For the Baltimore Ravens, the underdogs going into Super Bowl 47, to successfully execute their winning game plan, two things need to happen: Joe Flacco continue to look like the best quarterback in the playoffs while the pass rush, led by Terrell Suggs, needs to start getting to the quarterback.
Joe Flacco and his passing game – This is Joe Flacco in the playoffs, a quarterback who was laughed at for saying he’s one of the elite in the NFL last year – 51-93, 853, 8 touchdown passes, 9.2 yards per attempts and a 114.7 passer rating, doing a better job in spreading the ball than anyone else who made it to the playoffs.
His targets and the ability to make the most out of the play action has been the key. The 49ers play man to man coverage and aren’t an easy to team to get big plays against, despite what we saw in the first half of the NFC Championship game. Flacco will need Ray Rice going early, establishing the play action which frees up Torrey Smith for big gains. Smith has 198 yards and two touchdown catches in the postseason. Making the most out of Anquan Boldin, with 276 yards and three touchdowns this postseason, will be crucial. Flacco just needs to be patient, and wait for the gaps to appear.
The Struggling Pass Rush – The Ravens’ pass rush isn’t what it used to be, going up against an offensive line that is especially efficient when pushing the run forward. While not getting to Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game, they did force three turnovers. Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger are just a couple of names not completely healthy this season, but they’re getting better with every game. Haloti Ngata and Kruger need to bring their best in order for the Ravens’ blitzing scheme, which varies and changes all the time, to make life difficult for Colin Kaepernick behind his huge offensive line.