PFT’s Super Bowl picks

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We’ve finally reached the end of the road.  After 256 regular-season games (I won by 11) and 11 postseason games (MDS is up three), it’s time to pick a winner in the Super Bowl.

So without further adieu, here are our predictions on one of the hardest Super Bowls to predict.

And, yes, we disagree.

MDS’s take: There wasn’t a single point in the regular season when I would have said the Ravens were a better team than the 49ers. Baltimore had a better record than San Francisco during much of the first part of the regular the season, but the 49ers looked like a more impressive, more complete football team than the Ravens. And down the stretch in the regular season, the 49ers got even better after replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick, while the Ravens lost four of their last five to close out 2012. So the only way I could pick the Ravens now is if I think their three-game playoff run has shown that they’ve become a significantly better team. And while I do think the Ravens are playing their best football at the right time, I simply don’t see them as better than the 49ers on either side of the ball.

When San Francisco has the ball, the running of Frank Gore and LaMichael James is going to pose big problems for the Ravens’ defense. (And the running of Colin Kaepernick will be a nice bonus for the 49ers.) When Baltimore has the ball, the San Francisco safety combination of Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson is going to make it tough for Joe Flacco to do what he likes to do best, attack opposing secondaries deep downfield. I do expect Baltimore to have a decided special-teams advantage in this game, but I don’t think that’s going to produce enough game-changing plays to make the difference. The 49ers are the better team, and they’ll hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take:  I’ve gone back and forth all week on this game.  When I convince myself that the 49ers will win, I think of the reasons why the Ravens will prevail.  And then I think of the reasons the 49ers will prevail.  And then I think of the reasons the Ravens will prevail.

And then I wish there could be ties in the Super Bowl.

I’ll agree with MDS on one point — if the 49ers win, it likely will be by seven or more points.  For the Ravens, it likely will be a close game with one score deciding the winner of the Lombardi Trophy.

The 49ers are the better team on paper.  But the Broncos and the Patriots were the better teams on paper, too.  And the Ravens just keep winning.  The offense has improved, and the 49ers pass defense has dipped in recent weeks, with a less potent rush and safeties who seem to get caught flat-footed all too often.

The Ravens defense will need to contain Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore.  The concern is that, if the Ravens figure out a way to solve the read-option in a way that keeps both from burning them, Kaepernick will pull the ball back out and fire a pass to Randy Moss, who will lollygag off the line of scrimmage before sprinting down the field.

Still, there’s something about the Ravens this year, between the impact of Ray Lewis and the emergence of Joe Flacco and the reality that, after this season, Baltimore could have some rebuilding to do.  For the 49ers, they could be back on a much more regular basis.  In the end, there’s a good chance that each Harbaugh brother will get a ring.  For now, the first-born son becomes the first one to hoist the trophy.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 30, 49ers 27.

67 responses to “PFT’s Super Bowl picks

  1. If the 49ers win, it will be because the league and officials in San Fran set it up. The 49er fanbase will loot,pillage,and attack everything in site

  2. I think this will be one of the better Superbowl game to date and the reason: They both have high powered offenses and defenses that deserve to be in the Superbowl. All I want is a great game!

  3. Ravens 27 49ers 24. Akers misses a potential game tying field goal and Jim H has to be restrained after trying to choke him with his pen necklace thing.

  4. Good picks.

    My personal pick: I think Baltimore gives up early yardage to the the read option game, and after some adjustments, completely shuts down and takes away Kaepernick’s easy reads resulting in the 49ers’ stalled offense. I think Baltimore has trouble moving the ball consistently but gashes the 49er’s D with 3 or 4 decisive drives. In the end, with Kaepernick frustrated by Baltimore taking away the easy reads, Kaepernick takes gambles and gets burned with 2 picks in the second half. Final Baltimore 24-10.

  5. The Youngstown 49ers will win big.

    @toolfan7

    You forgot something important in your high-powered spreadsheet. The teams actually play each other, so that means two teams play in a single game, but they both get credit for having played in that game. Sixteen weeks of sixteen games is 256. I realize that there are actually 17 weeks…but we are averaging here!

    I’m sure somebody else corrected you on this as well before my comment actually got posted. I apologize for any redundancy.

