Who should you be cheering for? Student Life staff predicts the Super Bowl

Sports Staff

The last time we gave the prediction game a go-around, it didn’t work out so well as only two of our staff members picked the Giants to beat the Tigers in the World Series, and none of us even came close to predicting a sweep. Fortunately, we’re guaranteed to turn out a higher collective success rate this time around: our staff is evenly split on what it’s expecting the outcome to be on Sunday.

Sahil Patel, Managing Editor

Prediction: Ravens 24, 49ers 21

Joe Flacco quiets the critics with his big-time arm. Seriously, though, Flacco throws the best deep ball in the game, and he has a pair of twin missile targets in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Throw in Anquan Boldin’s size and Ray Rice’s elusiveness, and you have the Ravens’ offense winning the game. Ed Reed is still the best free safety in the game and will give Colin Kaepernick fits. Let’s also not forget the emotional boost Ray Lewis has given this team. David Akers does his best Billy Cundiff impersonation and shanks a field goal that would tie the game and send it to overtime.

Kurt Rohrbeck, Senior Sports Editor

Prediction: 49ers 26, Ravens 20

If anyone is going to stop the Ravens’ gameplan of repeatedly throwing deep prayer passes that their receivers inevitably catch, it’ll be the best defense in the NFL, and that’s what San Francisco is. The Niners’ defense is excellent at every level and should limit the Ravens’ offense, especially if Aldon Smith and Justin Smith can get going again. Meanwhile, Kaepernick will have another breakout moment at some point in the game, continuing his unbelievable postseason run and propelling the 49ers to their sixth title. My gut tells me that Randy Moss, hungry to cement his place in the “best receiver of all-time” conversation, is going to have a good game.

Derek Shyr, Sports Editor

Prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 24

Even though I’m furious that the Ravens eliminated my favorite quarterback, Peyton Manning, before he had a chance at another Super Bowl, I have a lot of respect for Lewis and Co. Lewis’ fairy-tale story will rightfully end with him holding the Vince Lombardi trophy once more. Although Kaepernick’s explosiveness and the read-option/pistol offense will be of some concern, the Ravens have seen this type of play before and will be much better prepared with Lewis back on the field. Furthermore, Flacco has been incredibly consistent this postseason, and his accurate deep throws to Torrey Smith and Jones are unstoppable. Add Ray Rice to the picture, and you’ve got an offense that’s hard to stop. Akers will most likely miss another costly field goal, keeping the 49ers from winning their sixth title.

Alex Leichenger, News Editor

Prediction: 49ers 27, Ravens 17

Sorry to spoil Lewis’ retirement party, but this is the year of wunderkind youngster Colin Kaepernick (disclaimer: I am a 49ers fan, though it’s sort of by default because the Rams haven’t moved back to Los Angeles yet). The Niners had a dominant defense and reliable run game last year but lacked a quarterback with the downfield and scrambling capability of Kaepernick. Only a botched punt return kept them out of last year’s Super Bowl, and a more dynamic offense, boosted by Kaepernick and the breakout season of wide receiver Michael Crabtree, will put them over the hump this time. However, I’ll be nervous if it comes down to the wire—Akers has been so shaky down the stretch that San Francisco signed Billy Cundiff to compete with him (yes, the same Billy Cundiff who blew Baltimore’s Super Bowl hopes last year). Cundiff has since been cut, so the pressure will be on Akers to snap back into form.

Zach Kram, Sports Reporter

Prediction: 49ers 23, Ravens 17

The Ravens’ best chance is if Akers pays homage to Beyoncé by shanking an important kick “to the left, to the left.” But it might not matter. The Niners’ defense should learn from being torched by the Falcons’ three-pronged aerial assault in the NFC championship game and, with two weeks to prepare for the Ravens’ similar offensive plan, take away much of Baltimore’s preferred method of attack. On the other side of the ball, Lewis will end his career not by dancing but by standing flat-footed on the zone-read option—dare I say he’ll look like a deer in headlights?—as Kaepernick, Frank Gore and LaMichael James waltz around the storied linebacker and into Lombardi land.

Danny Schwartz, Sports Reporter

Prediction: Ravens 24, 49ers 20

This year’s Super Bowl has no clear favorite. The 49ers have more talent at almost every position, with their offensive line a strong advantage and one of the best in the NFL. But can this San Francisco strength outmuscle the extremely physical and emotional Ravens defense, led by the retiring Lewis? The Ravens seem to have the swagger of a team that has been here before, and Flacco has shown Eli Manning-esque confidence throughout his playoff run. He throws deep into coverage for speedy wideout Smith and tough possession receiver Boldin, but don’t forget about Rice, Baltimore’s multipurpose threat. Whichever Harbaugh wins, it will hopefully be an exciting game from start to finish.

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