Thursday, January 31, 2013

NFL Weekly Predictions: Super Bowl XLVII

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Baltimore vs. San Francisco (-4½)

It's brother versus brother in Super Bowl XLVII, as John Harbaugh's Ravens battle Jim Harbaugh's 49ers in New Orleans. Heretofore, Hee Haw's Hager Brothers have enjoyed the crown as the most well-known Jim-and-Jon brother tandem in history. No more.

"That's a mighty obscure reference," Jim Harbaugh said. "I don't think I know what Hee Haw is. Alex Smith says I should, because 'hee haw' is the sound an ass makes.

"Alex has been seething ever since I benched him for Colin Kaepernick back in Week 10. I know Alex wants to blow his top, but he's held it in like a true team player. That's why I feel like I'll be doing him a favor when I give him his 'release.' I'm hopeful Alex signs with a new team. When he gets 'inked,' he'll finally be able to compare himself to Colin.

"Kaepernick is the future of the 49ers, and he's the future of the NFL. Not only is he a 'half-breed,' he's the 'new breed', as well. And, he runs like a deer; he just doesn't smell like one."

While Ray Lewis is the unquestioned spiritual leader of the Ravens, Baltimore's hopes lie more with the play of Joe Flacco. Flacco will start in his first Super Bowl after a playoff run that saw him vanquish the teams of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road.

"Kaepernick may run the read option," Flacco said, "but I run the 'gauntlet.' Just ask Manning and Brady. If we win the Super Bowl, no one will be able to argue that I am not an elite quarterback. As of right now, I'm not in the same conversation with Manning and Brady, even if I'm having the conversation with them. 'Joe Flacco, Super Bowl champion.' That has a nice ring to it. Currently, that's the only ring I have."

Lewis' pre-game speech to his teammates is one they'll never, ever forget. Mind you, it's nothing they haven't heard before, but this time, Lewis delivers the speech from behind a pulpit, crafted from the finest Peruvian mahogany, and held together with hyperbole and blind faith. Lewis' speech details ten tenets the Ravens must follow to win the game, and remain righteous.

Suitably injected with spirit, the Ravens emerge from the tunnel on fire, literally, after a burning bush ignites a blaze in the locker room. After winning the coin toss, Baltimore defers, and kicks off. The Ravens force a three-and-out, then Flacco engineers a six-minute drive that culminates with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta.

The 49ers come back early in the second quarter when Kaepernick finds Randy Moss for a 21-yard strike for a score. Overhead on the sideline afterwards, Moss likens the combination to the Joe Montana-to-Jerry Rice connection. Many, actually all, onlookers agree, assuming Kaepernick and Moss hook up four more times and win four Super Bowls.

The Ravens head to halftime with a 17-14 lead.

Beyoncé takes the field for the Super Bowl halftime show, and much as they did when Roger Goodell showed his face in the Big Easy, the citizens of New Orleans collectively exclaim, "Look at that ass!" Even the enamored team of referees remains on the field to watch, giving new meaning to the term "official review."

The pop and soul diva shocks the Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd when she exclaims, "Are y'all ready for some lip synch?" Initially stunned, the crowd breathes a sigh of relief when Beyoncé breaks into Lipps, Inc.'s "Funky Town."

Beyoncé is then joined onstage by Justin Timberlake, which comes as a surprise to everyone, including Beyoncé. Timberlake makes a play for her sequined blouse, but is clobbered by Z and tossed into a large, cardboard repository.

"Dick in a box, indeed," shouts Beyoncé to a mystified crowd.

Jay-Z and his lady then dedicate their next number to Goodell, and send the Superdome crowd into a frenzy with "99 Problems."

It's touch and go after the half, with no team holding more than a three-point lead. A screen pass to Ray Rice sets up a Justin Tucker 41-yard field goal to tie the game at 27 with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Kaepernick methodically leads the 49ers down the field and into David Aker's field goal range, which these days means first-and-goal from the 8-yard line. The Ravens' defense stiffens, then block Akers' short attempt, sending the game into overtime.

San Fran wins the overtime toss, but Lewis drills Kaepernick on a scramble, forcing a fumble. Terrell Suggs recovers, and Justin Tucker's field goal gives the Ravens a dramatic 30-27 win.

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