The Super Bowl matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens will feature some of the best young players in the game today, and those same players have a great opportunity to take home MVP honors.
The current line for this game (-4, via Bovada.lv) has the 49ers as the favorites over the Ravens as the 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday kickoff rapidly approaches.
Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick is quickly emerging as a rising star for his team and is a huge reason why San Francisco is where it is today. His favorite target, Michael Crabtree, also figures to be a huge factor in this game.
For the Ravens, Ray Rice is an important part of the team's offense. When he gets consistent touches throughout the course of a game, normally it translates to a Baltimore victory.
Let's take a closer look at why these young players have the best shot at Super Bowl immortality.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers (8/5)
Kaepernick is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL today and will play a major role in anything the Niners do offensively.
The second-year signal-caller can burn opposing defenses with both his arm and legs, so there's a good chance he'll account for much of the yardage the 49ers gain.
In the NFC divisional round, Kaepernick broke the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing for 263 yards and another two scores.
Kaepernick flashed his sensational throwing abilities against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, completing 16 of 21 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.
The explosiveness of Kaepernick's game ensures that he will gain plenty of yardage in this game and will undoubtedly cross the goal line at least once. That type of production makes him a near lock to win the Super Bowl MVP should San Fran win this game.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers (14/1)
We've already discussed how well Kaepernick can throw the ball, and the biggest beneficiary of that talent has been Crabtree.
Crabtree didn't prove to be much of a factor for the Niners at the start of the season, but he's come on strong as the team's No. 1 receiver since then. He finished the season leading the team in receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine).
In the playoffs, Crabtree has continued his upward trend with 15 catches in 18 targets, compiling 176 yards and two touchdowns in both Niner victories.
In such a big game with a ton of pressure on the young quarterback, Kaepernick will no doubt look to his most reliable target to make things happen and that could lead to Crabtree having a huge, MVP game.
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens (12/1)
If the Ravens want to claim victory in Super Bowl XLVII, they must get Rice going by giving him the ball on a consistent basis. That approach will help keep the Niners defense honest in this game.
Rice is one of the best backs in the NFL and broke the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive season. On top of that, Rice gained 478 yards through the air this season, proving he can beat opposing defenses in multiple ways.
The Ravens back hasn't been a huge factor in the playoffs thus far, yet he's found his way into the end zone twice on the ground in the postseason. His best game was in the AFC divisional round against the Denver Broncos when he gained 131 yards in the double-overtime win.
The Ravens can choose to utilize Rice in a few ways, so that could lead to a lot of total yardage for the Rutgers product, thus giving him a golden opportunity to put up MVP-type numbers in Super Bowl XLVII.
All lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.
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