1. Contain Kaepernick
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has lost just twice as a starter, to the Seahawks and Rams. The only commonality between those games is that Kaepernick -- famously two-dimensional -- was forced to throw the ball at least 30 times. The Ravens will have a scheme for Kaepernick and the 49ers' read-option, and almost certainly will the success of that plan determine Sunday's outcome. If Kaepernick is forced to stay in the pocket and throw into an opportunistic Ravens secondary -- Ed Reed is back there, after all -- then the defense will have done its job.
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2. Ray Rice must be productive
For all the talk of quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice is just as important. Rice, typically a sure-handed threat receiving and rushing out of the backfield, has been somewhat puzzling in the playoffs. After uncharacteristically fumbling twice against the Colts in the wild- card round -- Rice only fumbled once during the regular season -- he was a force on the ground against the Broncos. He was solid against the Patriots, but Rice hasn't been getting his usual looks from Flacco in the passing game, catching only four passes in three playoff games. Look for Baltimore to get him more involved in screens and draws against an aggressive San Francisco front.
3. Harness emotions
Ray Lewis will not do this. He will wail and cry during the national anthem, but that's his thing, and he's fully capable of putting all that aside once the game begins. The rest of the team has assured media throughout the weeks leading up to the game that they aren't thinking about this being Lewis' last game in a Baltimore uniform.
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