We've covered the Harbaugh brother story line. We've given you a bar for every type of fan to drink the nerves away. And now we give you five reasons to be a nervous wreck about the Super Bowl, and five reasons to be cocksure and worry-free.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first.
1. It's the Super Bowl!
Nothing in everyday life can compare to the nerves of playing for a professional sports title. The Ravens are an older, more playoff-hardened team, which always helps in the highest pressure moments.
2. Ray Lewis
Arguably the greatest, and definitely the most terrifying, linebacker in NFL history, Lewis is playing the final game in an illustrious career. The rest of the Ravens will try to carry him into the sunset with another ring.
3. The Deep Ball
Baltimore QB Joe Flacco isn't an elite passer, but he throws a good deep ball and has a very strong, fast receiving corps on the other end. We saw them burn the Broncos late in their AFC Divisional playoff win, and they utilized it again to beat the New England Patriots two weeks ago. If the 49ers defense has a weakness, it's in the secondary. Hopefully the long bombs don't expose them and put the Ravens on the board quickly.
4. The Puppies Are Against Us
On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon this week, he had five puppies race to food bowls on stage that were marked either "49ers" or "Ravens". Unfortunately, the Baltimore bowl attacted more pups, meaning they will win the Super Bowl. Here's to hoping the puppies are not psychic.
5. Not Your Average Opposing Coach
We know that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh usually grabs the headlines, but it's big brother and Ravens coach John who has been in more playoff games. He also won the only other head-to-head game between the bros (16-6 on Thanksgiving in 2011). John knows Jim's mindset better than anyone else, and might be able to exploit the game plan in his favor.
All this being said, the 49ers are favored to win the game. And rightfully so, as they have amassed the most yardage per game on offense in this postseason. They also boast the third-best defense in the NFL. Let's change the mood, and discuss five reasons for 49ers fans to feel good heading into Super Bowl XLVII.
1. Kaepernick is on Fire
As if I had to remind you. The second-year starter has taken the reigns in the postseason and made a fool of both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Even though the Ravens will have the best defense the 49ers have seen since the regular season, Baltimore is still in the middle of the pack statistically. And Niner fans should take solace in the fact that it looks like nobody, not even Ray Lewis, can stop Kap right now.
2. The Impenetrable Defense
We all know how good the 49ers defense is, but they took it to a whole new level in Atlanta. Shutting down Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez for an entire half of football is no small feat. If the Niners can repeat their regular run-stuffing ways on the elite running back Ray Rice, then Flacco and his offense may be in for a long game.
3. We're Favored for a Reason
On paper, the 49ers are the better team. When matching up position-by-position, the statistical edge goes mostly to players who wear red and gold over their black and purple counterparts.
4. Home Field Advantage...Sort Of
Yes, the Superdome is much closer to Baltimore than to San Francisco, but the 49ers can claim one thing that the Ravens can't: They have played a game on that turf, in that stadium, in front of a hostile crowd, this year. You would be surprised at what that can do for a young guy like Kaepernick, as he won't have to potentially waste a drive getting used to the surface and the crowd.
5. An Excellent Legacy
Not only are the 49ers on a quest to match the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl titles in NFL history (it would be their sixth), but they would become the first team ever to reach six Super Bowls and never lose one. The Ravens have the retirement of Lewis to get them pumped up, the 49ers have an untarnished record to keep.
How do you see the Super Bowl playing out on Sunday? Will the 49ers take home another Super Bowl title? Tweet us at @sanfranmag to let us know what you think!