Back when I was paying a lot more attention to the NFL than I do now, I think I picked the Super Bowl winner several seasons in a row. I'm not so sure this time around, though.
I've felt all along that San Francisco is going to win, perhaps decisively. I don't even believe Baltimore belongs in the game, having been given a gift win over Denver earlier in the playoffs. And I'm so seriously tired of hearing about Ray Lewis and his retirement that I must admit a predisposition to wanting to see the Ravens go down in flames.
But really, San Francisco is the better team on both sides of the ball. The only thing that frightens me about picking the Niners is the suspicion that at some point in the game, the Ravens defense is going to get a clear shot at San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and have a chance to knock him out of the game. With all the excitement in NFL circles about option quarterbacks, I'm still waiting to see how long a pro quarterback can get away with running a lot of option stuff and stay healthy. Looking ahead, I see that as an ongoing problem in the NFL, where the defense is so big, fast and strong that running quarterbacks at some point every game are going to take at least one horrific hit from somebody.
I would expect Baltimore will get at least one of those shots at Kaepernick Sunday. Stay ready, Alex Smith.
San Francisco opened the week as a five-point favorite and the game has been bet down to three and a half points. But San Francisco's defense is going to get to Joe Flacco a bit and its offense is going to give that tired Raven defense some serious problems. Even five points isn't going to be enough.
It's a game that's going to be known for the matchup between the Harbaugh brothers. And I know who I want in that little battle, too. I'll take Jim, who seems to be the crazy one in the family. Crazy works in games like this.