  6. The Ravens scored an avg. 24.9 the niners scored an avg. 24.8 so you naturally go with 30 cause? Just to show distaste, im gonna leave it at that! Good luck in future adventures. Id never bet against that second ranked scoring defense!

  7. Tool fan, yes. You are. Each team plays another team during the game, so chop it in half. I.e. does the ravens playing the 49ers count as 2 games since there are two teams playing in it?

  8. ToolFan- are you really that stupid? just curious.

    anyway, Ravens have something special going on. Think about the path they took to get here. Art Model dies just before the seaosn. Torrey Smith’s brother dies just before their Monday Night showdown with the Patriots. Multiple injuries on the defensive side of the ball to all of their pro bowlers (reed, suggs, lewis, and ngata didnt play together until week 1 of the playoffs), ray lewis announcing retirement, 4th and 29 against chargers (arguably one of the best plays of the year), beating Luck, Manning, Brady in the playoff run…i dont know about your guys but it seems like something special/bigger than football is going on here…gimme the Ravens +3.5 ALL DAY LONG AND TWICE ON THIS SUNDAY!!!! (and im a huge Peyton manning fan, not a ravens fan)

  9. toolbar74, you are definitely missing something. it’s called basic math skills. you are correct. 32 teams. 16 game schedule. but teams have to have an opponent. there is (excusing the bye to simplify the math for ya) 32 teams that account for SIXTEEN games a week, times 16 weeks. 256 regular season games. you do have one small point though….. opponents of the Jets really didn’t play anyone that showed up that week, so I understand the confusion.

  10. As usual you guys dont know what your talking about. Goldson is a liability in pass coverage. He hits hard but he gets burned every game. Flacco should torch that secondary but if he doesnt it wont be because of goldsons pass coverage.

  11. In the beginning of the Regular season, the 49ers looked sharp enough with Alex Smith to take the NFC. Now with Kaepernick behind center they have become a much better run team and a team that isn’t afraid to put the ball out there deep.
    The Ravens looked like the Ravens usually do, good enough to make the Playoffs, but not good enough to get past tough New England, high powered Denver or upcoming Houston. Just as Florio said, after their sharp Playoff run, the Ravens look like a different team. Flacco is playing smart, the Offensive line is giving him just enough protection. The Raven Wideouts are getting open when needed and the running game is on point like usual. The Baltimore D is playing as well as they usually do, getting penetration on the QB and giving the Offense as many shots to get on the field as possible. Ray Lewis will be at an all-time high, pushing his teammates to their limit, especially knowing that this is the game he goes out for good on, Talk about some motivation.
    As good as the 49ers are, I believe that the Ravens want it just a bit more. You will see Harbaugh vs Harbaugh at its best, but I am pretty sure the brother with the bird on his hat will be the one at the podium at the end of the game. Ravens 38, 49ers 28.

  12. toolfan74 says:Jan 31, 2013 11:21 AM

    256 regular season games? 32 teams x 16 games=512. Am I missing something??

    —————-

    I see this kind of post all over the place when people write down how many games are played in a season.

    There are 256 games in the regular season of the NFL schedule. 17 weeks is because each team has one bye week (which is like another 16 games not played) and each game has two teams playing in it. 256 is correct… at least until the expand to 18 games.

  13. My pick is not based on who is the better QB or if Rice is better than Gore or if Ray Lewis will go out a winner. My pick is based soley on which Harbaugh is the bigger D-bag and then pick against him. Jim by a country mile, so with that.

    Go Ravens!

  14. loving the jealous steeler fans who post their hate filled garbage and cant offer any real analysis because they are wiping away their tears due to their beloved yellow and black being denied the playoffs. that being said looking forward to a very close competitive game between to very physical teams. congrats to the 49ers and their fans on an outstanding season and may the better team win on sunday. ravens 23 49ers 20. go ravens!!

  15. Not a fan of either team, but I think the 49ers will take it, because they’ll be able to control both lines of scrimmage.

  16. toolfan74 says:Jan 31, 2013 11:21 AM

    256 regular season games? 32 teams x 16 games=512. Am I missing something??
    ___________________________

    Yeah, you missed math class the day they introced you to algebra. LOL. Just messin with ya. It is a simple mistake, and of course everyone has some smart remark to make about it. Couldn’t help myself.

  17. My logic on the outcome of this game is simple. The Niners have had problems with physical Defenses this season. The Ravens are probably the most physical bunch in the League.

