Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens is pressured and grabbed by Ahmad Brooks #55 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter during Super Bowl XLVII.
Photographer: Getty Images
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The dominant headline of Super Bowl XLVII is, of course, the matchup between the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John.
And while there's no doubt how significant that storyline is (no pair of brothers has ever coached against each other in the Super Bowl), there is plenty else to look out for when the 49ers and Ravens take the field.
The first, and probably most significant key to the game, will be how second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick handles the big stage.
Sunday's start will be number 10 for the young QB, that includes regular and post season.
Kaepernick's first start of his career came this past November on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears. He played exceptionally in that game, leading the Niners to 32-7 drubbing of the Monsters of the Midway. In his first career playoff start he not only threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns, but he also set the NFL single-game rushing record for a quarterback with 181 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns.
Needless to say, he's performed pretty well on the big stage this season, but this is the Super Bowl. No amount of big game experience can prepare you for that moment.
The next most significant thing to watch is Ray Lewis. Yes, his crying antics before and after games is beginning to border on nauseating, but he is one of the greatest players of all-time at his position, playing in the final game of his career with a chance to go out on top.
Lewis has never had a problem getting "up" for a game (especially the Super Bowl), but when you put all those factors in the mix, Lewis has all the key motivators in place to have the rest of his team as fired up as they could possibly be.
As far as matchups and scheme go, the biggest factor in determining which team walks away with the Lombardi Trophy is going to be the deep ball.
In the playoffs the key to the Ravens offense has been big plays (20+ yards) through the air (see their game against the Broncos this postseason). The biggest defensive weakness for the 49ers in these playoffs? Big plays through the air.
The Ravens have hit on more big plays through the air (20) than any other team, while the 49ers have given up the second most 20-plus yard pass plays (11).
So between the commercials make sure you pay attention to the game because there's a lot more going on then just sibling rivalry.
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