They say America’s religion on Sunday is football. And it’s probably never more correct than on Super Bowl Sunday. And this one should be even more compelling.
In case you haven’t heard: there are two brothers, Jim and John Harbaugh, who are the head coaches in this game, who grew up right up the road in Ann Arbor and watched their father coach as an assistant at Michigan for the legendary Head Coach Bo Schembechler. Therefore, coaching is in their blood.
Now on to the greatest middle linebacker to ever play the game, Ray Lewis, who after 17 years in the game, has been accused of using a banned substance. This is just ridiculous. Needless to say, this will be his last game…he’s retiring.
Now that we have that out the way, the San Francisco 49ers will meet the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in Super Bowl 47, which should be a fascinating matchup on both sides of the ball. While we could talk about every player and matchup on the field in great detail, here are five of the matchups that are keys to the game.
Handle emotions – The final game of one of the NFL’s best linebackers of all time, a brother vs. brother matchup of head coaches, a quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, making just his 10th career start on the game’s biggest stage, and a quarterback, Joe Flacco, with a lot of doubters and who has a lot to prove.
Win at the line of scrimmage – Whoever controls the line of scrimmage usually wins the game. Throughout the playoffs both offensive lines have looked strong, so if either defensive line can find a way to be disruptive, it could be the deciding factor.
Reading the read-option – Despite Kaepernick’s speed, the 49ers do not run many designed runs. They utilize a zone-read option, but the running back gets the ball more often than not. This could be a problem for Baltimore’s aging defense.
The kicking game – If the game is close…it will come down to this guy. Talk about pressure.
Halftime adjustments – This is key, because Super Bowl halftimes are generally longer than usual, so the team that takes the most advantage of it, will probably win this game, especially if it’s close at the half.
Anyway it goes…go get your popcorn, because this one should be fun. With that being said, sometimes destiny is just that, destiny. And Lewis has been good for the NFL, good for people and good for children, so I’m going to go with the old guy. The Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers in a, 27-24, thriller.
Zack Burgess can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @zackburgess1.