Super Bowl XLVII: Who's Going to Win This Thing?

One Harbaugh or the other? Our sports roundtable is a hung jury.

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AP / Mark Humphrey

Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, Sports on Earth and The Atlantic), and Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic) discuss what needs to happen offensively and defensively for both teams in Sunday's Super Bowl in New Orleans—and, of course, predict the winners.

Guys, let's prophesize.

We can safely predict that Alicia Keys on Super Bowl Sunday will lip-sync the National Anthem—just like Whitney Houston did in 1994 and just like Beyoncé did at the Inauguration. Speaking of Sasha Fierce, my second non-football prognostication is for a Destiny's Child reunion to do Say My Name during the halftime show. Also, bet she will be joined by hubby Jay-Z on stage to do the rap opening of Crazy in Love.

Oh, yeah. There's also going to be a football game.

My AFC pick was the Patriots. They're home in Boston. Or, in Tom Brady's case, in LA behind a moat. The Ravens, winning in Denver and then Foxboro, have sold me—and it wasn't Ray Lewis and his graybeards that did the selling. It was seeing the Baltimore offense come of age.

We've all been in love with Ray Rice since he left Rutgers—especially if you have had him in a fantasy keeper league. Now Rice has a quarterback, as Joe Flacco's pocket presence has become as strong as his arm always has been. Anyone who followed Baltimore in the days of Dilfer and Grbac could be forgiven for thinking that Flacco would be just another "game manager." But he's become much more. He leads.

Containing Kaepernick will be tough. Leaving a spy on the Niners' QB will mean Frank Gore finds gaps. Kaepernick's scary legs also mean that either Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree will be in single-coverage on every play. That's frightening for Baltimore. But, weird as it sounds, figure the Ravens' dynamic offense to carry the day. Or at least to come close enough for Las Vegas. San Francisco is favored by more than field goal. That's mystifying. I'm no prophet, I've not had the benefit of sniffing vapors like the oracles at Delphi, but my sense is that the Ravens will take it 27-24.

How about it, boys? Are you ready to celebrate Super Sunday, and to put your predictions in print?


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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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