The Ravens did things the hard way en route to Super Bowl XLVII. After beating the Colts in a wild-card game, they upset the Broncos and Patriots — both on the road — to pull within reach of the Lombardi Trophy.
The 49ers have been just as impressive. Led by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco is back in the big game after wins over the Packers and Falcons.
The Titans didn't play the 49ers or Ravens in 2012, but Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, a 14-year veteran, knows both teams well.
He has also played in the NFL's biggest game, leading the Seahawks against the Steelers in Super Bowl XL (Steelers 21, Seahawks 10).
Here is Hasselbeck's breakdown of Sunday's game at the Superdome in New Orleans, as told to The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt:
Keys for the 49ers to win
Colin Kaepernick needs to play well, and I suspect he will. He kind of reminds me of a young Tom Brady in his first Super Bowl with the Patriots because it just seems like he's not even aware of how incredibly huge this moment is and how big this opportunity is.
So that is probably a good thing. He's just been having fun, and he needs to continue to do what he's been doing — run and make big throws.
And he can't make it easy for the Ravens by committing turnovers. Give the ball to running back Frank Gore and let him make plays for you.
I've been really impressed with the 49ers all season. I think defensive tackle Justin Smith will make a big impact in this game. He may be one of the most underrated players in the league, and when he plays, they win.
Tennessee Titans' Matt Hasselbeck picks 49ers to win Super Bowl
Tennessean | Jan 28