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Super Bowl XLVII expert picks: Ravens vs. 49ers

By Denny Burkholder | CBSSports.com Staff Writer

We've got a Harbaugh Bowl on our hands, as the San Francisco 49ers square off against the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans at Super Bowl XLVII. CBSSports.com's NFL writers have weighed in on who they think will win the game, and who will cover the spread.

EXPERT PICKS: SUPER BOWL XLVII
BALTIMORE RAVENS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-4.5)
WriterStraight Up PickPick vs. Spread
Pete Prisco
Senior NFL Columnist
Clark Judge
Senior NFL Columnist
Mike Freeman
CBSSports.com NFL Insider
Jason La Canfora
CBS Sports NFL Insider
Pat Kirwan
NFL Insider
Will Brinson
Senior NFL Blogger
Josh Katzowitz
NFL Blogger
Ryan Wilson
NFL Blogger
Dave Richard
Senior Fantasy Writer
PredictionMachine.comN/A

Pete Prisco: 49ers, 26-20.

After seeing Colin Kaepernick up close for the first time, I came away impressed. He can run it. But he can throw it, too. That will be key against the Ravens' defense. They've played well against Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. But on that fast track in the Superdome, I look for a big game from Kaepernick -- through the air. The San Francisco defense will not play as poorly as it did against Matt Ryan when it faces Joe Flacco. In the end, I like the 49ers line against the Ravens front. The 49ers get it done and Jim Harbaugh beats his brother, John.

Clark Judge: Ravens, 24-20.

I picked the Ravens to lose to Denver. They didn't. I picked the Ravens to lose to New England. They didn't. They beat Peyton Manning in Denver. They beat Tom Brady in New England. So I'm going to pick them to lose to San Francisco? No way. Those who can't remember the past are condemned to repeat it... or something like that. So I believe in what the Ravens are selling, and what they're selling is a team that believes that somehow, some way, it will prevail. Who am I to question them now?

Mike Freeman: Ravens, 18-17.

I believe in rainbows and Elmo and Santa. I believe in putting the toilet seat down. I believe in love. I believe in greatness and that Kirk will always win. I also believe in destiny. The kind of destiny made by human beings with will and spit and luck. Ray Lewis has made a believer out of me. He beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick is next. Why? Because I believe.

Jason La Canfora: Ravens, 24-21.

I can't pick against the Ravens at this point. They have the more experienced quarterback, are a bit more playoff tested, have gotten healthy at the right time and just plain seem to have that team of destiny thing going on.

Ray Lewis will play his last game ever in a Super Bowl. Ed Reed returns to his boyhood home for his first Super Bowl in what could be his last game as a Raven. I say they find a way to win.

Pat Kirwan: Ravens, 27-24.

My brain says take the 49ers and my heart says the Ravens. Joe Flacco is now the QB with the most road playoff wins in NFL history and his team just beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road. I'll take Baltimore with all the emotion surrounding Ray Lewis and his final tour.

Will Brinson: Ravens, 24-21.

The 49ers will be heavy favorites, but how can you count out the Ravens at this point? They're beating better teams, playing great football, Joe Flacco is stepping up in a big way this postseason and with two weeks to prepare for the San Francisco offense, I think Baltimore's defense can get rested enough to squeak out a win.

Josh Katzowitz: Ravens, 26-16.

I still think the Ravens were the worst division winner in the AFC, and I still think the 49ers were the best division winner in the NFC. But none of that matters now. While Colin Kaepernick has been surprisingly good in the postseason, Joe Flacco has been a level above. He just looks so damn cool and calm out on the field, it's like he expects to win. I'm not sure that was the case before. Even though Ray Lewis isn't the linebacker he once was, you can't discount his emotional value to the team. A couple weeks ago, I would have told you the Ravens had no business being here. Now I'm saying they'll win it all.

Ryan Wilson: Ravens, 21-17.

Joe Flacco finally looks like a legit franchise quarterback, the defense is as healthy as it's been all season (and the run defense is no longer a liability), and this team is playing for middle linebacker and inspirational leader Ray Lewis, who you may have heard will retire after the season. And I can't give enough credit to offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who has this offense humming along after Cam Cameron never could strike the right balance during his four-plus years on the job.


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