Coach Ron Meyer: Harbaugh Holiday
The NFL was very creative when they brought a family theme to their now annual Thanksgiving Night telecast on their self-owned network. For the first time ever, two siblings will be head coaches against each other in an NFL game when Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers visit John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.
I talked at length recently about the great job Jim is doing with the 49ers. Nothing's changed since then. San Francisco won and covered against the NY Giants just after that article ran, and then won and covered easily last week against Arizona in a game that was more one-sided that the final score would suggest.
Let's look at the Harbaugh brothers in tandem:
STRAIGHT UP: 16-4
The only team with a better record than tonight's two teams is the undefeated Green Bay Packers. They play earlier in the day Thursday on the road against Detroit. In terms of best records across the league, Green Bay is first, San Francisco is second, and Baltimore is tied for third. Amazing stuff from the Harbaugh clan. There won't be a tie tonight unless the game goes five quarters. They'll be 17-5 combined heading into the final month of action.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: 14-4-2
The Niners have either won or pushed every game this season according the widely available numbers. Baltimore has a winning mark themselves at 5-4-1 ATS. Fans of both teams are happy. Fans of San Francisco (and there are A LOT of those in Las Vegas because of Nevada's proximity to California) are ecstatic. They'll split out tonight unless there's a push...whichmeans 15-5-2 for the season and a sparkling 75% record vs. Vegas expecations.
PLAYOFF HOPES: VIRTUALLY CERTAIN
San Francisco has a five-game lead in the NFC West with six games to play. So, they haven't mathematically locked themselves in yet. But, I have seen computer projections online that have them listed at 100% because there's no way they're going to lose out and finish 9-7. Baltimore is currently tied for first with Pittsburgh at 7-3 in the AFC North. But, the Ravens own the tie-breaker with Pittsburgh because of two heads-up victories. Computers have them in the 85-90% range at the moment. Given that Pittsburgh's already off the schedule, it would take a disaster to keep the Ravens out of the postseason.
SUPER BOWL HOPES: DECENT
Hey, if you're talking about two of the three best records in the NFL, then the Super Bowl is a legitimately possibility for both. San Francisco will have its hands full with Green Bay obviously, and any other team that gets hot down the stretch (maybe somebody like Dallas, New Orleans, or the NFC North Wildcard behind Green Bay could do that). Baltimore has yet to figure out how to survive the AFC Playoff wars. They're certainly in the mix with Pittsburgh and New England. Houston's chances took a hit when Matt Schaub got hurt. Maybe somebody like the Jets will get hot again and have a playoff impact.
I've seen Super Bowl projections showing a 4-6% chance of a HARBAUGH REMATCH in the big game...meaning that Thursday's family affair has a 1 in 20 chance of being a Super Bowl preview.
I mentioned in that earlier article that Jim Harbaugh was winning with very conservative mistake-free play that's allowing the teams strengths to shine. John Harbaugh in Baltimore is actually trying to open things up this year. You just can't win the AFC without downfield explosiveness. The Ravens now have downfield receiving threats and are throwing a few bombs a game hoping to make big plays.
In a way, San Francisco is who Baltimore used to be...while Baltimore is trying to add another dimension to their attack that will help them go the distance. It will be interesting to watch this marquee TV matchup in that light.
I will have a few very strong opinions in Thanksgiving football based on my read of all eight coaches who will be on the sidelines (three NFL games and one college game). You can purchase those right here at the website. Note that I've had some 4-0 sweeps and a few 3-1 days in recent weekend action! I have great rates for the rest of my full season LOCKER ROOM service too. Complete details are available at 1-877-540-8787.
Be sure you check back each day this weekend for:
FRIDAY: My SEC Shocker in Arkansas-LSU
SATURDAY: My Rivalry Grand Slam
SUNDAY: My weekly NFL Grand Slam
MONDAY: My holiday football finale with Giants/Saints on ESPN
During Thanksgiving Weekend, you want family at the table...friends on your couch...and A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!
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