Ray Lewis will play his last game in a Ravens jersey on the biggest stage of them all. What the Ravens have worked for over the years to get to this point is slowly paying off. With the 17-year future hall of famer looking for dominance as he goes out, he and his crew must be in vintage form to secure the franchise’s second Super Bowl trophy.
The Ravens face San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has had a historic playoff run for a player only entering his 10th career start this Sunday. While the Ravens have faced Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, Colin has a unique trait in running that the Ravens have not seen since December 9th against the Washington Redskins.
Lewis issued a statement during media day that the opponents playing the 49rs have not communicated the way they should. If that is the case and the Ravens carry that into the game, then it can make for an interesting contest for a team in the Ravens that have the best red zone defense so far in the playoffs.
So with taking the red zone defense into consideration, does the aspect of the 49ers running the ball equate to more points against a Ravens defense that has allowed over 400 yards total per game in the playoffs? Maybe. Maybe not. The Ravens defeated the Dallas Cowboys this season despite allowing over 200 yards on the ground.
The Ravens could very well allow over 200 rushing yards in this game and still win. Stopping Kaepernick could depend on hitting more than usual.
With a running game almost equal to New England’s passing game, first down and second down become the more critical downs of the game. Closing the gaps and making sure to stay disciplined from a defensive line perspective will both be key.
The other option for San Francisco is Pro Bowl Running Back Frank Gore. The Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game let Gore run while holding Kaepernick in check.
The ironic sense of this game from a Ray Lewis perspective is the idea that, before the season started Ray wanted to lose weight to get faster to keep up with passing offenses. But now, in his final game, in the Super Bowl, he is facing a physical offensive line that is arguably the best in football.
The Ravens will have to defeat the odds once again. They always have. And they will this Sunday.