The San Francisco 49ers star sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick faces a daunting task, winning the Super Bowl in his 10th NFL start. The 49ers made the change to Kaepernick, despite Alex Smith playing well. Kaepernick has rewarded the trust coach Jim Harbaugh has showed him, leading the 49ers to the Superbowl. Kaepernick, a former baseball player, likes to highlight his rocket of an arm, and a talent for running the read option he learned in college at Nevada. Kaepernick has one primary receiver, Michael Crabtree, and a slew of other weapons to throw to. These weapons include two tight ends, two running backs, and two effective receivers. Crabtree especially has exploded with Kaepernick's presence, receiving almost half of all looks from Kaepernick, and his career year places him firmly as the 49er’s marquee receiver. Ravens cornerbacks Corey Graham and Cary Williams will both see action against Crabtree, and taking Crabtree out of the game without the help of the Ravens safeties will be important.
Ed Reed has been a non-factor in the playoffs, and has not recorded an interception since week 13. Reed is still one of the NFL’s premier ball-hawking safeties though, and Bernard Pollard led the Ravens in tackles, having established himself as a destructive safety, with big hits all year, ending with the knockout hit he put on Patriot’s running back Stevan Ridley to force a fumble in the AFC Championship game. Reed and Pollard have one of the more important assignments in the Superbowl. The Ravens safeties will be busy defending the 49ers effective deep passing game, with Randy Moss and Crabtree stretching the field. Reed and Pollard will also be critical defending the intermediate parts of the field against 49er tight ends Dalanie Walker and Vernon Davis, while the safeties will also have partial responsibility for defending the 49er option run game. The chess game Reed and Kaepernick will play reading each other in the passing game will be a critical matchup, and the success of the Ravens may hinge on whether Reed and Pollard can effectively do triple duty against an adaptive 49ers attack.