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Oh, Brother: 49ers-Ravens is Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh

POSTED November 23, 2011 5:25 p.m.

Oh, Brother.
No, not Jim Harbaugh against John Harbaugh in the first NFL head coaching matchup of brothers, a Thanksgiving night treat in Baltimore. We mean the slump Pro Picks has hit, including its worst mark against the spread last weekend — 4-8-1.
Maybe the cure will come with some of the enticing games on this week’s schedule.
Most enticing, of course, is rookie coach Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers visiting his older sibling’s Ravens.
“It’s an amazing thing. To say that you’re not thinking about it probably wouldn’t be real,” John said. “It’s a historic thing, it’s very special. I couldn’t be more proud for our parents or for Jim. I just think it’s really neat.”
Both teams lead their divisions, the Ravens (7-3) in the AFC North, the 49ers (9-1) in the NFC West. San Francisco has won eight in a row, but Baltimore is a 3 1/2-point favorite.
The Ravens haven’t lost at home in five outings, while the Niners haven’t lost in four road games — all in the Eastern time zone.
The NFL couldn’t ask for a better primetime showcase — at least for fans who have NFL Network or live in the Baltimore and San Francisco areas.
“We know it’s going to be emotional, we’re just not sure what emotions we’re going to experience,” said Jack Harbaugh, the father and a longtime football coach. “It’s such uncharted waters. We’ve experienced it in this business being married for 50 years and coaching 43 years myself. And football and basketball and all the other things we’ve had in our family. This is such uncharted waters to see two in our family competing at this level on this stage.”
San Francisco has been the league’s most balanced team, with a defense that, at least this year, can rival Baltimore’s. ... UPSET SPECIAL: 49ERS, 19-16

The picks:

Cleveland (plus 7 1/2) at Cincinnati —
Bengals must beat the dregs to keep playoff hopes alive. ... BEST BET: BENGALS, 20-6
Miami (plus 7) at Dallas, Thursday — Not the dud it looked like a month ago. ... COWBOYS, 24-14
Green Bay (minus 6) at Detroit, Thursday — Lots of people think Packers’ run stops here. We don’t. ... PACKERS, 37-27
Carolina (minus 4) at Indianapolis — We didn’t have the guts to pick Pack to lose. We will go out on this limb. ... COLTS, 13-10
New York Giants (plus 7) at New Orleans — Giants give best efforts against top competition. Saints fit that bill. ... SAINTS, 27-24
Chicago (plus 3 1/2) at Oakland — Don’t discount Bears without Cutler. Defense and special teams are tough. ... BEARS, 16-14
Pittsburgh (minus 10) at Kansas City — Tyler Palko played for Pitt Panthers. Not quite like playing for or against Steelers. ... STEELERS, 24-9
Buffalo (plus 8) at New York Jets — Both teams left in Patriots’ wake. ... JETS, 20-13
Houston (minus 3) at Jacksonville — Matt Leinart gets his shot. Look for lots of handoffs. ... TEXANS, 20-13
Minnesota (plus 9 1/2) at Atlanta — Time for Falcons to make a statement. ... FALCONS, 31-13
Tampa Bay (plus 3) at Tennessee — Time for Chris Johnson to make a statement. ... TITANS, 20-14
Washington (plus 4 1/2) at Seattle — Seahawks seem to have found something, albeit much too late. ... SEAHAWKS, 17-14
Denver (plus 6 1/2) at San Diego — Tebow bandwagon heads to Mission Bay. We’re on it — sort of. ... CHARGERS, 19-16
New England (OFF) at Philadelphia — Toughest remaining opponent for Patriots, and Eagles aren’t that tough. ... PATRIOTS, 27-20
Arizona (OFF) at St. Louis — A good game to have no line on. But we must make a pick. ... RAMS, 13-10

RECORD
Against spread
: 4-8-1 (overall 81-67-4); straight up 9-5 (overall 104-56).
Best Bet: 2-9 against spread, 6-5 straight up.
Upset Special: 8-3 against spread, 6-5 straight up.

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