    And that Ravens Offense? The have really found something since Caldwell got them rolling late.

    I am thinking that all adds up to a Ravens win.

    Ravens – 31

    49ers – 21

  18. “And then I wish there could be ties in the Super Bowl.”

    I know you were joking, but if that actually happened in real life there would be riots. Like Canadian hockey-type riots.

  19. MY BOLD PREDICTION:

    Alex Smith comes off the bench late in the 4th quarter, to hurl a clipboard at Ray Lewis’s ankle, just long enough to distract him from making the game-saving tackle. Niners win by a moment brought to you by Office Depot.

  20. I think what the media keeps missing is how much better the NFC is than the AFC right now. Ravens got through the playoffs against the best of the AFC, to be sure, but that’s not even close to what they’re up against on Sunday. NFC will dominate for the 4th straight year

  21. toolfan74 says:
    Jan 31, 2013 11:21 AM
    256 regular season games? 32 teams x 16 games=512. Am I missing something??

    Yes. It takes 2 teams to play one game. Think about it.

  22. Looking at each positional group, there really isn’t an area where one team has a decided advantage over the other. I would give the Ravens’ special teams (excluding Andy Lee, one of the best punters in the league but Sam Koch is no slouch either) a slight edge, and I would give the Niners o-line a slight edge. Otherwise each group compared to the other is a wash for me. I am expecting a close game 26-24 with a 4th qtr FG from Tucker to give the Ravens the win. The fish-eyed fool himself Terrell Suggs shows up for the biggest game of his life with 3 sacks and a key forced fumble to earn co-MVP honors with Tuckers for his 4 FGs.

  23. Looking at each positional group, there really isn’t an area where one team has a decided advantage over the other. I would give the Ravens’ special teams (excluding Andy Lee, one of the best punters in the league but Sam Koch is no slouch either) a slight edge, and I would give the Niners o-line a slight edge. Otherwise each group compared to the other is a wash for me. I am expecting a close game 26-24 with a 4th qtr FG from Tucker to give the Ravens the win. The fish-eyed fool himself Terrell Suggs shows up for the biggest game of his life with 3 sacks and a key forced fumble to earn co-MVP honors with Tucker for his 4 FGs.

  24. People can talk about the Ravens beating Manning and Brady and it’s impressive, mostly.

    The problem is, Luck dropped 400 yards on them. Denver was overrated all year and if it wasn’t for bonehead mistakes by Denver late, they lose that game.

    The Ravens convincingly beat NE in Foxboro, but the Pats had them fine until the second half and let’s face it, the Niners beat Brady in Foxboro too.

    The other key for the Ravens postseason is that they faced a familiar foe in Manning and Brady. Not so with Kaepernick.

    I just don’t think beating the old guards of the AFC is an automatic qualifier of being “destined” to win this game.

    It just doesn’t work that way.

  25. This will be the first SB that will go into OT, mark my words. Both teams are matched up fairly even. This will be one sweet hell of a slug fest.

    Akers makes a 44 yarder FTW in OT

  26. 13arod says:
    Jan 31, 2013 2:52 PM
    my pick 10 7 49ers

    ———————–

    No chance the score is that low. That might be the score after the first quarter.

  27. Before the last game of the season, it seems like a good time to thank Florio and the gang for giving fans a good, clean place to keep up with all the teams, players, games and arrests.
    That being said, 9ers will win Sunday. Flacco will play like a summer shoe….flip/flop. He’s just too inconsistent. But I’m not saying he’s bad.

  28. toolfan74 says:
    Jan 31, 2013 11:21 AM
    256 regular season games? 32 teams x 16 games=512. Am I missing something??
    _________________________________

    Yes, you are

  29. Ravens 31, 49ers 17. The whiners should not even be here. A mentally weak Falcons team wilted at home. Kaepernick will throw 2 picks and the pistol offense will shoot blanks. If anything, Ravens fans should be more concern with whiner fans shooting them after the game.

  30. Florio likes to pick against the NINERS.. Guess what he’s always WRONG .. just like all you clowns picking against the 49ERS.. You will all have the feeling of disappointing emptiness Sunday night!! But atleast Ray Lewis was a great person.. Lol joke… GO NINERS!! This is our time!! Get it in men

  31. Except for the very first comment, it was a pleasure to read 50+ comments without the vile hatred that permeates so many posts when the Ravens are the topic. Thanks, fans from both sides for simply voicing football opinions and comments without all the hater bs.

