However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to the play on the field and which team can execute at a higher level.
The 49ers are undoubtedly one of, if not the, most balanced teams they have faced this season. The 49ers used to be a terrific defensive team that controlled the clock with the running game and limited turnovers to win in a similar way to some of the great, offensively challenged Ravens teams of the past. However, the switch at quarterback to Colin Kaepernick has opened up the offense and made the 49ers a dangerous team on both sides of the ball.
Kaepernick brings the pistol offense to the table, which allows the 49ers to chew up yards on the ground with either their quarterback or Frank Gore, who had a terrific season. The quarterback change has also turned Michael Crabtree into one of the league's hottest wideouts after a mostly disappointing start to his NFL career.
For the Ravens defense, they will have to shut down the pistol offense as well as hold Crabtree and Vernon Davis in check. The Ravens will also have to keep a close eye on Randy Moss, who doesn't see a ton of playing time but can still make big plays down the field.
The 49ers feature a fierce pass rush lead by Aldon Smith. They also have a terrific group of linebackers lead by Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman. San Francisco is usually very tough to run on, but their defense has had its struggles at times in the playoffs.
The Ravens just need to continue to play the way they have throughout the postseason. Denver's defense compares favorably to San Francisco's, and the Ravens revamped offensive line was able to keep the pass rush away from Joe Flacco so that he had plenty of time to make plays down the field.
The ground game will also be important to keep the 49ers guessing and to establish the play-action pass. Ray Rice has been pretty quiet in the postseason, but maybe he is ready for a breakout game. Bernard Pierce is still nursing a knee injury, but two weeks off should certainly help him to heal. Even with the injury, he has looked like the better of the two running backs over the second half of the season.
I have a pretty good feeling heading into this game despite the fact that the 49ers are a really good, balanced team. However, I picked against the Ravens the past two weeks and the final results were great, so why go against that method now? 49ers 26, Ravens 23