Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (52) reacts after the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens defeated the Patriots 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Final Countdown to Super Bowl 2013: Ranking the Baltimore Ravens & San Francisco 49ers

It’s the final countdown to Super Bowl Sunday where two of the league’s best compete for a chance to hoist the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. The two teams in this year’s Super Bowl are competitive, strong, and hungry for the chance to call themselves the champions. The San Francisco 49ers are looking to add a 6th ring since their last championship win in 1995 against the Dallas Cowboys. The Baltimore Ravens are looking to add their 2nd ring since 2001’s win against the New York Giants.

Honestly, if you were to ask me who would be representing their division in Super Bowl 2013, the last two teams in my mind would be the Ravens and the 49ers. With San Francisco struggling so long with their starting quarterback situation and the Baltimore Raven’s missing their key linebacker, Ray Lewis, for most of the season due to injury, this was the reason for my raised eyebrow. Still, they have managed to work their way to the crème de la crème of games, each with their own story and legacy.

Even though it has been a few weeks since the Denver Broncos’ heartbreaking loss to the Ravens, I am still a little raw. However, when Baltimore defeated the New England Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl, I was comforted in the fact that the team that took us out at least advanced to the Super Bowl. Looking on the bright side, if the Baltimore Ravens win this Sunday, I can at least say that the only team to stop the Broncos was the Super Bowl champions. My hopes are purely off emotion, but emotion only gets one so far before the facts have to play a role as well.

As I am torn on who will be the victor Sunday, I thought it would be interesting to compare the overall rankings from both the regular season and postseason for these two teams. In analyzing the teams, I looked at offensive, defensive, passing, and rushing yards. Some rankings are not surprising. Others will be interesting to watch how the team develops against each opponent.

REGULAR SEASON RANKINGS

Total Offense:

  • 11th–San Francisco 49ers
  • 16th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Defense:

  • 3rd–San Francisco 49ers
  • 17th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Offensive Passing:

  • 15th–Baltimore Ravens
  • 23rd–San Francisco 49ers

Total Defensive Passing:

  • 4th–San Francisco 49ers
  • 17th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Offensive Rushing:

  • 4th–San Francisco 49ers
  • 11th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Defensive Rushing:

  • 4th–San Francisco 49ers
  • 20th–Baltimore Ravens

Among the 6 areas and where each team ranked, San Francisco averaged 8th, Baltimore’s average ranking was 16th. Overall, not too impressive, but this is regular season football in comparison with 32 other teams. All that counts are wins and it was enough for each team to advance to the playoffs and succeed. Overall, offense and offensive passing yards, neither team is very impressive and there are some things to work on for both teams. Let’s see how they did in the postseason rankings.

POSTSEASON RANKINGS

Total Offense:

  • 1st–San Francisco 49ers
  • 5th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Defense:

  • 6th–San Francisco 49ers
  • 7th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Offensive Passing:

  • 4th–Baltimore Ravens
  • 9th–San Francisco 49ers

Total Defensive Passing:

  • 9th–Baltimore Ravens
  • 11th–San Francisco 49ers

Total Offensive Rushing:

  • 1st–San Francisco 49ers
  • 5th–Baltimore Ravens

Total Defensive Rushing:

  • 2nd–San Francisco 49ers
  • 5th–Baltimore Ravens

From this snapshot, San Francisco’s overall average ranking is 5th out of 12, and what really hurt them was their offensive and defensive passing rankings at 9th (O) and 11th (D). Baltimore’s overall average ranking was also 5th, almost 6th (5.83 to be exact). In comparing the postseason on offensive passing, Baltimore ranked 4th of 12 over San Francisco’s 9th of 12. That being said, on defensive passing San Francisco ranked 11th out of 12, Baltimore ranked 9th out of 12.

Both these team’s postseason averages are too close to call (only off by a small margin), but I would say that they are an even match for Sunday. San Francisco’s main weapons in Frank Gore and Vernon Davis will have their work cut out for them against Baltimore’s lethal linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. If San Francisco plans to rush yards against the bad boys of Baltimore, they need to act quick to find an open lane and push hard for a down conversion and/or touchdown. (Hey diddle diddle, send.. Frank Gore up the middle?.. nah, just doesn’t sound the same). If San Francisco cannot convert the 3rd down, they need to be close enough to let kicker David Akers pick up the slack and get as many points on the board as possible.

I think this will be a close scoring game for a good majority of the day, but I want it to be by at the bare minimum 7 points to the winning team. *insert playful sarcasm here* I don’t know why, but a team winning by only a field goal would rub me a little raw. I cannot make any predictions as I know as well as any fan that Super Bowl football is a whole different animal than regular season or postseason football. Almost 18 years to the day (1/29/1995) since San Francisco’s last championship win, they are hungry for another. With the retirement of titan Ray Lewis, what better way to go out with a bang than a Super Bowl win? Both teams have something to fight for and it will be a nail-bitter for Ravens and 49ers fans.

Whoever you decide to root for, rest assured that this will be an epic game on Sunday.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens San Francisco 49ers Superbowl 2013

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