It doesn't feel like it was 12 months ago that we were all preparing for a Giants/Patriots Super Bowl, but here we are just a short countdown away to Super Bowl XLVII with last year's conference champion losing teams from last year's playoffs. The 49ers and Ravens were teams that probably should have played each other last year in the Super Bowl if not for a couple of colossal meltdowns by 49ers WR/PR Kyle Williams and Ravens K Billy Cundiff who both completely blew their teams chance of winning their respective championship games.
Nonetheless, the teams got it together and gave us the Harbaugh Bowl we all thought we were going to see in Super Bowl XLVI. It's a rematch of the 2011 Thanksgiving Day game the Ravens won 16-6 in Baltimore. It was a defensive struggle for both teams, but the Alex Smith lead offense just couldn't finish off drives. What goes unremembered was a 75 yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. that was called back by a highly questionable illegal chop-block call that would have given the 49ers the lead early in the game. Despite the teams playing in that game last year, both are considerably different than they were when they played that short time ago.
With the final game of the 2012 season, it was another very successful year for The Sports Savant and my NFL picks. I'm proud to have finished well above .500 picking every NFL game against the spread getting 52% of the spread picks correct with only the Super Bowl left to play. I came up short of last year's monster record of 180-87 which was good for a 67.4% rate of success(which lead the nation of NFL experts) but with a winning prediction in this year's Super Bowl I will still finish the season with a solid 174-92-1 record. That would be good for a 65.2% success rate to reach my personal standard of finishing better than 65%. To top off a nice year, I was very successful against the over/under, picking the winner at a 54% success rate.
Before we look at my player stat predictions and pick SUPER BOWL XLVII, let's take a look at how last weeks picks shaped up and my overall record for the 2012 NFL regular season and postseason...
*Conference Championship Round RESULTS*
[Week 12]: San Francisco [Week 13]:Chicago, Houston [Week 14]: Detroit [Week 15]: Miami
[Week 16]: Jacksonville, Washington [Week 17]:Cincinnati, St. Louis
[Wildcard Round]:Green Bay
Before I give you my SUPER BOWL XLVII score and player stat predictions, here is a look at the last 2 years of Super Bowl predictions I have made since the inception of The Sports Savant's Sports Blog. This was my prediction and results of the 2011 Super Bowl...
Since I did so well on predicting the game score and individual statistics of the QB's in the 2011 game, I took on a prediction for last year's Super Bowl score and more individual player predictions and even I was impressed with how extremely accurate I was in my prognostications. Here were my Super Bowl Predictions and the results in 2012...
New England Patriots
Prediction : Tom Brady - 28/42(66.7%) 282 yards 2 TD's 1 INT 1 Fumble
-->Result: Tom Brady - 27/41(65.9%) 276 yards 2 TD's 1 INT
Prediction : BenJarvus Green-Ellis - 12 carries 68 yards/rushing 1 TD 2 receptions 14 yards/receiving
-->Result: BenJarvus Green-Ellis - 10 carries 44 yards/rushing 0 TD 2 receptions 15 yards/receiving
Prediction : Aaron Hernandez - 5 receptions 58 yards 1 TD
-->Result: Aaron Hernandez - 8 receptions 67 yards 1 TD
Prediction : Wes Welker - 8 receptions 96 yards
-->Result: Wes Welker - 7 receptions 60 yards
Prediction : Rob Gronkowski - 4 receptions 21 yards
-->Result: Rob Gronkowski - 2 receptions 26 yards
Prediction : Deion Branch - 3 receptions 16 yards 1 TD
-->Result: Deion Branch - 3 receptions 45 yards 0 TD
New York Giants
Prediction : Eli Manning - 23/34(67.6%) 337 yards 2 TD's 0 INT
-->Result: Eli Manning - 30/40(75.0%) 296 yards 1 TD 0 INT
Prediction : Ahmad Bradshaw - 19 carries 92 yards/rushing 1 TD 4 receptions 54 yards/receiving
-->Result: Ahmad Bradshaw - 17 carries 72 yards/rushing 1 TD 2 receptions 19 yards/receiving
Prediction: Brandon Jacobs - 6 carries 31 yards/rushing
-->Result: Brandon Jacobs - 9 carries 37 yards/rushing
Prediction : Hakeem Nicks - 5 receptions 114 yards 1 TD
-->Result: Hakeem Nicks - 10 receptions 109 yards 0 TD
Prediction : Victor Cruz - 8 receptions 124 yards 1 TD
-->Result: Victor Cruz - 4 receptions 25 yards 1 TD
Prediction : Mario Manningham - 3 receptions 28 yards
-->Result: Mario Manningham - 5 receptions 73 yards
Prediction : Jake Ballard - 4 receptions 39 yards
-->Result: Jake Ballard - 2 receptions 10 yards
THE SPORTS SAVANT'S SUPER BOWL MATCHUP ANALYSIS:
The 49ers and Ravens defenses are considerably the same as they were last year. Most of the impact starters on defense are as they were in 2011, but it's the offenses that have changed. The well documented story is the takeover of the 49ers starting QB position by Colin Kaepernick. Alex Smith was forced to leave a game versus St. Louis with a concussion half way through the season and subsequently missed the next couple of weeks in which Kaepernick ran with the job and never gave it back. He has since had the highest QB rating from his first career start through last week's Conference Championship game.
