The NFL regular season kicks off this Thursday and the Super Bowl champs Baltimore Ravens are 8.5 point underdogs at Denver. After last seasons amazing game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, out of these two teams, which one has the better chance of getting back to the bowl this season? <
Baltimore lost Ray Lewis, their iconic and legendary linebacker. And they lost Anquan Boldin who ironically is now a San Francisco 49er. <p> Joe Flacco got his huge payday, which throws some added pressure on his shoulders this season to live up to the cash at his feet. Flacco has confirmed he is a capable winner and a leader when the chips are down.
Flacco proved scores of people wrong with his 11 TDs, zero picks and 118.0 passer rating in the playoffs, he showed confidence and went on an astonishing roll, seemingly as if he was destined for the championship. <p> Although Lewis was normal last year, Lewis will be missed more for his heart and soul that he brought; and they will have a hard time replacing him.
Torrey Smith had 10 games with 3 or less catches, which cannot happen this year. I think he can become a much bigger player for the Ravens this season, and with Pitta now out, I would put Jacoby Jones as their 2nd receiving option, in my opinion.
The 49ers on the other hand still have the best offensive line in football, with Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.
Kaepernick is still young and growing, and only going to get better. Everyone talks about his speed and his running ability, which are fantastic, but the kid can really throw the ball, and has a strong arm, that I like. He has the tools. He proved his passing ability vs the Bears and the Patriots where he threw for 464 yards, along with 6 TDs.
One big concern of course is it’s one more year for teams to have to try and figure out Colin Kaepernick. Will he be ready for that? Teams will be more organized for the read offense, how long will it last, can it last? This will be a big test for him this season.
Losing Crabtree hurts the 49ers terribly; he had 10 games of 5+ catches or more last season. 1st on the team with 85 catches and 1105 yards, along with 9 TDs <p> Even though the 49ers are a run based offense behind 29 year old Frank Gore and his 76 YPG, I’m also a big fan of LaMichael James, who I think can be an 80 YPG back in time, with his speed and elusiveness, it won’t be long before he gets his 14-16 carries/game. And Gore likely only has 2 to 3 years left on those worn down legs.
It’s well known the following year is extremely difficult for teams that lost the Super Bowl to come back and win it the following year. History has proven that again and again. <p> I believe the Ravens have a good chance; their offense will fundamentally be the same, work Ray Rice. Torrey Smith will now get more balls thrown his way, which with his wheels can make huge plays.
Their divisions have both gotten tougher, Seattle, will be the toughest for the 49ers to challenge. Baltimore has the Steelers, the Bengals, along with the lowly Browns, who still fight them tough.
The 49ers pass rush needs to get better this season, with only Aldon Smith, being the only serious threat to knock the QB down.
But, I think the Niners come back with a stronger hunger, they know how close they were to winning it last year, and the feeling of a loss like that hurts, badly. I think they come back ready to fight, to make a historic push to do it again, and this time finish what they started. <p> Obviously losing the Bowl leaves a very negative effect on a team the following season, and I’m sure the 49ers know this. Bottom line, the Niners have an amazing formula to win games, run the ball, along with a shut down defense, and a great head coach
Between the 2, I will bet on the 49ers having the better chance over the Ravens to get back to the big game. <p> Written by TonyK of VegasTopDogs.com