The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are preparing for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans this Sunday night and obviously the main storyline surrounding the game is the two Harbaugh brothers coaching against one another in John (Ravens) and Jim (49ers). Here are three other plots to watch surrounding the game:

 



Kaepernick in the spotlight

Sunday will be Colin Kaepernick’s tenth start in the NFL, after replacing starter Alex Smith earlier this season, but he has played like a seasoned veteran, especially in the playoffs. Kaepernick’s best game came in the divisional round against Green Bay where he threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 181 yards and a pair of TDs.

For a player just two years removed from college ball out of Nevada, he has shown tremendous composure, especially in the NFC title game, rallying his team back from a 17-0 deficit.

 



Can Ravens offense keep it up?

After losing four of its last five regular season games, Baltimore has hit its offensive stride in the playoffs. The Ravens have scored 24, 35 and 28 points in each of their playoff games, including 35 against Denver and 28 against New England.

 

Quarterback Joe Flacco has played incredibly well in each of the three games, besting quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the wins. He has thrown eight touchdowns, and zero interceptions in the three playoff games.

 

For the Ravens to have any chance of winning Sunday, Flacco will need to be on his game like he has throughout the postseason.

 



Ray Lewis’ last game

The Super Bowl will be Lewis’ final game in the NFL as he announced on Jan. 2 that he planned to retire from football whenever the Ravens season would come to an end.

But the Ravens linebacker has garnered the most headlines by a player this week for different reasons.

A Sports Illustrated report said this week that the linebacker used treatments, including deer-antler spray which contains a substance (IGF-1) banned by the NFL, to recover from a triceps injury earlier this season. Lewis has denied the report on multiple occasions.

Baltimore has fed off of Lewis and his emotions this postseason knowing it is his last hurrah – can the trend continue and will the Ravens be able to send their star linebacker out on top?


The Cold, Hard Football Facts




A look at the NFL through the eyes of the stat experts at ColdHardFootballFacts.com.



Joe Flacco NFL’s Reigning Big-Game Quarterback

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco said that he was the No. 1 QB in football at the start of the season. He’s making his case with another deadly playoff run. He’s the top-rated passer in the 2012 playoffs (8 TD, 0 INT, 114.7 rating) and has thrown 15 TD against just 2 INT over the last three postseasons. Here are his game-by-game passer ratings in those seven outings:



2010 vs. Chiefs – 115.4

2010 vs. Steelers – 61.1

2011 vs. Texans – 97.1

2011 vs. Patriots – 95.4

2012 vs. Colts – 125.6

2012 vs. Broncos – 116.2

2012 vs. Patriots – 106.2