Where the Ravens made their big move was when they fired offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, and replaced him with former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach and OC(from the Peyton glory days), Jim Caldwell, who brought a new offensive strategy to the team. His new system is what has helped transform Joe Flacco from a QB that had the two lowest single game Total QBR ratings since the statistic's inception in 2008, to the guy who has 8 TDs and 0 INT in the playoffs. The genius in what Caldwell has done with Flacco is that he has improved his effectiveness in deep pass plays with his power run scheme he calls with their elite RB, Ray Rice. The Ravens love the play-action deep ball and have used it a lot in this postseason with great success.
Where the 49ers defense is well suited for Jim Caldwell's offense is they have the dominant defensive line necessary to get pressure on the QB with just a four-man rush. This leaves the linebackers free to roam the intermediate routes in zone and cover the flats for a check down to the RB or TE. The domino effect of that is that the 49ers ball-hawking safeties can get deeper on routes and not have to worry about covering up routes in the intermediate. The 49ers four-man pass rush will mean everything for how well the 49ers can neutralize Joe Flacco and Jim Caldwell's deep passing attack.
The real key to the Super Bowl will be the 49ers offensive line against the Ravens defense. This 49ers OL is one of the most dominant in the NFL and will be the most physical the Ravens have faced the entire season. The 49ers can stonewall any defensive line in the NFL with their enormous line that weighs in at 1,994 combined pounds. For all of the focus that the media and Ravens have put on Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore will be the guy who has the biggest day for the 49ers. The 49er line has been creating gaps so large in defenses of late, Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick are getting 5-10 yards down field before they are even touched. We've seen how the Ravens can be susceptible to the run this year against teams that can create seals for talented running backs. The Ravens gave up 4.0 yards per carry and was ranked 20th against the run in 2012. The 49ers dominant offensive line versus the aging Raven defense will be the reason the 49ers get the edge they will need to come out of Super Bowl XLVII as champions.
And now the predictions you've waited for all year, The Sports Savant's Super Bowl - Super Game Score and Player Statistic Predictions...
Baltimore v. San Francisco(-4) (o/u 47.5)
Savant Spread Pick: San Francisco and the points to win ~ 31-24
Over/Under Pick: Over
Baltimore Ravens - Player Statistics Predictions
QB Prediction : Joe Flacco - 21/34(61.7%) 247 yards 1 TD 1 INT
RB Prediction : Ray Rice - 19 carries 86 yards 2 TD - 4 receptions 36 yards
TE Prediction : Dennis Pitta - 3 receptions 38 yards 1 TD
WR Prediction : Anquan Boldin - 7 receptions 78 yards
WR Prediction : Torrey Smith - 4 receptions 54 yards
WR Prediction : Jacoby Jones - 3 receptions 27 yards
K Prediction : Justin Tucker - 1/1 FG 49 yards
San Francisco 49ers - Player Statistics Predictions
QB Prediction : Colin Kaepernick - 18/26(69.2%) 259 yards 2 TD 0 INT - 7 carries 47 yards 1 TD
RB Prediction : Frank Gore - 16 carries 92 yards 1 TD - 1 receptions 11 yards
RB Prediction : Kendall Hunter - 6 carries 41 yards - 2 receptions 18 yards
TE Prediction: Vernon Davis - 3 receptions 47 yards
TE Prediction: Delanie Walker - 2 receptions 21 yards
WR Prediction : Michael Crabtree - 7 receptions 101 yards 1 TD
WR Prediction : Randy Moss - 3 receptions 61 yards 1 TD
K Prediction : David Akers - 1/1 FG 41 yards
Thanks for visiting therealsportssavant.blogspot.com to check my game picks all season long and don't forget to check my picks every week of every NFL season on here and on lastwordonsports.com at The Sports Savant channel!