Justin Carey, Hammond's new head football coach, can't wait for kickoff. The former Reservoir High and Bowie State standout linebacker, and diehard Ravens fan, has 10 keys to victory for Baltimore.
Prediction: Ravens 28, 49ers 17
"The Ravens are in the Super Bowl and they are not taking any moment for granted. Playing every play like it's their last. Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco are the respected leaders on both sides of the ball. The Ravens will win the Super Bowl this year and I will tell you why.
Let's look at the 49ers front seven on defense. A physical style team with plenty of playmakers that pride themselves on stopping the run first and foremost. The linebacking corps features three All-Pro players in Aldon Smith, Navorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. The Ravens offensive line must keep a hat on these three and not let them run through the line of scrimmage against the run to get tackles for loss or, when adding pressure, to create sacks.
Lets not forget about Justin Smith at defensive tackle. He is a beast and will be a handful for center Matt Birk, guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele. The Ravens need to run the ball effectively to control the tempo of the game with their zone/power run scheme. Feed Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce the ball early and often.
The next matchup is the 49er Pistol Offense vs. the Ravens front seven. Can the Ravens be disciplined enough to play their gaps and take away the QB Read Option? The key for the Ravens stopping the run is trusting each other to do their job. The interior defensive linemen and linebackers have the dive from Frank Gore and LaMichael James.
The edge players have to be disciplined enough not to get up field too far and get kicked out or read by Kaepernick on the QB keeper for a huge run. The Ravens linebackers must believe in what they see with all the misdirection in the backfield, seeing the pulling guards and having great run fits.
It's Cool Joe Flacco's time to step into the spotlight and demand his respect. His wide receivers and tight ends will help him out with creating space and beating guys one on one. The Falcon WRs had a field day two weeks ago on the 49ers. Pitta will need another breakout performance along with Smith and Boldin.
Ed Reed is not leaving the Superdome without his ring. He will disguise his coverage to confuse Kaepernick into creating interceptions.
Keys to the game: 1. Whoever does not turn the ball over will win. 2. Winning the battle of special teams/field position. 3. TE play. 4. Coaching: situational football, being prepared for every situation that may arise. The ultimate chess game. 5. Kicking game. 6. Limit the big play on defense. 7. Create big plays on offense. 8. No dumb penalties. 9. Defense getting off the field. 10. Score on defense.
The Ravens will win, 28-17."File photo/Jen Rynda