This Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers are going to play against each other in Super Bowl XLVII, which takes place in New Orleans. So what do we know about the teams and their histories, and what can we determine from their statistics this season?
There can be years between games with the Ravens and 49ers. And when they play, the Ravens objectively get more done. They score more touchdowns and they move across the field more frequently.
But this year, specifically? Their stats are annoyingly similar. They have the same number of touchdowns, nearly the same number of points, yards, and field goals, and similar third down conversion percentages. That said, the 49ers have made fewer plays, 969 compared to 1,042 for the Ravens. It’s not a gigantic difference, but it could be a sign that the 49ers play more efficiently.
Over the course of the 2012 season, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was, unfortunately, injured. His replacement, Colin Kaepernick, has been doing better in the running game, and to the point where he might fundamentally alter the course of the game.
Ed Reed is perhaps many people’s favorite Ravens player. He’s very good at tackling, and you could make the argument that for every 12 tackles he makes an interception.
The 49ers have already played, and won, a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season. For that matter, the 49ers have played there numerous times. The Ravens, on the other hand, have only played there one other time in the past 25 years—and they won.
Finally, a word about Ray Lewis. The last time he was at a Super Bowl, the Ravens won. He’s a linebacker regarded for his defensive plays, so it’s no surprise that he’s never had too many sacks. But if we compare Ray Lewis’s sacking history with San Francisco’s upcoming star Aldon Smith (also a linebacker), we can get an idea of just how dramatically different their strategies are.
When all is said and done, we predict the winner of Super Bowl XLVII is going to be you, a dear member of the Wolfram|Alpha community. By combining computation with sports knowledge, we can all enjoy a better life and future.