By Jim Moore
If the Seahawks had held on to beat Atlanta and somehow defeated the 49ers in San Francisco in the NFC championship game, they would have been 3-point favorites to beat the Ravens in the Super Bowl according to John Clayton.
That’s how close they were to being Super Bowl champions – two plays in Atlanta, one game in San Francisco and another 60 minutes in New Orleans with Russell Wilson capping the remarkable journey by accepting the Lombardi Trophy and ending the interview with a “Go Hawks!”
I would be preparing to go to the downtown parade on Tuesday while reveling in the fact that I would’ve gone 17-3 against the spread in Seahawks games this year.
The Go 2 Guy is betting (get it?) that the two-week layoff will help Justin Smith and his partially torn triceps. (AP)
Forget the hypotheticals – as it was, in actual reality, I went 15-3 against the spread, ending the season by taking the Seahawks plus-2.5 and as you know, they covered in their 30-28 loss to the Falcons.
I mention this because now I’m going to attempt to branch out and give you the pointspread winner in the Super Bowl. Warning: I’m guessing I’ll be wrong. I’m due to be wrong. I won’t be surprised at all if I’m wrong.
If you’re better than 50 percent against the spread, it’s good. If you’re better than 60 percent, it’s great. But when you’re better than 80 percent, it’s not only phenomenal, it’s about to change. No one can keep up that pace. But I’m going to try by giving you the top five reasons why the 49ers will cover the 3.5-point spread in the Super Bowl.
Questions: Don’t most people come up with top-10 lists? So why am I coming up with a top-5 list?
Answers: I’m not most people. I’m lazier than most people. Plus I couldn’t come up with 10 so I settled on five.
5. Colin Kaepernick. I thought the replacement of Alex Smith would at some point backfire on Jim Harbaugh, but it hasn’t. Smith was good, but Kaepernick’s fantastic. Like Russell Wilson, he gives the 49ers a read-option dimension that is hard to stop. And if you do, Kaepernick can beat you from the pocket or with straight handoffs to Frank Gore.
4. Justin Smith. I know the 49ers’ defensive tackle is dealing with a torn triceps. The Niners haven’t been the same since he was injured. But I’m thinking the two-week break will help him. And if it helps him, it should help Aldon Smith return to being the sack machine that he is. A good rush should lead to some poor throws by Joe Flacco and an interception or two by the Niners.
3. The Ravens. I’m not sold on the 49ers’ opponent. They were lucky to beat the Broncos. They played a great game against New England but always seem to match up well with the Patriots. They were 9-point underdogs at Denver, 9-point underdogs at New England. And all of a sudden, they’re just 3.5-point underdogs to San Francisco, the best team in the toughest conference? It doesn’t compute.
2. Vernon Davis. Kaepernick finally found the tight end on a consistent basis in the NFC championship game. Expect that to continue on Sunday. If the Ravens shut down Davis, Michael Crabtree will burn them deep. I love how Kaepernick likes to throw the ball downfield. But my darkhorse candidate for Super Bowl MVP is Davis.
1. Ray Lewis. I’m expecting karma to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit to the Ravens’ linebacker. If there’s a football god, does he really want to see Lewis’ over-the-top postgame celebration? I would think not. Lewis will end up in the Hall of Fame, but on Sunday he’ll trade deer-antler spray for the agony of defeat.
Prediction: 49ers 34, Ravens 13.