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Feb 1, 2013
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It’s that time of the year again. That time when America goes crazy. That time when we can smell the pigskin in the air. That time when we all band with our mates, pop open a bottle, and watch the greatest game on Earth—the Superbowl. Superbowl XLVII has all the makings of classic. It’ll feature the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Both are tough. Both are ruthless. And both will win because of their D.

Here now is our no-nonsense guide to Superbowl XLVII...

BALTIMORE RAVENS


DRIVE
These Ravens are talented. They’re big, bad, and mean. But their biggest weapon is their heart. It doesn’t matter what adversity they face. There is just no quit in this team. And the biggest reason? Ray Lewis’s last ride. Perhaps the greatest middle linebacker of all time, Ray has been the team’s physical and spiritual leader since the Ravens’ inception. He has led this team from day one, and he is held with an almost god-like regard in the locker room. These Ravens want their big brother to go out on top, and they’ll do every thing to make that happen.

DESTINY
If you believe in destiny, then you know that the crown is going to be Baltimore’s. They went through season-ending injuries, losing streaks, and coaching changes, but somehow they’re still standing. They had to go on the road and face the NFL’s top two teams in the playoffs, but miraculously survived. They’re not just lucky. They’re meant to be here.

DEFENSE
Ray Lewis. Ed Reed. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. These are not just all-stars. They’re all-timers. No team, in any sport, has been as consistently good on defense as the Ravens has. Not the 49ers. Not the San Antonio Spurs. Not Lennox Lewis. No one. Their vaunted D got them a Superbowl trophy twelve years ago. And it just might get them another one on Monday.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

DEPTH
The 49ers are deep. And we mean crazy deep. Alex Smith, their back-up quarterback, can star in most NFL teams. And their linebacker unit is just killer. Aldon Smith is second in the NFL in sacks, NaVorro Bowman is an All-Pro, and Patrick Willis is the best middle linebacker today. The Ravens’s linebackers are great, but these folks are just batshit crazy.

DEADLINESS
The 49ers are fatal because they have a weapon that no one has been able to beat: Colin Kaepernick. This guy is like a box of chocolates on the field—you never know what you’re going to get, but you’re sure it’s gonna be sweet. Once you start thinking he’s just another mobile quarterback, he'll throw a bullet straight through an impossibly tight window. When you think he’s gonna pass, he shreds you for a 30-yard run. There’s no one in the league that can kill you in as many ways as Colin can. He’s not just a great quarterback—he’s the evolution of quarterbacks.

DEFENSE
The Ravens might be the best defensive force in history, but the 49ers have the best defense in the league today. Take more than three seconds in the pocket and their D-line is gonna toss you like a rag doll. Run and you’ll have Willis and the gang smacking you to the ground. They’re a pack of lions, and the ball carrier is the gazelle.

PREDICTION
Ooh. Tough one. We want to pick the 49ers. They’re younger, faster, and more versatile. But so were the Colts. And the Broncos. And the Patriots. And they were all buried by the Ravens.

These Ravens have something special in them. Maybe it’s Ray. Maybe it’s hunger. Maybe it’s divine intervention. All we know is they just won’t lose. And that’s why we're picking them as our Superbowl XLVII champions. Now, who wants to bet?

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WORDS: PAOLO AGULTO
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