Super Bowl prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 24

ESPN.com Illustration

When I think of what might happen on Sunday in the Super Bowl, I first envision the 49ers smothering Ray Rice with their speedy linebackers and frustrating Joe Flacco with pressure from the pass rush.

And I wonder if the Ravens defense will be able to slow down the Niners’ rushing attack with Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore.

Even though the Giants smoked the Niners in San Francisco this past season in October with Alex Smith at the helm, I still often think about how good the Niners defense was last year against the Giants in the NFC Championship game and how the Giants had to scrape and claw their way past the Niners with perhaps the toughest performance of Eli Manning's career.

And then I wonder, can the Ravens find a way to beat San Francisco?

But Justin Tuck pointed out something on Thursday that made me think they can.

“I like the Ravens for one simple fact -- they remind me of us," Tuck said in an interview on SportsCenter in New Orleans on Thursday. "They seem to be the team of destiny. I truly believe the 49ers are a better team on paper. But this is a game where so many emotions have come into this game."

"I think the Ravens are riding high with the whole playing for Ray (Lewis)," Tuck continued. "All types of stuff that momentum is going to come into effect on Sunday. I think I am going with the Ravens just because of that."

So even though I think the Niners are the better team with the superior defense, I’ll buy into the Ravens being a team on a mission. I saw last year just how hard it is to beat a team that gets on a roll and is unified and hot. The Ravens have that “all-in” feel to them.

So like Tuck, I think Lewis will be bawling and doing his dance one final time under falling confetti after the Ravens stun the Niners, 27-24.