1. Colin Kaepernick will have a solid day, throwing for over 200 yards and rushing for over 100.
It’s no secret that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a dynamic athlete that is capable of big plays through the air and on the ground. Since he has earned the starting job over backup quarterback Alex Smith, no one has been a more prolific passer in terms of deep passes than Kaepernick. During his stint as the starter, Kaepernick has a 54.9 completion percentage on passes of 20 yards or more. This is quite the contrast from what the 49ers were last year as an offense. Last season, they were more conservative and relied on playing mistake-free football, rely on their ground-and-pound style featuring Frank Gore and throw the occasional deep ball to Vernon Davis.
With Kaepernick in at quarterback, they obviously have a much more dynamic and exciting running game that still features Gore, but primarily runs through Kaepernick– the pistol option quarterback. His throwing ability has also resulted in the emergence of wide receiver Michael Crabtree as he is playing like a top 10 receiver. This offense will be productive simply because of the scheme and the athletic ability of the 49ers playmakers, regardless of what the Ravens do to try and stop the pistol.
2. Joe Flacco will continue his postseason success and toss three touchdowns against the highly regarded 49ers defense.
114.7 quarterback rating. Eight touchdowns. Zero interceptions.
These are Joe Flacco’s numbers this postseason. He is up there with the likes of Montana, Young, Brees in terms of his postseason numbers. Joe Flacco has been the reason why the Ravens are where they are on the field. Yes, I understand the emotional lift that Ray Lewis has given this team, but Flacco has been the main reason this team is playing for the Super Bowl title in New Orleans. Flacco has elevated his game to… “elite” status. Yes, I hate using that.
One of the most noticeable differences in Flacco’s game this postseason has been the addition of Jim Caldwell as the offensive coordinator. Clearly, he and Flacco have a much better chemistry and relationship than Joe had with Cam Cameron, who was fired with three weeks left in the regular season. Caldwell has found a way to maximize Flacco’s potential, giving him plays that showcase his decision making and strong arm. He’s primarily been throwing balls to his right and that’s where he shines– see the Jacoby Jones touchdown against the Broncos.
The Ravens can continue to use the seams against the 49ers as Willis and Bowman have struggled stopping tight ends and receivers coming over the middle on slants and posts. If they stay on the gas pedal early and often, expect big days from Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta and Flacco once again.
3. Ray Lewis will have double digit tackles once again and finish the postseason and his career strong.
Let’s be honest, Ray is clearly not made like the rest of us (insert deer antler joke here).
Ray has come back to this team and been the best defensive player on the field each time he’s crossed the white lines. He hasn’t missed a single down of defense. He has played with an arm brace that makes him look like a transformer. A facemask that makes him look like Bane.
Regardless of his appearance, Ray has found a way to lead the postseason in total tackles — 44 in three postseason games. He is displaying incredible field awareness and a nose for the football not typical of a 37-year-old linebacker.
This will be Ray’s final game unless he decides to go Brett Favre on us. Let’s get real, he will play the game of his life with whatever is left in the tank.
4. Jacoby Jones will do a “Super” dance in his hometown as he will return a punt for a touchdown.
It’s his hometown and Ravens wide receiver and kick return specialist Jacoby Jones told me in the locker room last week that he has a “Super” dance planned for his folks. Obviously, talk is cheap and it’s just a matter of performing and actually backing up the talk with a result on the field.
This is the game where Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg may look to dial up a more creative scheme to get Jones in space on kick and punt returns. No one knows John Harbaugh better than his brother 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. They share schemes throughout the season and give each other tips for how they can improve on each facet of the game. John’s specialty is special teams, as he was a long-time coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles prior to his stint in Baltimore.
Look for Jacoby Jones to do his best Jermaine Lewis impersonation and score a touchdown on the biggest stage. Enjoy The Choppa City Juke.
5. The Ravens’ magical run will end in triumph as the Ravens defeat the 49ers 31-21.
Both of these offenses are going to put up points which is not something these franchises are used to seeing in recent memory. Kaepernick’s athleticism and the pistol offense are enough to scare any defensive coordinator and keep them up through the night. However, Flacco will outplay the young quarterback, who will be making just his 10th start ever. Ray Lewis and the Ravens will finish this magical run and capture the franchise’s second Super Bowl.