The 49ers were one of the top ranked defenses in football, while the Ravens offense has been one of the best in the playoffs. The Ravens have an excellent playoff history, going 13-7 all-time in postseason games with one Super Bowl win, making their .650 win percentage the best in NFL history.
San Francisco is fourth all-time in win percentage and is looking to win their sixth Super Bowl in franchise history, the last coming in 1994. The other wins came in 1981 (XVI), 1984 (XIX), 1988 (XXIII), 1989 (XXIV).
Joe Flacco has been excellent for the Ravens and is playing some of the best football of his career. He ranks third in postseason history with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions and has the chance to pass Steve Young and Joe Montana with a big game on Sunday. According to ESPN.com, every quarterback who has finished a postseason throwing at least eight touchdowns without a pick has not only won the Super Bowl, but also the Super Bowl MVP.
The 49ers have a successful history in Super Bowls, going undefeated in five trips, the best in NFL history. The Ravens are undefeated as well, with one win in one appearance. The old adage that defense wins championships may very well play out, since the 49ers are allowing 17.1 points per game, second best in the league.
Although it is unlikely, the challenge flags could play a part in the Super Bowl and in that regard, the Ravens have an edge. John Harbaugh has three of his six challenges, while his brother threw nine, winning 33 percent of the time. Last season, Bill Belichick challenged Mario Manningham's amazing catch in the final drive for the Giants that helped them win the Super Bowl. The call was upheld.
The 49ers defense has been one of the best in the NFL over the past few years and that is because they have retained mostly the same roster. The team also had nine players play in over 90 percent of the snaps on defense this season.
According to ESPN.com, "All four members of the 49ers' secondary (Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner, Dashon Goldson and Tarell Brown) have played between 97 to 98 percent of their snaps this season."
Flacco and the Ravens will try to go deep with Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith, but the 49ers will be ready for it. San Francisco has allowed just three touchdowns on throws of 21-yard or over and are the 11th ranked team in completion percentage of throws over 20-yards.
Both sides will be looking for an edge in New Orleans and some of the stats may help tell the tale.