Whether it's Ray Lewis' last ride, Joe Flacco's sudden emergence on the national scene or the public's money flowing into Las Vegas in support of the team, there are a lot of football fans out there who believe the Baltimore Ravens will win Super Bowl XXVLII on Sunday.
Well guess what? They're wrong.
Yes, the Ravens have had a very entertaining run, and I personally think John is the superior Harbaugh to Jim, but the San Francisco 49ers have simply hit a groove that won't be stopped. And come on, the Ravens were just complaining that their practice turf was too hard...
The obvious explaination for why the 49ers will win is quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The University of Nevada alumnus is on a Tom Brady-like quest, taking over the reins from the not-so-stellar starting QB to lead his team to the Super Bowl. And if World Championship Wrestling taught us anything, it's not to turn your back on the Wolfpack.
Obscure 1990s pro wrestling reference aside, Kaepernick has looked unstoppable this postseason. If he's not torching defenses with his arm, he's doing it with his legs. If he's not doing it with his legs, you get the idea. He has led his team in both a blowout and come-from-behind victory in the past few weeks, which is the exact kind of balance you want going into the biggest game of the year.
Right now, Kaepernick is carrying around the appearance that he's unstoppable, which doesn't happen very often in today's NFL. He may not be perfect from a technical standpoint or as experienced as Flacco, but the guy simply makes plays. When you're in the Super Bowl, that's all you need to worry about.
It's hard to say which one caused the other, but Kaepernick's supporting cast is also as good as it has been in years. Tight end Vernon Davis remains the freak he's always been, while receiver Michael Crabtree is finally living up to the hype from his college days.
Having a solid running game certainly doesn't hurt a team's chances either. With Frank Gore leading the charge, and who can forget the up-and-coming LaMichael James (Dustin certainly can't — Ducks fly together), the 49ers' run game is at least solid enough to distract defenses long enough for Kaepernick to bust off a big play. And while we're talking about a run game, we certainly have to mention Kaepernick and his 202 rushing yards in two games during the playoffs.
Moving to the other side of the ball, this game certainly offers up a great defensive matchup for the true football nerds out there. San Francisco boasted the league's third-best defense during the regular season, while the Ravens ended up at 17 due to a slew of injuries. Still, both defenses are more than capable of changing a game with just one play.
Getting more specific, the matchup of linebackers vs. running back really favors the 49ers. Ray Rice is one of the most versatile backs in the league, but he'll be going up against the likes of linebackers NaVarro Bowman (second in the leagues in tackles with 149) and Patrick Willis (a physical speciman with 120 tackles).
Because of that matchup, I wouldn't expect any poets out in Baltimore to be reciting "Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle" very often on Sunday.
Simply put, If Kaepernick is as difficult to stop on the field as his name is to type on a keyboard, the 49ers should easily roll to a victory on Sunday. Although I will slightly be pulling for Ray Lewis since I borrow his pre-game dance at weddings and other social situations that require dancing, I still feel that San Francisco has this game locked down.