It's that time of year again! The National Football League's (NFL) Big Show itself, Super Bowl XLVII, airing February 4 from New Orleans, Louisiana.
This is the 10th time that the city of New Orleans has hosted the NFL’s biggest game, tying the city with the Miami area for the most Super Bowls hosted. Last year’s event saw two Super Bowl MVPs go head-to-head as Eli Manning led the New York Giants to victory over Tom Brady and the favoured New England Patriots.
ESPN presents coverage of the NFL’s crowning event, Super Bowl XLVII, airing LIVE from New Orleans.
Monday Feb 4th
05:30am NFL Countdown
09:30am Aussies Abroad Super Bowl Pre-Game show
10:00am Super Bowl XLVII Live
02:00pm SportsCentre Super Bowl special Live
02:30pm NFL Primetime Live
Check out the Super Bowl pre-game show from an Aussie perspective.
If you’re still wondering what all the Super Bowl hype is all about then tune in to this 30 minute pre-game show.
Jason Bennett will be co-hosted by Mat McBriar of the Philadelphia Eagles to bring you all of the colour, excitement and sheer magnitude of the event that is Super Bowl XLVII.
One game left in the season, one terrific matchup between two old school teams. With two brothers facing off as head coaches and the fact that this is Ray Lewis’ last game we couldn’t ask for a more dramatic Super Bowl.
Time & Date: Monday February 4 from Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans.
Coverage: LIVE 10:00am AEDT
After a tough season that saw them win the AFC North with a 10-6 record the Baltimore Ravens, much like the New York Giants last season, picked the best time to get hot, during the playoffs. Two big wins over Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots signalled a return to form for the Ravens defence and the spotlight being focused squarely on the play of quarterback Joe Flacco.
Flacco’s playoff performance, compared to his performance in the regular season, has been superb. Perfect throws to his deep-threat receivers, most notably Torrey Smith, and his composure in the pocket has turned heads as the 5th year QB out of Delaware looks to earn himself a major paycheck by season’s end and be a genuine threat to the 49ers’ secondary.
Certainly, he has some dangerous weapons at his disposal. With the threat of Torrey Smith consistency blowing the top off defences, the middle of the field has been opened up for veteran Anquan Boldin and tight end Dennis Pitta to make plays. Ray Rice, the Ravens’ primary running back has been quietly effective, managing a 3.9 yard per game average, a good effort considering the strength of the Broncos’ and Patriots’ run defence.
The big story surrounding the Ravens is the play of their defence, inspired by the news of their leader, Ray Lewis, is retiring after 17 years in the league. Like Joe Flacco, the Ravens’ defence has had a shaky regular season, but have now found their feet in the playoffs. Holding the likes of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to nine, 21 and 13 points respectively (Peyton Manning’s offence only scored 21 of the 35 points in their match-up, the rest were scored on special teams.)
The San Francisco 49ers, much like the Ravens. came into the regular season as contenders after narrowly missing out in the Championship round last season. The 49ers finished by winning the NFC West with an 11-4-1 record that included big wins over the Patriots, Bears and Packers. However, they also succumbed to a blowout loss to the Giants, a draw, and loss to lowly divisional rivals the St. Louis Rams. In the playoffs, the 49ers managed convincing wins over the Green Bay Packers again and a hard-fought victory of the number one seeded Atlanta Falcons in the Championship game.
The big story with the 49ers focuses on the recent performances of their still freshly anointed QB Colin Kaepernick. The second year quarterback was named the team’s starter in November (after Alex Smith was held out with a concussion) and never let go of the job. Kaepernick’s mobility, coupled with his big arm has given the 49ers offence a dual-threat QB they haven’t had since the glory-days of the 90s. His dazzling performance against the Packers that included a heavy dose of previously unseen zone read plays put the rest of the NFL on alert.
The 49ers offensive weapons, again like the Ravens, appear to be playing their best at the right time. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis have both dominated their opponents this postseason and have benefited greatly from defences trying to contain Kaepernick’s mobility. Veteran running back Frank Gore has also been very productive this off-season, managing a strong 4.8 yards per carry. The 49ers have been smart to limit his carries in 2012 and Gore has looked spry all postseason.
For a long time the strength and identity of the 49ers has been their defence. This year has been no different with their defence being ranked 4th against both the pass and run. Terrific play from the linebacker core that includes Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, coupled with the menacing Justin Smith on the defensive line and Carlos Rogers in the secondary has given them a balanced, disciplined defence that is very difficult to score on.
In many ways these two teams are very similar. Both have enjoyed some terrific performances on offence after a regular season of controversy and change, don’t forget the Ravens fired their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, in December. Both have strong defensive roots, with an emphasis on the running game now coupled with a hot strong armed quarterback.
Finally both the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens have two disciplined, hard-lined coaches who also happen to be brothers. Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers, younger brother to John Harbaugh of the Ravens set the stage for a dramatic Super Bowl first. Be prepared for a hard-fought, emotional affair, between two men who know each other better than anyone.
What more could you ask for from Super Bowl XLVII?
Final word and prediction Ravens and the experience of their leaders on defence, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, will be able to limit Kaepernick’s mobility and shut down his number one target in Vernon Davis. While the 49ers should be able to run the ball on the Ravens, Flacco’s arm should be able to keep them in the game until the final moment, which will be decided by a field goal. Baltimore Ravens to win 30-27.
Super Bowl XLVII preview provided by US Sports Down Under
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