The national media and all of the so-called experts just don’t get it do they? I don’t even know why I bother to watch that garbage. The Ravens may as well catch an early flight home.
These talking heads get so absorbed in the flavor of the month that you would think that Colin Kaepernick has the arm of John Elway, the speed of Michael Vick, the release of Dan Marino and the ability to read defenses like Peyton Manning all rolled up into one player with 9 starts on his resume.
Well sit back for the next 3 minutes and I will tell you why the Ravens are going to win this game by double digits and shut these guys up once and for all.
1) The Ravens have experienced the Niners form of offense before when they encountered RGIII in December. They’ve also had two weeks to prepare for Kaepernick. The read and react approach many teams have taken against Kaepernick will not be embraced by defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ unit. They will attack the Niners QB and force him to make quick decisions.
2) If forced to make quick decisions, Kaepernick could make mistakes. He’s used to throwing to his first read and if it isn’t there, he’ll pull it down and try and make plays with his feet. Combine a hurried pace, with Kaepernick ¾ delivery style and the Ravens propensity to bat passes at the line of scrimmage and it isn’t too hard to envision a momentum changing turnover.
3) The St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks did a nice job against Kaepernick mixing coverages and dropping linemen into zones. Look for the Ravens to do more of the same. Forcing Kaepernick to hold the ball a little longer can invite mistakes particularly if he locks in on receivers during those moments of confusion. It’s at those times when Ed Reed could be very dangerous.
4) The Ravens will use the pass to set up the run. Expect the Ravens offense to look a lot more like the one in the second half in New England than the conservative one we watched in the first half.
5) The 49ers will try and take away the big play and they’ll need to given the shaky play of their secondary as of late. They will also try and take away Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. This will leave the intermediate passing game open and that area of the field will become a playground for Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Ray Rice.
6) During the Thanksgiving Night game in 2011, the Ravens sacked Alex Smith 9 times and Joe Flacco was not sacked once. That’s domination at the line of scrimmage. The personnel hasn’t changed much. Only Alex Boone is new to the starting offensive line. Haloti Ngata had a big game against the Niners that night and more of the same could present a huge problem for the Pistol offense.
7) The Ravens red zone offense has been on fire, scoring touchdowns on each of their last 8 trips inside the 20. The 49ers have struggled defending the red zone and bring a seasonal ranking of 28 into the game.
8.) Experience over youth…while it could be argued that the 49ers are more talented than the Ravens they are inexperienced and the purposeful Ravens who have weathered adversity as well as any team in recent years are stronger and healthier than they’ve been all season and the defense has been very stout in the red zone. If the Ravens can prevent the explosives plays their bullishness inside the 20 matched up against the Niners relative ineffectiveness in the red paint (21st rank) favors the Ravens.
MAGIC 8 BALL PREDICTION: Ravens 30, 49ers 17