It is time for a matchup between two glass eating, road grading, and people mauling units. As the San Francisco 49ers outstanding offensive line prepares to face the Baltimore Ravens powerful defensive line. The 49ers may have the best offensive line in football, but the Ravens have Haloti Ngata, Paul Kruger, and Terrell Suggs. Pro-Bowlers Joe Staley and Mike Iupati anchor the 49ers offensive line, but center Johnathan Goodwin deserves just as much credit. Goodwin will see Ngata at times, but mostly will see defensive tackles Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrance Cody. Kemoeatu and Cody have been little more than space occupiers this year, and represent a hindrance to the Ravens rushing defense.
The Ravens have three players on their defensive line playing outstandingly though, as Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger each have two sacks in the playoffs, and Ngata is his usual self. When Ngata and guard Mike Iupati are matched up, it will be the matchup to watch, as each are in the NFL’s elite for their position. 49ers offensive tackles Staley and Anthony Davis will be tested against Kruger and Suggs, but the Ravens will not be able to rush with full intensity against the 49ers, or Kaepernick and the option run will take over the game. The Ravens outside defenders Suggs, Kruger, and linebacker Courtney Upshaw will have the most critical matchups against the 49er tackles and tight ends. If the Ravens are unable to keep containment on Kaepernick and Gore’s option run, it will draw the secondary in and open up the 49ers play action attack. While the Ravens defensive line has not faced an offensive line of the caliber of the 49ers, it will be ready to play and will look to set a tone in this game with this unit. This will be a bring your hardhat type of game, and may be a story told in the trenches, as the Ravens and 49ers each pride themselves in these units.