Super Bowl XLVII Picks
After being heavy underdogs in their last two games, the Ravens are getting a little more respect from the pundits heading into Super Bowl XLVII.
The predictions are split pretty much down the middle, with most expecting a close game Sunday.
Take a look at what the experts think:
Baltimore Sun:**6 of 7 pick the Ravens**
Jeff Zrebiec (Ravens 26, 49ers 24):"I don't think the Ravens are necessarily the better team but all week, they've looked like the looser and more confident one. After dispatching of Denver and New England, the Ravens clearly believe that this is their time."
Aaron Wilson (Ravens 20, 49ers 17):"Joe Flacco wins the Most Valuable Player, increasing his asking price for upcoming contract negotiations."
Matt Vensel (Ravens 27, 49ers 23):"In another tight Super Bowl, the Ravens will stick with the script that got them there: physical defense, especially in the red zone, and a wide-open offense with Joe Flacco, your Super Bowl MVP."
Edward Lee (49ers 31, Ravens 28): "Few defenses have been able to decipher the read-option offense, and the Ravens won't have many answers either. There will be a lot of Kaepernicking and tears from Ray Lewis as the Ravens' leader rides off into the sunset without a second Super Bowl ring."
ESPN.com:**3 of 12 pick the Ravens**
YahooSports.com:**2 of 3 pick the Ravens*** *
SI.com:**4 of 6 pick the Ravens**
Peter King (Ravens 27, 49ers 23):"The deep arm of Joe Flacco, paired with the revived defense of the Ravens in the playoffs, wins it for a Baltimore team that seemed left for dead in December."
Don Banks (49ers 31, Ravens 20):"The game will be competitive for the first three quarters, but the Ravens will get Kaepernick-ed in the final 15 minutes, because San Francisco simply has too many different ways it can beat you these days. On the Superdome's fast track, the 49ers offense will thrive."
NFL.com:**10 of 19 pick the Ravens**
Jeff Darlington (Ravens 24, 49ers 21):"Baltimore's offense might not be trendy or flashy, but when it works, it possesses the weapons to successfully expose the 49ers' secondary."
Ian Rapoport (49ers 31, Ravens 20):"The one thing the Ravens won't be able to handle is Colin Kaepernick's speed, and he'll make them pay with big play after big play."
CBSSports.com:**7 of 8 picks the Ravens**
ProFootballTalk.com:**1 of 2 picks the Ravens**
Mike Florio (Ravens 30, 49ers 27):"There's something about the Ravens this year, between the impact of Ray Lewis and the emergence of Joe Flacco and the reality that, after this season, Baltimore could have some rebuilding to do. For the 49ers, they could be back on a much more regular basis. In the end, there's a good chance that each Harbaugh brother will get a ring. For now, the first-born son becomes the first one to hoist the trophy."
Steve Bisciotti: Ravens Have Their Franchise QB
Ozzie Newsome said this week that he has no doubts that Flacco will be the Ravens'quarterback next season. Flacco has said on numerous occasions he wants to stay in Baltimore for the long haul.
On Thursday, team Owner Steve Bisciotti emphasized that the Ravens are all in with Flacco, who is going to get a big payday this offseason.
"We have a franchise quarterback, he's going to get franchise money," owner Steve Bisciotti told a group of reporters at media day. "We've got our quarterback for the next 10 years and we're going to ride Joe."
Flacco is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the Ravens could choose to use the franchise tag on him or work out a long-term contract. The one-year franchise tag would carry a lofty $14.6 million hit against the salary cap, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley sees that as a likely move by the Ravens.
"Putting the franchise tag on Flacco doesn't seem to bother Bisciotti," Hensley wrote.
Whether the Ravens use the franchise tag or sign Flacco to a long-term deal, Bisciotti recognizes that keeping a franchise quarterback in uniform is expensive however the team goes about it.
"Will it cost us a player or two? Yes it will," Bisciotti said. "But if we're going to be in that situation for the next eight years, and if we have to do it this year, it's just a good dry run. It's just forcing our hand a little earlier."
Reed Clarifies Comments About Patriots
Much was made this week about impending free agent Ed Reed's comments that he could see himself playing for Bill Belichick in New England. The Patriots have been speculated as a spot where Reed could land if he doesn't stay in Baltimore next year.
Reed was asked about the topic again during Thursday's media session, and he said that the story was blown out of proportion.
"The question is, 'Would I play for Bill Belichick?' Yes," Reed told The Baltimore Sun. "What football player wouldn't play for coach Belichick? Will I be in New England? Most likely not. It's just terrible that people get half of the story."
Reed has said numerous times that he plans to address his future after the season, but he emphasized that his preference is to remain with the Ravens rather than any of the other rumored destinations like the Patriots, Colts or Jets.
"I'm dealing with the Ravens right now," Reed said. "I'm not dealing with Indy or no other team in the league. It's Baltimore, first and foremost."
While Reed toned down the Patriots talk, ESPN's Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith discussed what it would be like to see Reed in New England.
- Ravens state their case for Art Modell to get into the Hall of Fame. "I do think he's the most accomplished person in the history of the NFL that is not in," Bisciotti said. [ESPN.com]
- Bisciotti was asked about the recent Sports Illustrated report alleging that Ray Lewis used a banned substance, and said that "Sports Illustrated is not worthy of a response." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Comparing the 2012 Ravens to the 2000 Super Bowl team. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice up the Middle keyed the Ravens storybook season. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @TorreySmithWR: "Good morning y'all...last Purple Friday of the year but it's Superbowl Friday!!" [Twitter]
- Flacco is on the verge of "great quarterback status." [FOXSports.com]
- Winning a second Super Bowl would put the Ravens in the upper echelon of NFL teams. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Don't worry about Beyonce lip synching during Sunday's halftime show. She put to rest any concerns about that during her press conference yesterday in New Orleans, where she began by singing an a cappella rendition of the National Anthem.