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Super Bowl XLVII-13 Biggest Storylines to Watch in the Big Game

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This is for all the marbles!

Two teams, two brothers and four quarters of football to decide who will be crowned Super Bowl Champions.

In the blue corner representing the AFC are the Baltimore Ravens led by their star quarterback Joe Flacco and defensive leader Ray Lewis.

The Ravens have had to overcome plenty of adversity on their way too New Orleans and eliminated two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks from the Playoffs along the way.

With the passing of their former owner Art Modell at the beginning of the season and with Ray Lewis playing in his final game as a Raven, Baltimore won’t be short of motivation for this one as the go in search of their second Super Bowl win.

In the red corner representing the NFC are the San Francisco 49ers who are back after the golden years of stars like Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice to try and win their first Super Bowl since 1994.

The 49ers have had a truly incredible season and after making a quarterback switch in Week 11 from Alex Smith to Colin Kapernick and they now find themselves just one win away from being crowned Super Bowl champions for a sixth time.

So with the world watching and the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans awaiting, it all comes down to Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday night.

With one week to go, here are my 13 biggest storylines to watch in the big game.

Harbaugh vs Harbaugh

Judging by recent season storylines, one would be forgiven for thinking that Hollywood writers have been hired by the NFL to write scripts for the blockbuster movie that is: an NFL season.

After last year’s dramatics involving quarterback Tim Tebow and the cultural phenomenon that was ‘Tebowing,’ we now have an even more Hollywoodesque storyline involving two brothers.

Older brother John Harbaugh (Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens) will go head to head with his younger brother Jim (Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers) on the biggest stage of all, the Super Bowl.

The Harbaugh Bowl features two of the best coaches in football right now and is almost worthy of its own film.

The Harbaugh Bowl: Two Brothers Collide

Tom Cruise uses his football knowledge gained from Jerry Maguire to take on the role of older brother John and Brad Pitt trades baseball strategy from Moneyball for blitz packages to play as Jim.

Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis summed up the moment perfectly after the AFC Championship Game and said “this is our time.”

#52 is looking for one final victory before he leaves the game for good and retires.

Can Lewis complete his Hall of Fame career by bowing out on top and winning the Super Bowl?

Randy Moss

Lining up on offense across from Ray Lewis will be another one of the game’s all-time greats in Randy Moss.

Unlike Lewis, Moss is playing for his fifth NFL team and is looking to pick up his first Super Bowl ring.

Will the veteran who began playing all the way back in 1998 step up and be the x-factor for the 49ers offense?

Michael Oher

Michael Oher’s story really is a Hollywood one after the successful book and film The Blind Side.

The once homeless teenager makes his way to the Super Bowl as “Big Mike” gets ready to protect Joe Flacco.

Is there a Hollywood ending in store for Oher?

Patrick Willis

Just like Michael Oher, Patrick Willis is a fellow Ole Miss Rebel with another heartwarming story to tell.

He had personal troubles of his own and was adopted at the age of 17 after difficulties with his father.

Will Willis lead the 49ers to a victory over Michael Oher and the Ravens?

Quarterback Battle

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been brilliant in the Playoffs and is playing the best football of his career.

49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick faces the toughest test of his career in just his 11th NFL start.

Who will come out on top in this crucial battle for quarterback supremacy?

Ravens Wide Receivers vs 49ers Secondary

Ravens wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are one of the best duos in the NFL.

The 49ers secondary is struggling and they face a tough test to contain these two.

Can Torrey Smith put on a Julio Jones like performance vs the 49ers secondary?

49ers Running Game vs Ravens Run Defense

The 49ers running game will be crucial for their offense as they look to exploit their clear speed advantage.

Starter Frank Gore is helped out by backup LaMichael James along with the running threat of Kaepernick.

How will Haloti Ngata and co. deal with the 49ers rushing ability?

Kickers

The battle of the kickers has the potential to be the biggest storyline of them all.

Ravens rookie Justin Tucker is in terrific form whilst 49ers veteran David Akers looks highly inconsistent.

Does experience or youth prevail if the game comes down to a last second field goal?

National Anthem

So now we get to the Super Bowl traditions with the National Anthem first on the list.

Alicia Keys will be performing this year’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Will her performance bring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to tears?

