Let’s take a look at some things you should be keeping an eye on heading into Super Bow 47:
1. Will the 49ers continue to exploit defenses with the “pistol offense?”
When this San Francisco 49ers team is often described or thought of we immediately tout their great defense and rightfully so. But the “x-factor” that has really helped carry this team in recent months has been their offense and most notably Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I guarantee you the phrase “pistol offense” will be beaten into your brain by the end of Super Bowl weekend due in-part to how many times you actually hear it and how good it has been for San Francisco’s run towards Super Bowl 47.
The “pistol offense” has done a great job exploiting and getting defenses off-balance as the game progresses. The beauty of this is once the 49ers offense sees “blood in the water” with their opponent’s off-balance defense it then is “off to the races” for San Francisco. With that said it will be a hard task for the 49ers to exploit such a veteran defense like Baltimore and they have struggled against good defenses (Seattle immediately comes to mind) when trying to get them off-balance. Should San Francisco strike early with the “pistol offense” I believe it will then become a long day for the Ravens defense.
2. How will Baltimore’s offensive line handle San Francisco’s defensive line?
To me, this is the most important matchup of Super Bowl 47. The outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl will be decided by the ability of Baltimore’s offensive line in protecting Joe Flacco from the extremely good San Francisco 49ers defensive line. Throughout the playoffs the Ravens offensive line has been able to give Joe Flacco the time needed to have postseason performances for the ages, but there is one game left for the O-line that they need that trend to continue and it’s the most important game of their careers on Sunday.
This is the “battle in the trenches” everyone will be talking about leading up to Super Bowl 47 and I believe will be the eventual deciding factor in the game. If the Ravens offensive line can protect Flacco from the aggressive 49ers defensive line and give him enough time in the pocket then the Ravens will be successful on Sunday. If the 49ers can get to Flacco and get to him early on in the game, then it will be an uphill battle all day long for Baltimore.
3. Can Colin Kaepernick become a household name on Sunday?
We all know a star when we see one. In 2001 there was a growing feeling that this kid named “Tom Brady” had the ability to really be a star in the National Football League. In 2011 there was a guy who once became a “pity story” at a NFL Draft named “Aaron Rodgers” that was finally coming into his own as well. As we approach Super Bowl 47 this Sunday that feeling is growing yet again with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
But what Brady and Rodgers have in common that Colin Kaepernick does not (for now) have is a Super Bowl ring. Winning the Super Bowl was defining moments in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers careers to take them into that “household name” level, now Colin Kaepernick is looking to join that club as well. We all know Kaepernick is on the doorstep to being a star, our “Football fan intuition” is telling us that, but he needs to be holding up the Vince Lombardi trophy at the end of Super Bowl 47 to become that “household name.”
4. Will Joe Flacco be ready to take the “next step” in his NFL career?
Make your jokes and have you strong opinions about him but I believe Joe Flacco is on the “doorstep” of entering the class of top quarterbacks in the NFL. Joe Flacco is very reminiscent of Eli Manning’s journey to Super Bowl 42 in that Manning was often disrespected and not considered a franchise quarterback despite his own belief in himself. Fast forward five Super Bowl’s later and we are dealing with a similar instance once again in that the public belief of Joe Flacco is that he is not a top NFL quarterback.
What has Eli Manning done since Super Bowl 42? Simply put Eli has proven us all wrong that he is a franchise quarterback and one of the best in the game today. We measure greatness in the NFL, especially with quarterbacks, by Super Bowl rings. If Joe Flacco achieves that ultimate goal on Sunday shouldn’t we open that door to the next echelon of NFL quarterbacks?
I believe so.
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