We have finally reached the final week of the 2012-13 NFL Season, as we continue our countdown to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. This game will continue to be broken down and analyzed with the same angles in mind: the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other, the special skill-set of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the pending retirement of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. However, in this article I will attempt to present a different angle to view this Sunday's game from: that the Baltimore Ravens are this year's version of a "team of destiny" and will win Super Bowl XLVII, just like the 2011 New York Giants.

At first glance, I know most of you are thinking I'm nuts for jumping to such a conclusion and putting it out there for public consumption. However, just basic research about each team's "Road to the Super Bowl" provides some eerily similar statistics for the 2012 Ravens and the 2011 Giants:

  • Regular Season overall record: Ravens were 10-6, the Giants were 9-7.
  • Regular Season record at "halfway point": Both teams were 6-2 through their first eight games of the season.
  • Regular Season losing streaks: Ravens lost three straight and 4 of their last 5, while the 2011 Giants lost four in a row and 5 out of 6 games during one stretch.
  • Clinching Divisional Titles: Ravens won a big home vs. the Giants to clinch the AFC North in Week 16, while the 2011 Giants won games at MetLife Stadium against the Jets and Cowboys the final two weeks to win the NFC East.
  • Home/Road Splits: The 2012 Ravens went 4-4 on the road and 6-2 at home, while the 2011 Giants went 5-3 on the road and 4-4 at home.
  • Playoff Seeding: Both teams were #4-seeds in their playoff brackets.
  • Playoff Betting Lines: The 2012 Ravens were considered "big underdogs" in the Divisional Round at Denver and the Conference Championship at New England. Meanwhile, the 2011 Giants were "big underdogs" in the Divisional Round at Green Bay and "mild underdogs" at San Francisco.
  • Super Bowl Betting Line: Both teams are/were considered "mild underdogs" by about a field goal to their respective opponents.

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to comparing the 2012 Ravens and the 2011 Giants side-by-side. However, as the cheap late-night infomercial hosts say, "But wait, there's more!" Let's compare the playoff statistics of the two starting quarterbacks, Joe Flacco of the 2012 Ravens and Eli Manning of the 2011 Giants:

  • Wild Card Round: Manning went 23-for-32 with 277 yards passing, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 24-2 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Flacco went 12-for-23 with 282 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Divisional Round: Manning went 21-for-33 with 330 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception during a 37-20 win at the Packers. Flacco went 18-for-34 with 331 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-35 victory in double-overtime in Denver.
  • Conference Championship Round: Manning led a pass-heavy offense by going 32-for-58 with 316 yards passing, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 20-17 overtime victory at San Francisco. Flacco wrapped up the AFC Title with a 21-for-36 outing, 240 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 28-13 victory at New England.
  • Playoff Totals: Entering the Giants' victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 46, Manning had 923 yards passing with eight touchdowns and only one interception. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be free agent Flacco is entering Super Bowl 47 with playoff totals of 853 yards passing, eight touchdown and zero interceptions.

Back when this season was about to start in early September, Bruce Jacobs and I both had a Baltimore - San Francisco match-up in Super Bowl XLVII, but we have one distinct difference: Bruce took the Niners and I took the Ravens. I have stood by my preseason pick the entire season, and I believe these inside statistics only further solidify my stance that the Ravens will take the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to "Charm City."

However, this brings up an interesting question about sports: do you believe in such a thing as "destiny" in pro sports? Feel free to comment on this question, as well as anything else within this article, down below in the comments section. Meanwhile, enjoy your Super Bowl 47 parties and good luck with your squares!