Super Bowl XLVII is going to be very exciting. With the San Francisco 49ers facing off against the Baltimore Ravens, the term “Harbowl” has really taken over the spotlight of the whole event, and rightfully so. It will be great to watch Jim Harbaugh coach his 49ers up against the Ravens who are led by his brother, John Harbaugh.
But perhaps the most obvious observation is that this year’s main event will be spearheaded by two teams with extraordinary defenses. But the question is, who has the advantage?
The San Francisco 49ers have an absolutely dominate defense, and you’d be a fool to deny it. Led by star linebackers NaVarro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the 49ers are so physical and relentless, especially when it comes to stopping the run. But that’s not all.
San Francisco also has guys like Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Donte Whitner, and Dashon Goldson that can all dominate their match-up. Goldson and Whitner are arguably the hardest hitting duo of safeties in the league, and the two Smith’s are some on the best pass rushers the NFL has to offer. Aldon Smith came just shy of breaking Michael Strahan’s sack record, but he was still able to win the NFC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
But then if you take a step back and look at the other side of the equation, you’re still pretty amazed.
The Baltimore Ravens’ defense might be getting old, but they are still very effective and efficient. The veteran leadership that Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed all bring to the table is invaluable. And then you also have players like Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, and Haloti Ngata who are just flat-out studs on the football field.
And you just know that the Ravens, especially their defensive core, is extremely motivated to win Super Bowl 47. You know why? Because it will be their leader’s last game played in the NFL.
That’s right, Ray Lewis announced earlier in the season that this will be his “last ride” and it shocked just about every sports fan in the world. Sure, Lewis is in his 17th year in the league and approaching 40 years of age, but fans just don’t want to see him go. And you can bet that the Ravens will be playing that much harder so that their emotional leader can walk away from the game on a positive note.
It wouldn’t be a sports debate without some statistics, so let’s bring some of those in.
During the 2012-2013 NFL regular season, the 49ers allowed just 17.1 points per game, which was good for second-best in the league (Seattle was #1, allowing just 15.3 PPG).
The Baltimore Ravens? Well they were tied with the New York Giants for the #12 spot, as they allowed 21.5 PPG. The 49ers win in that category, but not by too much.
The 49ers’ dominance is more evident when you look at a different stat, rushing yards allowed per game. The 49ers only allowed 94.2 rushing YPG, which ranked for fourth-best in the league.
The Baltimore Ravens…well they ranked twentieth in that category, as they allowed 122.8 rushing YPG.
Even in another defensive category, passing yards per game, the 49ers still win by a good amount. The 49ers ranked fourth in the league with only 200.2 passing YPG allowed, while the Ravens allowed 228.1, which was good for seventeenth-best in the league.
See the difference?
Both teams have great defenses, but I believe that the 49ers have the clear advantage. Their group of young and exciting guys is just more physical and explosive than the defense of the Ravens.
What do you think? Leave your comments down below.