I'm watching the replay of the game they played last year.
We can out physical these guys. A healthier Ngata and Suggs abused their offensive line, and now we have Kruger coming on hot and McPhee regaining his older form. I know they have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but I really think we can go to work on them. We never had trouble sacking or pressuring anybody this post-season when we wanted to.
do we blitz or drop 7-8 and play zone?
Kaepernick isn't Manning or Brady. They didn't have his ability to run. That creates a dimension that the Ravens D will have to account for that they didn't have to worry about against the Broncos or Pats. Luck can run, but prefers to use his arm. So it wasn't as much of a factor as it will be the Super Bowl.
I doubt Kaepernick has Manning's and Brady's ability to read a defense and quickly find the open man. The defense did a solid job against Brady, and a fairly good job against Manning, in limiting their effectiveness in the passing game, especially the second half of the AFCCG. So if it comes down to Kaepernick's arm being the difference in the game, I like the Ravens' chances.
I like a Steeler style cover 3 base with Pollard up, the CBs off and Reed in the middle. I am not too concerned with the WRs going over the top, or a young QB picking apart the complex zone/ blitz coverages.
Vernon Davis is their deep threat. Moss doesn't have the speed he once did, and Crabtree isn't going to blow the top off the defense, either.
On the downside, Davis is a difficult match-up for our linebackers, and he'll be a tough match up for Pollard or Ihedigbo. I almost think the Ravens would be well-served to work a kind of hybrid 46/nickel with Ihedigbo and Pollard both in the game instead of Ellerbe (since it won't be Lewis) on quite a few snaps. Ellerbe's played pretty well so far, however. I'd hate to take him out of the game. He'd be a bigger asset against Gore even if he doesn't have the speed against Kaepernick or Davis.
I like the cover 3 base the most because Davis is the top vertical threat and that keeps Ed in the middle to double over the top of who ever starts off on Davis. Kaepernik has the arm to make the deep sideline throws, but I have not seen him do it yet and it is about a lot more than arm strength too and I think we can force him to make some mistakes throwing into coverage as long as we stuff the run, which the cover 3 with 8 men up is really good at doing.
Redzone defense is going to make a big difference. Whichever teams plays better in the redzone will take this.
Teams just haven't been successful zoning against Kaepernick. The 49ers receivers just fall into whatever holes in the zone they find and Kaep throws the ball so lightning fast before a defender can react to it. The best way to stop the pass is man coverage, but then Kaep is going to take off downfield unless you have a spy who also runs a 4.43, and that's not even mentioning the run game with LaMichael James and Gore. It truly is the most versatile offense in the league. There's not a single team the 49ers have played this year or last year who didn't go into the game saying "we have to take away the run" and they still lead the league in rushing yards.
It's just not that easy. This team literally had a game this year with 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in the same game.