Home » Blog » San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Preview

San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Preview

The San Francisco 49ers know exactly what it takes to get to a Super Bowl. They were a few muffed punts away from going last season, but then again, so were their opponents, the Baltimore Ravens. Still, the Niners are a more explosive and dynamic team than they were a year ago, and are widely favored to win this game (the line is bouncing around between 3.5 and 4.5, depending on where you look). They’re a young team, but they’re not taking their Super Bowl appearance for granted.

“The chances that you’re going to be flying to another Super Bowl in your career are very small,” secon-year 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said. “I like to think that everyone is going to take the same approach and after the game we can celebrate a Super Bowl win for a long time. That’s the approach we’re going to take.”

As with any Super Bowl, there are storylines swirling this way and that in the two weeks leading up to kickoff. Take your pick: the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other, the first time in the history of American professional sports that two brothers have done that in a championship game. Ray Lewis’ last game ever. The emergence of Colin Kaepernick after the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, Alex Smith, was benched – while playing exceptionally well. As quiet and no-nonsense as the 49ers are, they have been no stranger to controversy this season. This last story has perhaps been the most sensational; Smith was one of the leading passers in the NFL when he received a concussion and had to sit down, paving the way for his then-back up Kaepernick to totally seize control of the 49ers offense. He’s been surprisingly consistent and durable given his explosive style of play; even Smith himself is a fan.

“It’s the lack of young mistakes that has really jumped out at me,” Smith recently told the Sacramento Bee. “Most young guys come in – yeah, they show flashes, and they think they can play good at times. But then they also seem to have those young moments as well, you know, rookie moments and kind of boneheaded things. And he hasn’t done it. He’s played good ball. He’s really played patient and played smart.”

Kaepernick will obviously be priorities one, two and three for the Baltimore defense, along with Frank Gore and the read option rushing attack. However, Kaepernick has also shown an ability to complete deep passes; he’s one of the only true double threats to have yet graced the NFL, and that’s what makes him so dangerous. The Ravens, meanwhile, have a fearsome rushing attack of their own, and it sets up everything they love to do in the passing game: play action, deep balls, and seam routes to the tight end. The 49ers, particularly defensive lineman Justin Smith, will have to stop the run if they want to stop the Ravens offense.

“I think the main thing is to stop the run,” Smith said in an interview with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “The main reason they can chuck it so deep is they run the ball successfully. They max it up (with additional blockers), get you thinking run, suck in the corners and the safety, then they’re throwing over your head. And the guy they’re throwing to (Torrey Smith) runs about a 4.3, 4.2 (40-yard dash) or something. I think the main thing is to let those safeties set deep. Hopefully we don’t have to use them that much in the run game and they can do their job back there and we take care of the run.”

It will be a game decided by a second-year QB making his tenth start ever, and a game decided by an awesome rushing defense. I think the 49ers get it done and cover the spread easily, but the Ravens have been proving prognosticators (and Las Vegas) wrong for weeks now.

  • 100%