EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 3, 2013

Burt: Rice leads Ravens to win

Bill Burt
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Everything on paper, and my eyesight, tells me the same thing. The San Francisco 49ers are two touchdowns better than the Baltimore Ravens.

They are young. They are confident (maybe arrogant is a better word). They are very fast on defense. They are physical against the running game. They have two great pass rushers on the defensive line.They have one of the best running backs and running games in the league. They have the best offensive line in football. have a Grade A wide receiver. They have a Grade A tight end. And, they have a electrifying, play-making quarterback.

Is there a more complete team than the 49ers?

It doesn’t matter.

There are bigger forces at work here. And I’m not referring to God.

The Baltimore Ravens are mentally and physically capable — they are tough — to finally win it all and overcome any deficiencies they have versus their NFC brethren.

The Ravens find a way. They aren’t about statistics. They are about making plays, which is what winning football games this time of year is all about.

While there are several of these “play-makers” on the Ravens roster, the guy who I see finishing the job is running back Ray Rice.

I harken back to the “4th-and-29” play on Nov. 12 against the San Diego Chargers, when Rice took a screen pass at the line of scrimmage and somehow gained 29 yards and one inch.

The Ravens aren’t here if Rice doesn’t make that play, the Ravens lose that game (it set up a game-tying field goal before the 16-13 win overtime). The Steelers probably end up winning the division. And this version of Ravens go away, maybe forever.

But Rice did it. He always seems to do it. Rice doesn’t have to run for 150 yards to be the best or most influential player on the field.

He just has to make a few plays, and break that one tackle. I can’t explain intelligently why the Ravens will win, because the 49ers are, I believe, that much more talented.

But as we’ve seen all too often around here, the most talented doesn’t always win. It’s usually the toughest team.

The Ravens are ready to win the Super Bowl, 19-16, and I wouldn’t be surprised if iprobably in overtime.

Go figure.