By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
In case you haven’t heard, they’re playing a pretty big game on Sunday. Our Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler pick the Super Bowl.
Why the 49ers will win: At least until Robert Griffin III gets healthy and the Redskins have another solid draft or two, this is Colin Kaepernick’s world and we’re just renting space in it. He is the reason that we will have our first true Super Bowl blowout in 10 years.
In his 10th NFL start in his second NFL season, Kaepernick will become the first running quarterback to take his team to the top of the football world. Kaepernick will have a lot of help. The Ravens don’t have anyone who can handle Vernon Davis. It is going to be hard for Joe Flacco to earn that “elite” QB contract with Aldon Smith and Justin Smith in his face all day long. And if Ray Rice tries his “hey diddle diddle up the middle” move, he’s going to run smack into Patrick Willis.
The Ravens’ Dean Pees is certainly a competent defensive coordinator but nobody has ever said, you know, if you give Pees two weeks to prepare for something, it’s lights out. Baltimore will be guessing when it comes to trying to stop Kaepernick and if a defense is guessing on Kaepernick it’s losing.
49ers 35, Ravens 17
MVP: Kaepernick, of course
Bold prediction: Besides Kaepernick going off for over 300 yards passing and over 80 yards rushing, Aldon Smith picks up three sacks.
Why I’m picking the Ravens: I don’t normally believe in teams of destiny, but it’s hard to ignore the magical ‘ride’ Ray Lewis and his teammates are enjoying.
The Ravens boast the postseason’s top passer (Joe Flacco, 114.7 rating), leading rusher (Ray Rice, 247 yards), most productive receiver (Anquan Boldin, 3 TDs), best defender (Lewis, 44 tackles) and, more important, a stingy, experienced and meticulously prepared defense that's held two opponents under 14 points. Baltimore's success has always been predicated on defense, and that's not going to change on Sunday.
Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers have been a fun story, but it’s Lewis who will author the storybook ending at the Superdome.
Ravens 31, 49ers 28
MVP: Joe Flacco
What everyone will be talking about Monday: The kickers. The Ravens’ Justin Tucker (2 for 2 in the playoffs) will be carried off on his teammates’ shoulders, while David Akers (1 for 2) will be looking for a place to hide.