    I’m biased but I have been confident for each of the three Ravens playoff games. John Harbaigh has coached five full seasons and during that time, the Ravens have played played in 7 (or 8) games following a bye week. They haven’t lost one yet and they won’t lose this one either. Ravens by 4.

  32. Broncos were not overrated… Broncos crushed the Ravens three weeks prior and were the best team in the NFL, they lost because of a fluke play. The best team doesn’t always win however (watch out for them next year). The Ravens are hot and The 49ers have a young QB who I think won’t be able to handle the pressure. I think it will be a close game with the Ravens winning by 3 with Alex Smith secretly celebrating in his head and Randy Moss wondering why the best receiver in the history of the NFL can’t win a Super Bowl. I’m not a Ravens fan by any means but they are hot and have a lot of emotion behind them like the Steelers and the bus had. It’s gonna be hard to beat them.

  33. I am going with Niners over the Ravens 19-4.

    Yeah I said 4.

    Vegas pays 5000-1 odds on a bet that a team will score exactly 4 points. Only way to do it is 2 safties.

    Better than betting the coin flip…

  34. uhhhhh, I don’t care how explosive Kaepernick is, this is the big game. At some point the game will be close or the niners will be behind. He will have an intercepted or tipped ball. Mr. Pollard will introduce himself on one of his runs and lay him out like a Pretzel. Suddenly the game will become to big. The Niners have not faced a Defense like the Ravens. Once everybody on the Niners offense got “shook” up … nobody will go over the middle anymore. The game will be over. Mr. Kaepernick will not win the SB in his 10th game ….

  35. ravgt says:Feb 1, 2013 10:19 AM

    Except for the very first comment, it was a pleasure to read 50+ comments without the vile hatred that permeates so many posts when the Ravens are the topic.
    ________

    That’s because toolfan74 distracted everybody, so the vile hatred was directed at him.

  36. This game has 49ers written all over it.
    The 2012 Ravens were fortunate to have split with a pretty bad Steelers team, winning the first meeting when Tomlin inexplicably stuck with a crippled Byron Leftwich before losing the second meeting when the Steelers unleashed hell known as Charlie Batch.
    Those two games cannot be ignored. Plus, this season’s Ravens team is nowhere near as good as last season’s Ravens team…
    49ers 30, Ravens 10.

  37. bobzilla….news flash…the steelers arent the benchmark other teams are judged against. no doubt the ravens were a struggling team when they played pitt. but if u have been watching the playoffs you would see a much better team on both sides of the ball. offense putting up 30 pts a game and defense stepping up all around. gonna be a great game. go ravens!!

  38. bobzilla1001 says:Feb 1, 2013 4:07 PM
    The 2012 Ravens were fortunate to have split with a pretty bad Steelers team, winning the first meeting when Tomlin inexplicably stuck with a crippled Byron Leftwich before losing the second meeting when the Steelers unleashed hell known as Charlie Batch.
    Those two games cannot be ignored. Plus, this season’s Ravens team is nowhere near as good as last season’s Ravens team…
    _________________________
    It’s a 16 game season and we split with the squealers when there were in the middle of a playoff run, until they sucked down the stretch. They lost to some terrible teams. In the meantime, Ravens recovered from a bad stretch, beat the Rookie of the year and the #1 andf #2 AFC seeds on the road under totally adverse conditions as ten point underdogs in each game. Pretty freakin’ incredible if you ask me. Ravens may not be as good as last year but they’re playing pretty good ball right now, they are in the Super Bowl and they are going to win Sunday imho.

  39. scoobies and ravgt:
    The Ravens were LUCKY to split with a Steelers team that had gotten off to a 2-3 start against the likes of the Titans and Raiders.
    The Steelers played the weakest schedule in the NFL in 2012 en route to an unimpressive 8-8 record.
    In other words, the Steelers were a pretty bad football team, probably even worse than their mediocre record; yet they could’ve easily have beaten the Ravens TWICE had Tomlin used his head and relieved Leftwich with Batch in the first meeting.
    Good luck to both of you. But I simply do not see this Super Bowl being even close.

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