The reason? A young man by the name of Colin Rand Kaepernick.
The insanely athletic quarterback has taken the league by storm, wreaking havoc on opposing defenses while leading the San Francisco 49ers to their first Super Bowl since 1995. Kaepernick is 7-2 as the 49ers' starter, and he has led them to impressive victories in his first two playoff starts.
In the divisional round, Kaepernick torched the Green Bay Packers. He made NFL history, breaking the record for most single-game rushing yards by a quarterback (181) and becoming just the third player ever to run for two touchdowns and pass for two more in the same postseason game.
He baffled the Packers with his mastery of the read-option offense. When the Green Bay linebackers crashed, Kaepernick punished them by scrambling to the outside. When they stayed home, he beat them with his arm or let Frank Gore do some damage up the middle.
Kaepernick flashed his talent again in the Conference Championship game, but he beat the Atlanta Falcons almost exclusively with his arm.
He shredded the Falcons from the pocket, completing 16-of-21 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. He only rushed for 21 yards, but the thought of Kaepernick on the run forced Atlanta to alter its defensive schemes, which allowed Frank Gore, LaMichael James and Vernon Davis to dominate.
Next up on Kaepernick's hit list are the Ravens, who haven't seen anything quite like San Francisco's young QB.
The Ravens did face a similar quarterback in Robert Griffin III, but they didn't exactly fare too well. Before Griffin got knocked out, he completed 15-of-26 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 34 yards on seven carries, and his presence allowed running back Alfred Morris to shine.
Morris found all sorts of room against the Ravens, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. With the Ravens focusing on Kaepernick, look for bruising back Frank Gore to have similar success.
Baltimore is usually known for its defensive prowess, but the Ravens have struggled on that side of the ball this year. In the regular season, Baltimore ranked 17th in opponents' passing yards and 20th in opponents' rushing yards.
With Kaepernick's unique combination of speed and pure passing ability, the Ravens will be in trouble. Ray Lewis and Co. will hold their own, but Kaepernick and the 49ers offense will eventually overwhelm the aging Ravens defense.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!