Sando's best guess: Super Bowl prediction

February, 1, 2013
2/01/13
6:37
PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- The San Francisco 49ers are my pick to win Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens by a 27-23 score.

A first-round playoff bye restored the 49ers following a rough couple weeks to end the regular season. Having another down week before the Super Bowl also should help.

We've discussed the game at length and I've already explained my prediction. Now, with the game two days away, I'll pass along predictions and quick thoughts from 21 ESPN analysts and contributors.

Picking the 49ers

Tedy Bruschi, NFL Live analyst and three-time Super Bowl champion: 28-27: “The difference is the 49ers’ offensive line. Frank Gore is the MVP.”

Frank Caliendo, comedian/impersonator and "Sunday NFL Countdown" contributor: 30-27. “Both teams, who have been known for their defenses have been putting points on the board as of late, but I think the 49ers have a little more firepower -- and I really just want to see how crazy Jim Harbaugh goes if they win.”

Cris Carter, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 31-27: “Kaepernick’s going to run the ball a lot.”

John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: 28-24. “With power football in vogue in this Super Bowl, the 49ers will overpower the Ravens at the end. The 49ers are deep in talent and focused, but it still wouldn't surprise me if they need overtime to get the win.”

Trent Dilfer, "Monday Night Countdown" analyst and Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV champion quarterback: 31-23: “As conflicted as I am having to pick between two of my former teams ... both move the ball. The pistol allows the Niners to punch it in, while the Ravens are stuck kicking field goals.”

Mike Ditka, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 28-24: “I like what Jim (Harbaugh) has done and how he’s built the team. If the 49ers do not get a pass rush, they will be in trouble but they have found a way to get it done all season.”

Herm Edwards, "NFL Live" analyst: 27-24: “The 49ers have too many options on offense that present problems for the Ravens. Even though Colin Kaepernick is young, sometimes being young and na´ve in a game like this is a good thing.”

Merril Hoge, "NFL Live," NFL Matchup and NFL PrimeTime analyst: 21-20: “The core of the 49ers, the offensive and defensive lines, is the best in football. Colin Kaepernick has brought focus to their offense but it’s because they are so good in the trenches.”

Tom Jackson, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst: 24-21: “In the critical area -- the front line on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball -- I think the 49ers have an edge.”

Keyshawn Johnson, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown" analyst and Super Bowl champion: 24-17: “No one’s figured out how to stop this pistol offense. Defenses have struggled against this offense and Kaepernick.”

Kenny Mayne, "Sunday NFL Countdown" contributor: 31-24: “Straight cash, homie. It's Randy's turn.”

Chris Mortensen, NFL senior analyst and NFL32 co-host: 31-23: “Colin Kaepernick’s composure has been the biggest surprise for me this postseason, and I don’t think he’s going to lose it on the NFL’s biggest stage.”

Jerry Rice, "NFL Live" analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion: 24-17: “The Niners will have a better defense and Colin Kaepernick bringing so many different formations to the offense will present matchup problems for the Ravens.”

Ryen Russillo, co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo co-host: 24-17: “San Francisco has been the best team all season and they will be the better team on Sunday.”

Adam Schefter, NFL Insider: 17-14: Two throwback teams playing a throwback game in which two undrafted free agent kickers, David Akers and Justin Tucker, could decide the world championship.”

Mark Schlereth, "NFL Live" analyst, ESPN Radio host and three-time Super Bowl champion: 28-27: “Offensively, Colin Kaepernick -– the dual-threat and read-option -– will be too much.”

Hannah Storm, SportsCenter anchor: 28-21: "Nobody’s been able to disarm the pistol offense yet. Colin Kaepernick is king of New Orleans.”

Mike Tirico, "Monday Night Football" play-by-play commentator: 26-22: “It’s hard to separate the teams. Slight edges to San Francisco in a few key spots tilt the scale for me. I wouldn't be surprised to see the result reversed. In this good run of excellent games, we're in for another.”

Marcellus Wiley, co-host, SportsNation: 40-19: “Colin Kaepernick and his decision-making can’t be stopped. Try and stop him, Frank Gore runs up the score.”

Trey Wingo, "NFL Live" and "NFL PrimeTime" host: 27-21: “Kaepernick is the reason the 49ers will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with an NFL-best six Lombardi trophies.”

Steve Young, "Monday Night Countdown" analyst, Hall of Famer and three-time San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champion: 31-17: “The offensive line is as good as in two generations. They are the best team in the league getting off the bus and they are playing very well.”

Picking the Ravens

Chris Berman, host, "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Countdown": 27-26: "Two teams that won’t take no for an answer. This will be a Super Bowl that we’ll be talking about decades from now.”

Colin Cowherd, host, ESPN Radio’s The Herd: 26-22: “I expect Colin Kaepernick to make a mistake late. There’s a big difference between playoff games and the Super Bowl. There’s just more pressure and Flacco has been in so many BIG games. Let’s be honest. Kaepernick has made mistakes in BIG spots, but the team has overcome them.”

Mike Golic, co-host of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning: 27-24: “San Francisco may be the better team but I picked the Ravens at the start of the year and I still think they have the team to do it.”

Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning: 22-16: “Kaepernick will have his time. This one goes to Flacco -- his is a team of destiny."

Jon Gruden, "Monday Night Football" analyst and Super Bowl champion coach: 23-20: “If this really is Ray Lewis’ last game, how can I pick it any other way?”

Mike Hill, co-host of ESPN Radio’s Hill and Schlereth: 27-23: “The passion of Ray Lewis; his teammates want him to end his career on top.”

Gary Horton, ESPN Scouts Inc.: 23-20: “The 49ers are the most talented team in this game but there’s something about this Ravens team with their resilience and ability to raise their game to another level. It could be a Joe Flacco coming out party.”

Ron Jaworski, "Sunday Night Countdown" and NFL Matchup analyst: 27-24: “Explosive plays will be the difference.”

Suzy Kolber, NFL32 host: 27-24: “Lightning in a bottle season.”

Steve Levy, SportsCenter anchor: 27-24: “I think the Ray Lewis’ ‘distraction’ this week helps keep Baltimore focused and it’s time John Harbaugh outshines his brother Jim.”

Rick Reilly, contributor, "Monday Night Countdown": 35-34: “Just as Cain slew Abel, so too will John slay Jim.”

Stuart Scott, anchor, SportsCenter, and Co-Host, "Monday Night Countdown": 29-24: “Colin Kaepernick will have a great game but he hasn’t seen a defense like this in the playoffs.”

Charissa Thompson, co-host, SportsNation: 21-10: “I just trust the experience of Joe Flacco over the nine Colin Kaepernick starts.”

Scott Van Pelt, SportsCenter anchor and co-host of ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo: 27-20: “Flacco is not afraid to throw deep. They will try a bunch and hit it enough.”

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