It’s Purple Saturday! Well,why not.
We are only a day away from finally getting down to business. Enough talking, let’s get on with it already. It’s time to put the Antler Spray aside and focus on football. So here are just a few of the key match-ups to think about for this Sunday’s championship game.
49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick vs. Ravens Safety Ed Reed
The Ravens will also have to be concerned with Kaepernick’s legs off of read-option plays and scrambles out of the pocket but let’s look at when he’s throwing the ball. Kaepernick has a rocket arm but can get jumpy if pressured with a collapsing pocket. The veteran Reed could be able to lurk about on the back end and turn a rushed throw into an interception. He’s always been able to give rookie quarterbacks difficulty in the past even though he’s been relatively quiet during these playoffs.
49ers Receiver Michael Crabtree vs. Ravens Cornerback Cary Williams
Crabtree has been by far Kaepernick’s favorite target this season and his numbers have steadily improved over the years culminating with a solid campaign in 2012. (85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns). Williams has rebounded well after struggling early in the season and nabbed a career high four interceptions in the regular season and has two during these playoffs. Williams has good size to match up with Crabtree and could be able to get physical off the line of scrimmage.
49ers Outside Linebacker Aldon Smith vs. Ravens Offensive Tackle Bryant McKinnie
The 49ers are hoping that their second-year quarterback terror who had 19 1/2 sacks on the year will snap out of his recent drought. He hasn’t put a quarterback on his back since Dec. 9. No doubt he will draw the attention the Baltimore offense and Bryant McKinnie. McKinnie has played well since being inserted into the starting lineup as the Ravens Offensive line has only allowed 4 sacks in 99 dropbacks in the playoffs.
49ers Cornerback Chris Culliver vs. Ravens Receiver Torrey Smith
The Ravens have used the deep ball throughout the season and these playoffs to great effectiveness and if they can beat the Niners deep it will be a big part of being able to get a win tomorrow. Culliver’s pick in the NFC Championship game helped book his team’s trip to New Orleans. He’ll be an integral part in trying to keep Smith from getting behind the defense.
49ers Tight End Vernon Davis vs. Ravens Inside Linebacker Ray Lewis
Davis hasn’t been as involved in the offense under Kaepernick but he broke out with a big game against Atlanta two weeks ago. He’s big and strong and tough match-up for anyone. Ray Lewis has provided the emotional push for the Ravens heading to the Super Bowl but he has shown weakness in pass coverage. It will be interesting to see if Bernard Pollard also helps guard the Davis as he sure to be a red-zone target.