In part 1 of The Farm Club’s Super Bowl preview series, I look at the matchup between the San Francisco rushing game and the Baltimore run defense. The statistics show the 49ers to have a significant advantage in this regard.
At first glance, the matchup between San Francisco’s rushing offense and Baltimore’s run defense looks to be one of the more even match-ups of Super Bowl XLVII.
However, a closer look at the statistics shows the 49ers to have a significant advantage in this area of the game.
In the regular season, both units were efficient, as San Francisco’s running game was third in the NFL in yards per carry (5.1), while Baltimore’s run defense tied for seventh best in yards allowed per carry (4.0).
This success continued into the playoffs. After a poor game against the run in the wildcard round against Indianapolis (allowing over five yards per attempt), the Ravens shut down the Denver and New England running games, holding both teams to under four yards per attempt.
San Francisco, meanwhile gained 7.5 and 5.1 yards per carry in their playoff games against Green Bay and Atlanta respectively.
Stopping our analysis here, we could conclude both units are strong and that predicting who will have the edge in the Super Bowl is a tossup.
Unfortunately for Baltimore, there is more to gauging a running game’s success than yards per carry stats. A statistic that is even more telling is success rate, essentially the percentage of plays that yield positive expected points….