There seems to be 101 great story lines heading into Super Bowl XLVII - unfortunately that has caused some of the game-impacting match-ups to get lost in all the hoopla. One of the match-ups that could really affect this game is the match-up between 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard.
In his 7-year career, Pollard has been one of the more physical, tackling safeties in the league. He packs a powerful punch and seems to love contact. In 13 games with the Ravens this season, Pollard accumulated 98 tackles, which included 2.0 sacks.
Pollard, along with Ed Reed, will have a tremendous challenge with the ultra-athletic Davis.
The 49ers tight end in known for his great size and sprinter speed. He has the ability to outrun linebackers and making big-time catches over safeties. His identity as a hybrid has enabled him to be a conundrum for opposing defenses.
However, with Kaepernick behind center, Davis has been brought down to earth - statistically speaking. He only recently found his groove against the Atlanta Falcons, who were notoriously bad against the TE.
Pollard and Reed, however, are no jokes. One is a future Hall of Famer and the other one is a complementary hammer, here to do the dirty work.
Davis was limited and eventually crushed by a similar-type safety this season, when he met Kam Chancellor in Week 16. The fear for 49ers fans is that the Ravens' safeties have a similar effect. Pollard, as much as any safety in the league, has a presence in the defensive backfield.
The 49ers pass-catchers may be cautious when roaming around his area. The one advantage Davis in particular might have against Pollard is his ability to get open. Davis' speed is arguably his best asset, and Pollard isn't known for his coverage skills or ball hawking ability for that matter.
If Davis channels his superhuman beast mode, he could have the edge in this match-up. He is going to need to be prepared for a physical contest.