Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ravens vs. 49ers: How They Match Up

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ravens vs. 49ers: How They Match Up

Article excerpt

What's at stake

Ravens: The Ravens have found their stride at the right time, with Eli Manning and Justin Tuck both saying this week Baltimore reminds the Giants' captains of their team last season. In five seasons as head coach, John Harbaugh has eight postseason wins - tied with Tom Flores for the most since the 1970 merger. QB Joe Flacco is playing at the highest level of his career, having beaten Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in successive weeks. This is also an emotional farewell for MLB Ray Lewis - to say the least - and the spirited yet controversial All-Pro means so much to the Ravens. Saying goodbye by giving him the Vince Lombardi Trophy to carry around the Superdome will be great motivation.

49ers: This is the 49ers' first Super Bowl appearance since 1994 and they will go for a record-tying sixth Super Bowl title. Pittsburgh also has six, but has been beaten twice, while San Francisco is 5-0. Jim Harbaugh made a bold coaching decision at QB when he replaced Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick. The switch has turned the San Francisco offense into a multi-dimensional juggernaut. In Kaepernick's nine starts, he has a 101.2 passer rating (13 touchdowns, four interceptions) and has rushed for 440 yards with four TDs. The 49ers are one of only three teams to win a postseason game on the road after trailing by as many as 17 points, so they have shown great resiliency.

Key matchup

Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. 49ers CBs Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown: Boldin has been sensational while running every branch of the route tree in the postseason. While teammate Torrey Smith will get attention for his presence as a deep threat, Boldin remains a game- breaking factor (16 catches, 17.3-yard average, 3 TDs in the playoffs). CBs Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown will try to neutralize Boldin, but they will likely have trouble with his combination of size and strength. …

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