Bee staff writer Matthew Barrows hosted an online chat Tuesday about the 49ers and Sunday's Super Bowl against the Ravens. Some highlights:
DAVE IN TX: How do the players seem to you? Overwhelmed? Matter-of-fact? How do you feel they'll handle this crazy week?
BARROWS: So far, so good. Tuesday seemed very overwhelming. I don't know if I could talk for 20 minutes straight, much less an hour. Their plan is to get all the extraneous stuff out of the way early in the week and then start buckling down (today). Players have said they got a lot of work in last week, too.
ROB: Was it news to you that Randy Moss is the best wide receiver of all time?
BARROWS: Yes. I thought I heard a loud throat-clear from Jerry Rice. Then again, I suspect just about every great player thinks he's the best ever. If you asked Frank Gore that question about running backs, and he answered it honestly, I'll bet his answer would be Frank Gore.
KEVIN: It appears that Baltimore may be "enjoying the moment" quite a bit. Have you noticed the same?
BARROWS: Ray Lewis definitely has the biggest spotlight of all the players. (Colin Kaepernick next?) But what else is new? That may end up being a bonus for Baltimore. That is, Lewis will take a lot of the pressure off the other players.
GUEST: Why do you think Alex Smith would bring up in New Orleans his request to be released early? He has been so mature in handling this situation, it really took me aback. It's a distraction the team doesn't need.
BARROWS: He said he didn't, and it would be entirely out of character if he did. Don't believe everything that you read (unless it's on this site!)
HIGHPRIEST333: Better West Virginia athlete, Moss or Jerry West?
BARROWS: Until they fashion the NFL logo after Moss, I'll say West.
MOD DAVE: What's your sense of the 49ers' defense this week? Season stats are strong, but they gave up lots of points to the Patriots, Seahawks, Packers and (in the first half) Falcons. Can they get off the field early in the Super Bowl?
BARROWS: This is a more traditional offense than some of the ones they faced recently. They seem to match up well on paper. But I'm sure the Patriots felt the same way.
A.J.: Who will make the surprise contribution Sunday for either team?
BARROWS: I don't know if this constitutes a surprise, but I think Ahmad Brooks will have a big game. He has roots in Louisiana and came up big the last time the 49ers were here. (An interception returned for a touchdown on Nov. 25). I think Anquan Boldin will have a big game at least six or seven catches for the Ravens.
DEDOS: What's your Super Bowl prediction?
BARROWS: I think it will be 49ers vs. Ravens.
NOONE: Will this game be close? Who wins?
BARROWS: I think it will be close. I think it will be something like 20-18 49ers. I see an oddball score of some sort, maybe a safety.
Check out a replay of Tuesday's entire chat. www.sacbee.com/live