As the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers prepare to joust in Super Bowl XLVII, the most anticipated matchup since Super Bowl XLVI, ESPN's crack staff of experts, writers, analysts, bloggers, columnists and pundits boldly makes its predictions for the big game.
Chris Berman, "Sunday NFL Countdown" host: Ravens, 27-26 -- One of the great Super Bowls we'll talk about for decades.
Tom Jackson, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 49ers, 24-21 -- In the critical area – the front line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball – I think the 49ers have an edge.
Mike Tirico, "Monday Night Football" play-by-play commentator: 49ers, 26-22 -- It's hard to separate the teams. Slight edges to San Francisco in a few key spots tilt the scale for me. I wouldn't be surprised to see the result reversed. In this good run of excellent games, we're in for another.
Jon Gruden, "Monday Night Football" analyst and Super Bowl champion coach: Ravens, 23-20 -- If this really is Ray Lewis' last game, how can I pick it any other way?
Steve Young, "Monday Night Countdown" analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion: 49ers, 31-17 -- The offensive line is as good as in two generations. They are the best team in the league getting off the bus and they are playing very well.
Cris Carter, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 49ers, 31-27 -- Kaepernick is going to run the ball a lot.
Trent Dilfer, "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 49ers, 31-23 -- As conflicted as I am having to pick between two of my former teams ... both move the ball. The pistol allows the Niners to punch it in, while the Ravens are stuck kicking field goals.
Stuart Scott, "SportsCenter" anchor and "Monday Night Countdown" co-host: Ravens, 29-24 -- Colin Kaepernick will have a great game, but he hasn't seen a defense like this in the playoffs.
Charissa Thompson, "SportsNation" co-host: Ravens, 21-10 -- I just trust the experience of Joe Flacco over the nine Colin Kaepernick starts.
Mike Ditka, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst and Super Bowl winning coach: 49ers, 28-24 -- I like what Jim [Harbaugh] has done and how he's built the team. If the 49ers do not get a pass rush, they will be in trouble, but they have found a way to get it done all season.
Keyshawn Johnson, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst and Super Bowl champion: 49ers, 24-17 -- No one's figured out how to stop this pistol offense. Defenses have struggled against this offense and Kaepernick
Tedy Bruschi, "NFL Live" analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion: 49ers, 28-27 -- The difference is the 49ers' offensive line. Frank Gore is the MVP.
Herm Edwards, "NFL Live" analyst: 49ers, 27-24 -- The 49ers have too many options on offense that present problems for the Ravens. Even though Colin Kaepernick is young, sometimes being naive in a game like this is a good thing.
Ron Jaworski, "Sunday Night Countdown" and "NFL Matchup" analyst: Ravens, 27-24 -- Explosive plays will be the difference.
Steve Levy, "SportsCenter" anchor: Ravens, 27-24 -- I think the Ray Lewis' 'distraction' this week helps keep Baltimore focused, and it's time John Harbaugh outshines his brother Jim.
Merril Hoge, "NFL Live," "NFL Matchup" and "NFL PrimeTime" analyst: 49ers, 21-20 -- The core of the 49ers, the offensive and defensive lines, is the best in football. Colin Kaepernick has brought focus to their offense, but it's because they are so good in the trenches.
Chris Mortensen, "NFL senior analyst" and "NFL32" co-host: 49ers, 31-23 -- Colin Kaepernick's composure has been the biggest surprise for me this postseason, and I don't think he's going to lose it on the NFL's biggest stage.
Jerry Rice, "NFL Live" analyst Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion: 49ers, 24-17 -- The Niners will have a better defense, and Colin Kaepernick bringing so many different formations to the offense will present matchup problems for the Ravens.
Rick Reilly, "Monday Night Countdown" contributor: Ravens, 35-34 -- Just as Cain slew Abel, so too will John slay Jim.
Mike Golic, ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning": Ravens, 27-24 -- San Francisco may be the better team, but I picked the Ravens at the start of the year, and I still think they have the team to do it.
Mike Greenberg, ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning": Ravens, 22-16 -- Kaepernick will have his time. This one goes to Flacco -- his is a team of destiny.
John Clayton, Senior NFL Writer: 49ers, 28-24 -- With power football in vogue in this Super Bowl, the 49ers will overpower the Ravens at the end. The 49ers are deep in talent and focused, but it still wouldn't surprise me if they need overtime to get the win.
Adam Schefter, NFL Insider: 49ers, 17-14 -- Two throwback teams playing a throwback game in which two undrafted free-agent kickers, David Akers and Justin Tucker, could decide the world championship.
Trey Wingo, "NFL Live" and "NFL PrimeTime" host: 49ers, 27-21 -- Kaepernick is the reason the 49ers will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with an NFL-best six Lombardi trophies.
Mark Schlereth, "NFL Live" analyst and ESPN Radio's "Hill and Schlereth": 49ers, 28-27 -- Offensively, Colin Kaepernick -- the dual threat and read-option -- will be too much.
Gary Horton, ESPN Scouts Inc.: Ravens, 23-20 -- The 49ers are the more talented team in this game, but there's something about this Ravens team, with their resilience and ability to raise their game to another level. It could be a Joe Flacco coming-out party.
Hannah Storm, "SportsCenter" anchor: 49ers, 28-21 -- Nobody's been able to disarm the pistol offense yet. Colin Kaepernick is king of New Orleans."
Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio's "The Herd": Ravens, 26-22 -- I expect Colin Kaepernick to make a mistake late. There's a big difference between playoff games and the Super Bowl. There's just more pressure, and Flacco has been in so many BIG games.
Marcellus Wiley, "SportsNation" co-host: 49ers, 40-19 -- Colin Kaepernick and his decision-making can't be stopped. Try and stop him; Frank Gore runs up the score.
Mike Hill, ESPN Radio's "Hill and Schlereth": Ravens, 27-23 -- The passion of Ray Lewis; his teammates want him to end his career on top.
Scott Van Pelt, "SportsCenter" anchor and ESPN Radio's "SVP & Russillo": Ravens, 27-20 -- Flacco is not afraid to throw deep. They will try a bunch and hit it enough.
Ryen Russillo, ESPN Radio's "SVP & Russillo" co-host: 49ers, 24-17 -- San Francisco has been the best team all season and they will be the better team on Sunday.
Suzy Kolber, "NFL32" host: Ravens, 27-24 -- Lightning-in-a-bottle season.
Kenny Mayne, "Sunday NFL Countdown" contributor: 49ers, 31-24 -- Straight cash, homie. It's Randy's turn.
Frank Caliendo, Comedian/impersonator and "Sunday NFL Countdown" contributor: 49ers, 30-27 -- Both teams, who have been known for their defenses have been putting points on the board as of late, but I think the 49ers have a little more firepower--and I really just want to see how crazy Jim Harbaugh goes if they win.