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Staff Super Bowl predictions

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  February 1, 2013 06:00 AM

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The Boston Globe and Boston.com football staff favors the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. (Photos by Jeff Haynes of REUTERS and Streeter Lecka of Getty Images)

Editor's note: Here are all of the Boston Globe and Boston.com Super Bowl XLVII predictions. Composed of all football writers, editors, and columnists, staffers favored the San Francisco 49ers 8 to 5 in their matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers are favored by 4 points against the Ravens.

Greg Bedard
The 49ers are simply a more talented football team from top to bottom, and also have the better coaches. The evolving offense with Colin Kaepernick gives them more ability to bring something unexpected to the game plan. The Ravens are fairly straightforward. They need to go hurry up to win this game.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 32, Ravens 24

Zuri Berry
The key matchup will be how the 49ers handle the Ravens' passing game, orchestrated by the deft Joe Flacco. Torrey Smith is a deep threat and combined with Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, the Ravens have a layered passing attack that requires attention up and down the field. Nickel corner Carlos Rodgers has to be solid against Boldin while he's in the slot and you'll likely see 49ers LB Patrick Willis bodied up against Pitta at times. Who wins in these one-on-one matchups should very well determine the dynamic and outcome of the game. I happen to think the 49ers are favored here.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 35, Ravens 27

Chad Finn
This is supposed to be a prediction, but it inadvertently turned into Super Bowl XLVII wish list. I want to watch Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick sprint past Ray Lewis on a long-distance scoring run so breathtaking that Lewis's budding antlers curl up into nubs of shame. I want to watch Randy Moss score the go-ahead touchdown with two minutes left and have it hold up this time. I want to watch Ed Reed play brilliantly in defeat in his final game as a Raven before uniting with Bill Belichick. I don't think that's too much to want, except for maybe the part about nubs of shame.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 35, Ravens 31

Christopher L. Gasper
Which Harbaugh (John or Jim) wins Super Bowl XLVII is going to come down to whether the 49ers’ pistol-based rushing attack is a deadly weapon or shoots blanks. The 49ers are averaging 6.5 yards per rush in the postseason, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is to the read-option what Michael Tilson Thomas is to the San Francisco Symphony -- a maestro. The Ravens had trouble defending Robert Griffin III and a similar attack against Washington in the regular-season, allowing 5.1 yards per rush. But the Ravens played that game without linebackers Terrell Suggs, Danelle Ellerbe and Ray Lewis. Plus, the Ravens have an extra week to study, practice and prepare for Kaepernick and the read-option run game. That is huge. I think the Ravens buck – deer antler spray pun intended – the trend and slow down the 49ers rushing attack enough to keep it close. Then, Joe Flacco pulls it out at the end, and Lewis gleefully takes credit for it all.
Straight up winner: Baltimore
Against the spread: Baltimore
Prediction: Ravens 27, San Francisco 24

Tony Massarotti
The Ravens have been a terrific story this postseason, but here's the problem: against San Francisco, they won't be able to score. Baltimore hasn't really faced a physical defense yet this postseason, and the Niners are as physical a group as there is in the NFL. In this game, both Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis are going to be exposed.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 34, Ravens 13

Jim McBride
Colin Kaepernick’s unique combination of size, strength, athleticism, and improvisational skills make him the man to watch Sunday night. Blessed with tremendous physical skills, Kaepernick is a nightmare matchup for defenses. You can prepare for him by watching film but it’s impossible to mimic him in practice because few possess his skill set. How the Ravens can cope with Kaepernick (and they’re pretty good at neutralizing gifted quarterbacks – see Luck, Andrew; Manning, Peyton; and Brady, Tom) ­– particularly on third down will be the key to Super Bowl XLVII.
Straight up winner: Ravens
Against the spread: Ravens
Prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 20

