1) The 49ers are "fresher under pressure"
SiriusXM NFL Radio partner Rich Gannon and I had a long, upbeat interview with Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday morning before the media circus. Harbaugh used the above quote to describe why San Francisco plays its best when it matters the most.
It is an amazing and unique trait.
2) Colin Kaepernick is the coolest cat in the room
We sat down with Kaepernick on Wednesday morning after his breakfast to talk about his rise to prominence and dominance. We discussed how he has answered every challenge, from cruising through his first NFL start against the Chicago Bears' play-making defense on national television ... to outdueling Tom Brady and beating the Patriots in New England ... to shaking off an early pick-six and putting on a show against the Green Bay Packers ... to threading the needle with majestic throws against the Falcons in the aforementioned comeback.
Kaepernick's demeanor is a plus. So are his smarts. Make no mistake: He is superbly coached under Harbaugh and the great Greg Roman. Also, Alex Smith has been extremely helpful.
3) Vernon Davis will be a factor
Kaepernick debunked the notion that Davis isn't his guy and that the tight end had a better rapport with Smith. Kaepernick simply said teams had been taking away Davis, so he fed Michael Crabtree the ball. That changed when Davis was dominant against Atlanta.
I think Davis is the go-to guy on Sunday and enjoys a big game.
4) Joe Flacco won't throw a pick
5) The Niners' pass rush will be a non-factor
Talking to Aldon Smith, the linebacker disputed the notion that he has been quiet in the playoffs. Smith said he has created pressure, just not sacks, and when he has been double-teamed, it has opened things up for his teammates.
I don't buy it.
And I hate the matchup.
One of the biggest stories in the Super Bowl is how well the Ravens' revamped offensive line is playing with Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, Michael Oher shifted away from the blind side and Kelechi Osemele playing guard. Osemele quipped to us on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he thought it was a joke when he was first informed of the moves. Talking to all five Ravens linemen and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, the rationale behind the reshuffling was to get the best pass protectors on the field at the same time. It worked brilliantly.
6) Michael Oher is soaking it all in
Oher told me that he is appreciating "every minute" of this experience, given the well-documented struggles of his upbringing. Oher explained, "I don't know anyone who made it out. I'm not supposed to be here."
I'll be rooting for Oher on Sunday.
7) Official-ly concerned
I think the officiating, the defensive pops, will be worth watching come Sunday.
8) Watch out for Ray McDonald
Jim Harbaugh deserves much credit for revitalizing the Niners, but Albert Breer says this didn't happen overnight. More ...
Talking to San Francisco defenders, the common sentiment is that McDonald is the unit's unsung hero. McDonald told us he is OK being unheralded because the wins keep piling up.
I'm telling you: McDonald will get his hands on the football, stop the run and help shape this game.
San Francisco wins in a classic, 28-24.