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Nate Silver's Super Bowl pick: What do the numbers say about the Ravens and 49ers?

When Nate Silver speaks, everyone should listen.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few weeks, you have probably read more Super Bowl predictions than you care to admit. But make some time to read one more.

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Nate Silver, one of the world's most famous statisticians, has crunched the numbers and is ready to weigh in on the Super Bowl. Most famous for his political predictions, Silver has proven to have the ability to use stats to figure out how events will play out.

For the Super Bowl, Silver is sticking with the age-old adage that defense wins championships. Silver used Pro Football Reference's Simple Rating System, which gauges the effectiveness of an offense or defense based on the number of points scored or allowed relative to the league average and adjusted for strength of schedule.

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According to that rating system, the teams with the most dominant defenses have won the Super Bowl more often than not. This year, by the Simple Rating System standards, the 49ers have both the higher ranked defense and the higher ranked offense, which would seem to make them the obvious choice. Silver isn't wrong very often, so his pick of the 49ers can be taken seriously.