Matt Pepin
I've been impressed with Ravens QB Joe Flacco this postseason, and at other times as well, and I think this is his time to rise to the occasion and lead his team to the championship. His counterpart on the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, is dynamic and entertaining to watch and very likely will someday wear a Super Bowl ring, but this time, on the game's biggest stage, I'm going with the experienced and battle-tested Flacco to seal the deal.
Straight up winner: Ravens
Against the spread: Ravens
Prediction: Ravens 21, 49ers 17

Dan Shaughnessy
Everything is going Baltimore’s way. The Ravens lost four of their last five in the regular season but have come together perfectly at playoff time. They run and they pass. They have Ray Rice and the underrated Joe Flacco. They go after it on defense. Ray Lewis scares the hell out of everybody. They have the mojo. They have the guy from the Blind Side (Michael Oher). They have Barry Levinson and his script from Diner. They have Patriot killer Bernard Pollard. They have the better Harbaugh brother.  And they are staying in my hotel. Party on.
Straight up winner: Ravens
Against the spread: Ravens
Prediction: Ravens 31, 49ers 17

Steve Silva
While Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis might start growing antlers any day now, it’s 49ers budding star quarterback Colin Kaepernick that will be seeing the deer-in-the-headlights come Sunday in the Superdome. Kaepernick has been spectacular in getting San Francisco to the big game, but the guess here is that he will come back to earth as the moment suddenly becomes larger than life when the ball is kicked off in New Orleans. On the flip side, Ravens QB Joe Flacco has proven to be a cool customer under pressure all season long and there’s no reason for that to change on Sunday when he brings Baltimore’s balanced offensive attack up against San Francisco’s formidable defense.
Straight-up winner: Ravens
Against the spread: Ravens
Prediction: Ravens, 24-21

Joe Sullivan
Over the regular season and playoffs the 49ers have been the best team in the NFL accentuated by great balance. A normal performance will be enough to win this game and cover the spread. Defensively, the key for San Francisco is to contain the deep passing game of the Ravens’ and cannon-armed Joe Flacco. The Ravens’ running game is solid but the 49ers should be able to stop that. Offensively, the 49ers need to once again be balanced, a mix of run and pass to control the ball.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 28, Ravens 17

Scott Thurston
So after careful analysis of the matchups on both sides of the ball and weighing all the intangibles (not really), it boils down to this: The 49ers are simply a better team, by a wide margin. Even though talent doesn’t always win out (see Patriots, New England), a ferocious defense -- in this case led by three All-Pro linebackers -- usually will. The 49ers earn the Lombardi Trophy in convincing fashion.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 35, Ravens 13

Michael Whitmer
Against my better judgment (any self-respecting Bengals fan should never root for the 49ers; see: Super Bowls XVI, XXIII), I'm going with San Francisco to pad its unbeaten Super Bowl record. Baltimore's defense has been stout in the playoffs, but San Francisco's is better. Throw in electric quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a dependable running game, and the 49ers will squeeze out just enough offense to send Ray Lewis into retirement with a loss.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 27, Ravens 21

Shalise Manza Young
The NFL has seemingly become all about offense, but the teams with two of the best defenses in the league are the ones that have made it to this point. For my (meager) money, however, the 49ers are better from top to bottom. San Francisco allowed just 17.1 points per game in the regular season, second-best in the league, but even when things appear to be going awry, revered defensive coordinator Vic Fangio makes the necessary adjustments: in the NFC Championship game in Atlanta, the Falcons led 17-0 early in the second quarter and then 24-14 at the half, but Fangio's unit posted a second-half shutout and cool as a cucumber quarterback Colin Kaepernick guided the offense to a win. This game will likely come down to one play, one mistake: the 49ers are 15-0 this season when they win the turnover battle, and Baltimore quarterback Joe "I get no respect" Flacco has yet to throw an interception this postseason.
Straight up winner: 49ers
Against the spread: 49ers
Prediction: 49ers 24, Ravens 20


News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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