With one more game on the schedule, the Ravens and 49ers come into Super Bowl 47 as healthy as they could hope to be. There are a lot of names on the injury report, but none to really be concerned about, as they have all played the previous game with the same problem.
Super Bowl 47 may be the final game for Ray Lewis, but the 49ers have several players who will approach the game with the same mentality. If Baltimore thinks that Ray Lewis’ dramatic return to the field will allow the Ravens to play at the level that has allowed them to get this far, they had better look to the other sideline and what the 49ers are playing for. San Francisco is the hungrier team and playing for far more than their opponent.
Aldon Smith has not recorded a sack in 5 games, and after recording 19.5 through 13 games, there is of course questions as to why the 49er’s single season sack king has failed to get to the quarterback as of late. An injured shoulder, and the absence of Justin Smith were a big part of it, and both of these issues have only gotten better, meaning that Aldon is primed to have another big day on Super Bowl Sunday, unless the Ravens decide to let another player beat them.
Both NFC teams have to be pleased with their injury status’ entering the biggest game of the season (so far). With no injuries forcing a player out of action, the NFC Championship will have both teams’ full roster on display. There is one defensive playmaker on each side that that will be less then 100% though, and this could be important in a game in which both teams will need as much help as possible to stop their opponent from scoring.
Defense wins championships. But these days it’s a certain kind of defense. Check out our NFC all-pro defense to see who excels.
Of all the things that resulted from the 49ers’ first round bye, none could be bigger then the week off to rest. Due to the importance of the regular season finale, San Francisco had to play to win, and could not rest their starters, but were able to get some much needed rest while the Wild Card Series were played. The 49ers as a team are as healthy as they can be, and more importantly, the news on Justin Smith is good.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said on Wednesday that Justin Smith has improved significantly from a left triceps injury suffered in Week 15 at New England. Harbaugh expects Smith to play on Saturday night when the 49ers face the Packers.
When it was announced that Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder would be unable to play in the wild card match-up between Green Bay and Minnesota, the Packers booked their flight to San Francisco. Green Bay dominated their undermanned opponent, setting up what stacks up to be one of the best game of the playoffs, and a battle that could very well determine the NFC representative in the Super Bowl.
As the 49ers sit back and wait for the rest of the NFC to duke it out in the first round of the playoffs, they can continue to focus on getting healthy and figured out what to do with David Akers. Although there is still a lot to be determined, both of these issues are being addressed, and the team will have a little over a week to determine what direction they want to go in the kicking department, and the status of Justin Smith.
Other then being able to play at home, by securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC, San Francisco gave themselves an extra week to rest up before their first playoff game. The time off is just as important as home field advantage as the 49ers are nursing several injuries and will hope that the extra week will be enough to get back Justin Smith in time. Even if Smith is able to tough it out, the team needs to make sure that the best thing for both Smith and the team is for him to play.