By Eric Stashin
Super Bowl XLVII is arguably one of the most even matchups in recent memory. While there are a lot of things that could ultimately decide the winner, what are the most likely things that could tip the scales in the Baltimore Ravens‘ direction?
Let’s look at the top three reasons why the Ravens could take home the Lombardi Trophy later tonight:
3. The Kicking Game
It was a mild surprise that the 49ers didn’t replace David Akers after the NFC Championship Game. Once one of the most reliable kickers in the league, Akers has been an utter disaster this season. He went 29 for 42 this season (69.0 percent) and is just 1 for 2 in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Ravens rookie Justin Tucker went 30 for 33 (90.9 percent) and is a perfect 2 for 2 in the playoffs. If it comes down to a field goal, you have to like the Ravens chances at this point.
2. The Ray Lewis Effect
Let’s not underestimate this story. Lewis is one the best defensive players of his generation and is the unquestioned inspirational leader of the Ravens. With this being the last game of his storied career, you know that will motivate him and his defensive teammates even more.
Despite his off the field issues, there is no questioning his impact on the Ravens’ defense. We will have to see if it is enough to slow down Colin Kaepernick and company, but there is a good chance that it is.
1. Joe Flacco and The Offensive Line
Flacco has had a near perfect postseason, throwing for 853 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. While the performance has been impressive, even more important is the fact that he has been sacked just four times in three games.
If the offensive line can continue to keep him upright, and Flacco can continue breaking down defenses with surgical precision, the Ravens will have a very good chance of winning this game. That’s a lot to ask against the San Francisco defense, but it’s what the team needs to happen if they want to win.
What are your thoughts? What do you think the Ravens need to happen to win tonight?
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