more disciplined than Jim to win the day. At the end of the day, the players will get most of the credit for a win, but John Harbaugh can have a huge impact on the game if he calls a perfect one.