Do you know who will win the Super Bowl in New Orleans this weekend? If you're a San Francisco 49ers or Baltimore Ravens fan, I can venture a guess as to who you might choose. But let's put aside your bias for a moment.
Using the video game Madden NFL '13, EA ran a mock game featuring the 49ers and Ravens to determine who would take home the Vince Lombardi trophy. If you think the prediction is hogwash, you're probably correct on some levels (it is just a video game, after all), but it's worth noting that the annual simulation resulted in correct predictions for seven out of the last nine Super Bowl showdowns. Such accuracy must mean something, right? EA summarizes the first few quarters:
Both the Ravens and 49ers were held to first-quarter field goals as the two top-10 defenses imposed their will to start the game. But any illusions of a low-scoring affair were shattered in the second quarter when the 49ers' Frank Gore scored on a 19-yard run and Joe Flacco quickly answered with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith. Later in the quarter, Baltimore added a Ray Rice touchdown run to secure a 17-10 halftime lead.
The Ravens continued to pour it on in the third quarter, with Joe Flacco tossing a 24-yard strike to Anquan Boldin to stretch the Baltimore lead to 14. San Francisco refused to go quietly though, getting an early fourth quarter touchdown from Frank Gore and adding a game-tying 12-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis just before the two-minute warning. Baltimore wasn't about to let the 49ers spoil Ray Lewis' retirement party though, methodically moving the ball down the field on the back of Ray Rice and capping the drive with a 40-yard field goal from rookie kicker Justin Tucker to push the Ravens ahead 27-24.
With 10 seconds remaining in the Madden Super Bowl, a spectacular interception by Ravens safety Ed Reed shut down a Hail Mary pass from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to win the game. Madden NFL '13 predicts that the Ravens should beat the 49ers 27 to 24 (with Ravens QB Joe Flacco taking MVP honors), but these Madden Super Bowl simulations never get the score right -- it just accurately predicted the winner in those seven correct simulations.
While we have to wait for the real Super Bowl to see the actual winner, at least some Ravens fans out there can sleep a little more soundly before the Big Game knowing they've won it all in Madden.