SANTA CLARA — Lots of well-intentioned, reasonable people expect the 49ers to lose this game.
Nothing against the 49ers, but they’re playing in Baltimore against the Ravens, who are 5½-point favorites. They have the MVP frontrunner, quarterback Lamar Jackson. And the Ravens played on Monday Night Football just a few days ago and won 45-6. Lots of well-intentioned, reasonable people remember that game. It’s fresh in their minds. That’s why they’re picking Baltimore.
The Ravens have the NFL’s No. 1 offense, but the 49ers have the NFL’s No. 1 defense. They’re two elite teams on the way up, possibly the two best teams in the league. This could be the most important game of the season. Something very important will happen.
Here’s what the 49ers must do to beat the Ravens, and prove those well-intentioned, reasonable people wrong: