Jan 12, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith (94) prepares to defend against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

City of Champions' Staff Picks Super Bowl

Today many of us will watch America’s biggest sporting event. Others will watch the highly overpriced advertisements that go along with it. Others will tune in for the Beyonce halftime show. Others will turn the game on as an excuse to eat football food and drink beers.

No matter your reasoning for tuning in, you will get to watch this season’s two greatest NFL teams on display.

As a Pittsburgh fan I have heard for the last two weeks why we should cheer for one team or another. I suppose for many this could be a difficult task. Cheer for your arch rival, Baltimore. Or cheer for San Francisco and allow them to tie the number of Super Bowls the Steelers have.

It’s a no brainer for this guy, I will wear my Patrick Willis jersey today in support of the best number 52 on the field today.

Let’s just get to the breakdown of the game and the staff’s picks.

Baltimore at San Francisco

The Baltimore Ravens have continued to shock people throughout the playoffs. The Ravens dismissed the Colts in the wildcard, shocked the Broncos on the road and then went to Gillette Stadium to put out Tom Brady.

Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) drops back to pass in the first quarter of the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

To say this is Joe Flacco’s moment would be inaccurate. Somehow Ray Lewis is still the big story on this team even though Flacco has been the guy to get them this far. He will also be the guy that can make or break the team today. Flacco has thrown 8 TDs and 0 INTs with a QB rating of nearly 115 in the playoffs.

The Ravens will need a heavy dose of Anquan Boldin with a solid performance from Ray Rice. The 49ers defense has been stout all season behind some solid linebacker play and the Ravens need to get to the second level in the run game. Some would say this is the best defense the Ravens will play this postseason, but the Broncos were very similar and they managed to put up 38 on them.

The San Francisco 49ers took an odd path to get to the Super Bowl, but a familiar one. Many people questioned Jim Harbaugh’s decision to bench Alex Smith and start Colin Kaepernick. Looks like it worked out just fine. I can think of three very similar situations where the QB that took over leads to solid success stories, Trent Dilfer, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.

The Ravens have seen an offense similar when they played the Redskins, a game the Ravens lost. Big difference on the offense for the 49ers is their receivers. Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree is an explosive tandem with solid hands in traffic. Ed Reed will have his hands full today. Not to mention Frank Gore and LaMichael James coming out of the backfield.

Perhaps the biggest question for the 49ers defense is, can the defensive lineman disrupt the Raven’s new offensive line? The Ravens were able to shift players around and found a winning formula. Since Justin Smith’s injury has slowed him down, Aldon Smith has yet to record a sack. The big focus will be up front when the Ravens have the ball today.

Ravens: Shetler

49ers: Harding, Weiss, Gajtka

This could be the story book ending for Ray Lewis or it could be the beginning of a great career for Kaepernick. Either way this game is set to be an exciting one. Don’t worry Steeler fans, you can’t be on top all of the time. Just know that no matter which team wins it should be motivation for next season.




Tags: Baltimore Ravens Pittsburgh Steelers San Francisco 49ers

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