With all of the hype and fiasco surrounding the “Harbowl,” folks everywhere are gearing up for what could be one of the better games in Super Bowl history.
It is uncanny how close this game could really be. Both offenses are capable of putting up at least 30 points, but the respective defenses could very easily pitch shutouts at any time. For most people it is easy to focus on the major story lines, (Harbaugh Brothers, Kaepernick and Smith, Ray Lewis Deer Antlers, etc.) but many tend to forget the all-important third facet of the game: Special Teams.
In a game as big as this one, special teams can play a huge outcome in the end.
Let’s start on the San Francisco side of things. Kicker David Akers has had the worst season that he could ever imagine. Hitting just 29 of his 42 Field Goals, he was averaging almost one missed FG per game. Things got so bad that Jim Harbaugh brought in Billy Cundiff in relief.
Let me say that again… Jim Harbaugh brought in Billy Cundiff in relief. Yikes, Akers.
Akers only hit 47 percent of his boots outside of 39 yards and in the Super Bowl, he could very easily be tested. Against a Raven defense has been the ultimate “bend but never break, the 14th-year kicker might have a shot to ruin things again.
Today in “Punters are People Too,” San Francisco has one of the best punters not only this year, but since the 1970 merger. Andy Lee is a tremendous asset to the 49ers and has been perfect. In this game however, could Lee’s big leg be beneficial to the Ravens?
We all know that Jacoby Jones is one of the best open field sprinters in the NFL. If Lee uses his big leg and kicks to a backtracking Jones, this could actually be great for the Ravens. He likes to take a second and see what is developing in the first place; if he can get even more time, Jones might be able to break one off. He might not get a chance to receive a kickoff due to Akers kicking in the dome, but watch out for the big play ability of Jacoby Jones!
Justin “Dr. Pepper” Tucker could be another deciding factor the Ravens. Yes, I know that kickers have been scary for Baltimore in the playoffs, but Tucker isn’t your average kicker. Missing just three field goals all season, you should have as much trust in Tucker as you did in Matt Stover!