Sports What's Hot — 01 February 2013
Jason Leskiw
Managing editor

Super Bowl 47 marks the first time that the Bay Area’s red and gold will play in the biggest game of the year since 1996.  All of the earmarks of the past five teams throughout the 49ers’ history or Omni-present and with arguably the most explosive quarterback in franchise history.

February 3 is sure to be an exciting battle between two of the best defenses that have ever played in the big game, and the only time that two brothers have coached a game against each other.  It also marks the last time Ravens MLB Ray Lewis will take the field in pads, and what is more than likely Alex Smith’s last time wearing the 49ers uniform.

During the first Har-bowl, Baltimore reigned supreme with a 16-6 victory and essentially won the game by applying maximum pressure on Smith.  Second year QB Colin Kaepernick supplies Raven’s coach John Harbaugh, and any other opposing team moving forward, with quite a quandary.

An arm like the thrusters of a fighter jet and legs that can out-run most cornerbacks back up 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to displace Smith, who was first in the NFL in completion percentage and third in passer rating.  For the 49ers faithful, Kaepernick is a god-send, a hero and someone that should keep the stands of the new Santa Clara stadium filled for years to come.

In the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Kaepernick stands a solid chance at leading his team to their sixth Super Bowl win in as many trips.  The key for the 49ers will be to find just enough separation in their passing game to create the opportunity for Michael Crabtree and company to make plays after the catch.

Forget the deep pass, the game won’t be decided in the 49ers favor by a 70 yard bomb.  It’ll be those inside slants and receiver screen passes that helped Joe Montana and Steve Young to their Lombardi trophies.  Running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James should also see a collective 30-40 touches as the 49ers west coast offense relies heavily on a successful run game.

Oh, and don’t sleep on Delanie Walker.  He’s been one of the most underrated tight ends in the NFL, and on the 49ers for years now.  He’s the go-to-guy for Kaepernick when running lanes are closed and coverage is tight.  Walker will always find a way to get open.

Baltimore knows all this, so don’t be surprised when the 49ers run a few trick plays.  After all, it is the Super Bowl if you happened to forget.

The Raven’s offense will be more aggressive down the field and could be vulnerable as long as Aldon Smith and Justin Smith are able to maintain the pass-rush, along with Navarro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks.

All in all, the game should be close.  Both teams are incredibly explosive on both sides of the ball and this could turn into one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.  Nevermind the spectacle of two brothers dueling in the same game and two of the best middle-linebackers in history throwing their dukes up.

That said, the 49ers are favored and should be.

Statistics show they are the superior team, with a more dynamic offense and the better defense.  Vegas oddsmakers have them winning by four points, which is fair.  Like any big game, this will be near-impossible to call accurately, but there’s no doubting that the points made above will be in total effect as the local boys make their final appearance of the 2012-2013 season

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We are the award-winning student newspaper of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif.

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