TV Ads

Super Bowl ads are a pretty big deal which is why companies pay up to $3 million for a 30 second commercial.

Popular commercials to watch out for include Coca-Cola and Doritos.

Will any of this year’s crop join this illustrious list of greatest commercials in Super Bowl history?

Halftime Show

After a mixed performance from Madonna last year, this year’s Halftime show looks a lot more promising.

Beyonce is set to perform fresh off her performance at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Will Destiny’s Child re-unite on stage or will husband Jay-Z join her for an encore?

Verdict

Sorry 49ers fans but when it comes down to the final outcome of the Harbaugh Bowl, I’m picking the Ravens to get the win with an MVP performance from Joe Flacco to give Ray Lewis the perfect ending to his legendary career.

49ers 19 Ravens 30

So there is my preview and prediction for Super Bowl XLVII.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the game!

Follow @PodgeOH

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Thursday Night Football- Browns vs Ravens Preview

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Joe Flacco

Week 4 in the NFL kicks off tonight with an exciting AFC North encounter as the struggling Cleveland Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the high-flying Ravens.

As usual, the game will be live on NFL Network for American viewers and on Sky Sports 2 in Ireland.

Here is my preview of this week’s Thursday Night Football game.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Brandon Weeden

Stadium– M&T Bank Stadium

KO-  8:20 p.m. in Baltimore/1:20 a.m. in Ireland

What to Watch

Ed Reed

Brandon Weeden vs Ravens Secondary

  • The Browns rookie quarterback has had a difficult start to his NFL career. Not only is Brandon Weeden yet to win a game, six interceptions thrown in his first three games is not the start he would have hoped for.
  • Things won’t get any easier for Weeden and the Browns against a Ravens defense which has one of the best secondary units in the entire league. Ed Reed will certainly be looking to take advantage of his early turnover issues vs the 28-year-old rookie.

Ravens Offensive Line vs Browns Defensive Line

  • The Ravens offensive line has done a good job of protecting quarterback Joe Flacco so far this season and have only only five sacks. They have also been blocked well in the run game with star running back Ray Rice currently on pace for a career high in rushing yards.
  • However, the o-line is in for a tough test tonight against a physical Browns defensive line. Whilst not loaded with star names, they are a solid group up front and will definitely cause problems for the Ravens.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens Passing Game

  • For the majority observers coming into this season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was either considered to be a game manager or a top ten quarterback. For me it was the latter and he is certainly proving me right with his fast start to the new year.
  • Flacco is currently ranked second in the league in passing yards through three games. The Ravens passing game will be looking to impress again against the Browns less than stellar secondary.

Who to Watch

Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson- Running Back- Browns

  • Will the real Trent Richardson please stand up? That’s the answer that most Browns fans will be looking for against the Ravens.
  • The third overall pick from this year’s draft is still struggling to be a reliable weapon for the Browns offense. After averaging just 3.5 yards per carry through the first three games, Richardson will be looking to kick start his season vs Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens defense tonight.

Torrey Smith- Wide Receiver- Ravens

  • First off, it is quite difficult to sum up the courageous effort and mental toughness showed by Torrey Smith last week. No less than 24 hours after finding out that his brother had died in a motorcycle accident, Smith went out and played in a vital game vs the Patriots and also scored two touchdowns.
  • He now goes into this week looking to continue that form against the Browns. Without Joe Haden in their secondary, Torrey Smith could be in for another standout performance tonight.

Lardarius Webb- Cornerback- Ravens

  • For my money, Lardarius Webb has developed into one of the best cornerbacks in the league. With seven interceptions in his last two years, Webb is a threat to pick off any opposing quarterback and Browns rookie Brandon Weedon will have to be wary of Webb throughout the entire game.
  • Tonight Webb will be given the task of covering Browns wideout Mohamed Massaquoi. Massaquoi will have to put on a Torrey Smith like performance to get the better of this matchup.

Prediction

Joe Flacco

After I was unsuccessful in my upset pick for a Panthers win last week, I’m going to have to go conservative this week and pick a Ravens victory.

Browns 19 Ravens 33

So that’s my preview and prediction, hope everyone enjoys the game.

Check back tomorrow for a recap of the game along with my picks for the rest of the games in Week 4.

Follow @PodgeOH