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49ers vs. Ravens Thanksgiving Night Football Pick with Analysis

11/24/11

The Ravens host the 49ers on Thanksgiving Night in a highly anticipated matchup between the Harbaugh brothers. Talk about a night cap! This game is without a doubt one of the best matchups of the entire NFL season to date. Both teams are Super Bowl contenders. This would be a big one without the added drama of brother vs. brother, but hey, what a nice twist. Thanksgiving, family, this is a script that could have been written in Hollywood. The Ravens are a -3.5 home favorite here, or 3 -125, with a total of 39.

If we throw out all the stats for a minute, and just take the opinion of someone who has watched the NFL closely for 35 years or so (me), it would seem as though when looking at these two teams, it's the 49ers that have the characteristics of  a Super Bowl team. Consistency is the word that comes to mind.  They give the same solid performance week in and week out. There's no down spots, and they do it with a fantastic defense. After giving up 23 points in a win at Philly they haven't given up more than 20 in a game since and they are beating good and bad teams. More importantly, they beat the bad teams the way you would expect, such as shutting down and dominating the Cards last week.

The Ravens are missing that consistency. They lose to the Jags one week and follow that up by getting blown of the field in the 1st half against the Cards. Sure, give them credit for coming back and winning that one, but it's a pattern of losing focus that scares us. Then they beat the Steelers only to lose to Seattle the following week. Back up again last week beating the Bengals (barely) so who knows what to expect from this team this week?

The stats tell us these two teams are just about dead even. Both averaging 26 points per game, San Fran giving up 15 points per game and the Ravens giving up 18. Yards per point numbers see the 49ers with the best in the NFL at 12.4 on offense and 21.5 on defense while the Ravens weigh in with a 13.2 and a 17. Using those numbers to make a line, the 49ers would be favored by a field goal even after allowing for home field advantage. Our NFL model would agree as well, predicting a final score of 20-20.

This game has last second field goal written all over it. We'll gladly back what we feel is the better, more consistent football team in this spot. The Ravens have given us plenty of reasons to be wary. The 49ers have not. Make sure you get the half point here. 49ers +3.5

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