Super Bowl 2013: Judging Which Team Gets the Offensive Edge

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2013

San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank GoreKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Super Bowl XLVII features some great head-to-head matchups.

Both the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers have offenses that have been huge for each team's success this postseason. The two teams have well-respected defenses, but it's on the other side of the ball where this game will be decided.

It's going to break down to who outperforms who. Will Joe Flacco get the better of Colin Kaepernick? Can Ray Rice outrun Frank Gore?

Here is how the main offensive components compare to one another.



This one is perhaps the toughest the judge.

On one side is Flacco, who has now won more road playoff games than any other quarterback in history. On the other is Kaepernick, who has been one of the hottest QBs in the league since taking over from Alex Smith.

Perhaps Flacco's biggest criticism was that he couldn't produce in the postseason. He's put all of those doubts to bed with 853 yards passing and eight touchdowns to no interceptions.

Kaepernick is a dual-threat quarterback who can beat the Ravens with his arms or his legs. His performance was a little more subdued against the Atlanta Falcons.

Both QBs are scorching right now, but in the end, you have to go with experience. Flacco's wins in Denver and New England prove that he's no longer rattled whatsoever by the stage on which he's playing.

Advantage: Baltimore Ravens


Running Back

In most seasons, this would be Rice by a runaway margin. Twice in his career he's gone over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. 2012, though, has been his worst full season.

Rice has run and caught for the fewest amount of yards since his rookie season.

Gore, on the other hand, has rushed for the most yards of his career since 2006. He's running for .3 more yards per carry than Rice.

The Ravens have the edge when it comes to the receiving category, but Gore's rushing ability will propel him ahead in this matchup.

It's going to be of the utmost importance that both running backs have solid performances to ease the pressure off their QBs. Of the two, Gore is the one who will do the most for his quarterback.

Advantage: San Francisco 49ers



Neither team really has that game-breaking wide receiver who can single-handedly turn the Super Bowl on its head.

Michael Crabtree looks to be taking the steps necessary to becoming one of the better receivers in the league, and everyone knows what Vernon Davis can bring. After those two, though, the quality really drops off.

The Ravens come to the table with the trio of Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, none of whom went over 1,000 yards receiving. Smith is the good deep option, while Boldin plays a nice foil by being a steady target throughout the game.

It's hard to judge the two units because with Kaepernick's threat on the ground, the 49ers' receivers aren't as vital to their offense as the Ravens' are.

Advantage: Push


Offensive Line

As many have pointed out, the 49ers offensive line isn't all that great against the pass. Their run blocking is so far above everyone else, though, that it carries them as a whole. San Francisco has two Pro Bowlers in Mike Iupati and Joe Staley.

Baltimore's offensive line has also been very good this year. It's opened up holes for Rice while keeping pressure off Flacco.

It's that advantage in the run-blocking where the 49ers get the edge. Their running game will be vital to them winning the Super Bowl. It's going to be hard for the Ravens if San Francisco's O-line is able to get Gore and Kaepernick in space.

Advantage: San Francisco 49ers