Super Bowl XLVII: Preview and Predictions for the San Francisco 49ers
On Friday, I took a look at the Baltimore Ravens and what their final statistics may be following Super Bowl XLVII. Today's article will check in on the San Francsico 49ers on the day of that monumental matchup.
For the record, and before I get into the nuts-and-bolts of my statistical predictions, I have San Francisco coming out on top of this one by the score of 31-23.
So on to the statistics.
Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback
2012 in Domes: 18/26, 224 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, 1.0 total touchdowns, 0.3 interceptions (103.2 rating).
2013 Postseason Averages: 17/26, 248 passing yards, 101 rushing yards, 2.5 total touchdowns and 0.5 interceptions (105.9 rating).
No matter how you look at the splits here, the second-year quarterback has been mighty impressive in his first nine NFL starts. He has now compiled 20 total touchdowns compared to four interceptions and a ridiculous 99.8 quarterback rating in those nine starts since taking over for Alex Smith.
As you can see above, Kaepernick has picked his game up a great deal in the postseason as well. He is completing nearly 65 percent of his passes and averaging about 350 total yards per game. Look for the young quarterback to continue his success against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. Whether it was going into New England and defeating Tom Brady in December, outplaying Aaron Rodgers in the division round or helping lead a comeback against the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, no venue seems to be too big for this dynamic player.
Baltimore did tighten up its pass defense in the last three regular season games, but is yielding nearly 290 passing yards per outing in the playoffs. It cannot rely on Kaepernick to make the same mistakes (one interception per 67.5 pass attempts) that we saw with Brady and Manning.
Projected Statistics: 19/29, 230 passing yards, 55 rushing yards, three total touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Frank Gore, Running Back
2012 Regular Season Averages: 16 rushes, 76 yards, 1.8 receptions, 15 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
Career Postseason Averages: 18 rushes, 93 yards, 3.8 receptions, 33 yards and 0.8 touchdowns.
2013 Postseason Averages: 22 rushes, 105 yards, 1.0 receptions, 24 yard and 1.5 touchdowns.
Gore is yet another player who steps it up when it counts the most. He is averaging nearly 40 total yards and a touchdown more per game in the 2013 playoffs than he did during the regular year. Overall, Gore is averaging nearly 130 total yards in four career playoff games.
While the Pro Bowl running back might be getting a bit long in the tooth, he still has a lot left in the tank. San Francisco will rely heavily on Gore later today in Super Bowl XLVII. I envision him getting 25 total touches and providing a strong punch with LaMichael James in the backfield. On the other hand, Baltimore is yielding an average of 121 rushing yards per outing in its last seven games. That shouldn't give fans in Baltimore too much confidence in it being able to stop Gore come 6:30 PM EST tonight. Look for a big game from one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
Projected Statistics: 20 rushes, 95 yards, three receptions, 32 yards and one touchdown.
Vernon Davis, Tight End
2012 Regular Season Averages: 2.6 receptions, 34 yards and 0.3 touchdowns.
Career Postseason Averages: four receptions, 111 yards and 1.3 touchdowns.
2013 Postseason Averages: three receptions, 75 yardsand 0.5 touchdowns.
It really is interesting just how much Davis was a forgotten man towards the end of the regular season. After catching 20 passes for over 300 yards and four touchdowns in the first five games of the year, Davis tallied a split of 21-244-1 in his final 11 games. Some of that lack of production was schemetic as Davis was utilized more as a blocker. Though, I believe it had more to do with getting comfortable with Kaepernick under center.
Either way, Davis has picked it up a great deal in the 2013 postseason after tearing it up this time last year. He is now averaging over 100 yards and 1.3 touchdowns in four career playoff games.
Needless to say, Davis is a huge weapon for San Francisco when it counts the most. Expect him to be targeted early and often with Baltimore's pair of suspect cover safeties in the form of Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. I just don't see how Baltimore will allow either of them to go up against Davis in man coverage. On that note, Ray Lewis is well past the point in his career to be able to run with an athletic tight end down the field. Of course Baltimore could put a nickel man on Davis, but that would cause tremendous matchup issues in other areas of the field. I am expecting a solid game from Davis here.
Projected Statistics: five receptions, 85 yards and a touchdown.
Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver
2012 Regular Season Averages: 5.3 receptions, 69 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.
Career Postseason Averages: 5.0 receptions, 51 yards and 0.8 touchdowns.
2013 Postseason Averages: 7.5 receptions, 88 yards and 1.0 touchdowns.
See a trend here? Outside of a horrible performance against the New York Giants in the 2012 NFC Championship Game, Crabtree is all money in the postseason. More specifically, Crabtree has been balling a great deal as of late. Including the playoffs, Crabtree has tallied 50 receptions for 714 yards and six touchdowns in his last seven outings. Those are No. 1 wide receiver numbers right there.
It also doesn't hurt Crabtree's statistics that both Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham have missed the last few games. I am expecting the former first-round pick to see more targets than any one player later today. Considering that he ranks No. 5 in the NFL in receptions per targets, look for a big game.
Projected Statistics: seven receptions, 110 yards and one touchdown.
LaMichael James, Running Back
Projected Statistics: six rushes, 42 yards and zero touchdowns.
David Akers, Kicker: 1/2 FGS, 4/4 PATs