I’m going to make this short because I already wrote about Colin Kaepernick getting the starting nod last night and I’m on chef detail today. I brined the turkey, so hopefully that works out. At least we know the mashed potatoes will be good, because those are impossible to screw up.

Instead of a “what I’m thankful for” post, you’re getting some NFL picks and a hearty “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Just one thing before we get started — our friends at 49erswebzone poked fun on Wednesday afternoon, saying we need to get on their level when it comes to NFL prognostications. However, picking games against the spread is slightly harder than predicting winners straight up. That’s what I’ll cling to while my record hovers below .500, anyway.

Turkey Day

Houston Texans (-3.5) @ Detroit Lions
Bay Area Sports Guy: Texans
East Bay Sports Guy: Texans
Bay Area Stats Guy: Lions
Ruthless Sports Guy: Texans
Bay Area Duck Guy: Texans

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Cowboys
East Bay Sports Guy: Redskins
Bay Area Stats Guy: Cowboys
Ruthless Sports Guy: Cowboys
Bay Area Duck Guy: Redskins

New England Patriots (-7) @ New York Jets
Bay Area Sports Guy: Jets
East Bay Sports Guy: Patriots
Bay Area Stats Guy: Patriots
Ruthless Sports Guy: Patriots
Bay Area Duck Guy: Patriots

Sunday

Denver Broncos (-11.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Bay Area Sports Guy: Broncos
East Bay Sports Guy: Broncos
Bay Area Stats Guy: Broncos
Ruthless Sports Guy: Chiefs
Bay Area Duck Guy: Broncos

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Bay Area Sports Guy: Jaguars
East Bay Sports Guy: Jaguars
Bay Area Stats Guy: Jaguars
Ruthless Sports Guy: Jaguars
Bay Area Duck Guy: Jaguars

Buffalo Bills @ Indianapolis Colts (-3)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Colts
East Bay Sports Guy: Bills
Bay Area Stats Guy: Bills
Ruthless Sports Guy: Colts
Bay Area Duck Guy: Colts

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) @ Cleveland Browns
Bay Area Sports Guy: Steelers
East Bay Sports Guy: Browns
Bay Area Stats Guy: Steelers
Ruthless Sports Guy: Steelers
Bay Area Duck Guy: Browns

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Bay Area Sports Guy: Dolphins
East Bay Sports Guy: Seahawks
Bay Area Stats Guy: Seahawks
Ruthless Sports Guy: Dolphins
Bay Area Duck Guy: Seahawks

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PK)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Buccaneers
East Bay Sports Guy: Falcons
Bay Area Stats Guy: Falcons
Ruthless Sports Guy: Falcons
Bay Area Duck Guy: Falcons 

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers (PK)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Ravens
East Bay Sports Guy: Chargers
Bay Area Stats Guy: Ravens
Ruthless Sports Guy: Ravens
Bay Area Duck Guy: Ravens

St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (-1)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Cardinals
East Bay Sports Guy: Rams
Bay Area Stats Guy: Cardinals
Ruthless Sports Guy: Cardinals
Bay Area Duck Guy: Cardinals

Carolina Panthers @ Philadelphia Eagles (-0.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Panthers
East Bay Sports Guy: Panthers
Bay Area Stats Guy: Panthers
Ruthless Sports Guy: Panthers
Bay Area Duck Guy: Panthers

***

Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals (-9.5)

Bay Area Sports Guy: Who are the Raiders playing? The team they made that horrible trade with? The team that now employs Hue Jackson, their head coach from last year? Here’s what Marvin Lewis said about having Hue around: “He has a lot of insight to most of the (Raiders) players. The players haven’t changed that much.” Pick: Bengals

East Bay Sports GuyThis spread is a bit high, but the Raiders have lost their last three by a combined total of 66 points. The Raiders haven’t won in the Eastern time zone since 2009. But that’s not the worst of it: they’ve only won there five times since 2005. Couple that with the fact that over their last three games, Cincinnati’s average scoring margin is +10.7, and you’ve got a recipe for a blowout. Pick: Bengals

Bay Area Stats GuyThe model continues to hate the Raiders. I have them losing by 12 points with the most common margin being 10 points. It isn’t a slam dunk and the Raiders may get a garbage time cover but I really don’t see them winning this game at all. Pick: Bengals

Ruthless Sports Guy: One day I swear I’ll stop picking the Raiders, but today won’t be that day. If their defense would just settle down and get a stop every once in a while, it would give Carson Palmer just enough of a window to keep the score close. I don’t think the Raiders win, but I do think they cover the 8 points. Pick: Raiders

Bay Area Duck Guy: Alright, Oakland, this is the game you show up for. It’s been a love-hate relationship for me with Oakland all season long, but for some reason I feel like the Raiders will make this game close. Carson Palmer and the boys may not win, but they could definitely take a nine and a half point spread against the Bengals and do what they did against the Falcons. If they can stop the run game entirely and force Andy Dalton to make every throw, this is a close game. Pick: Raiders

***

San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints (PK)

Bay Area Sports GuyIt isn’t exactly official, but it looks like Colin Kaepernick will start. At this point you have to figure that Jim Harbaugh looks at the NFC Divisional Game as an example of how bad the Saints’ defense is, not an example of how Alex Smith rose to the occasion. Besides who’ll cover the spread, here’s another prediction: Michael Crabtree is going to go insane this game after hearing Gregg Williams call him a “fake ass primadonna” on that audio clip from before these two teams faced in the playoffs. Pick: 49ers

East Bay Sports GuyOnly the Buffalo Bills allow more yards-per-carry than the New Orleans Saints. And, we know what happened in that game. The Saints’ run defense is currently giving up 162 yards-per-game at home. Since Harbaugh took over, the 49ers 17-0-1 in games when they eclipse 100 yards rushing. So, while I realize the Saints are surging, I think the 49ers’ running attack will handle them easily. Pick: 49ers

Bay Area Stats GuyIt’s tough because as of when I am writing this there still hasn’t been an announcement on who will be quarterbacking for the 49ers. That being said my model doesn’t really care who is the 49ers quarterback because it like the 49ers in this game either way. The model says 49ers by 6 points winning about 60 percent of the time. Pick: 49ers

Ruthless Sports GuyDon’t ask me why, but this game just feels like one that the 49ers will lose. The Saints have been coming on strong lately and New Orleans is a tough place to play for any offense, let alone one like the 49ers, currently in the midst of a quarterback transition. Pick: Saints

Bay Area Duck Guy: There will be a lot of bad blood in this game, and after what the 49ers did to Chicago on Monday Night Football there’s no way you can pick against them. Whether you’re Team Kaep or Team Smith (BASGcast plug), the San Francisco defense was extremely impressive against the Bears. The NFL’s top scoring defense held the Bears to seven points and kept Matt Forte in check all night long. Sure, that game was against Jason Campbell at quarterback, not Drew Brees. But San Francisco’s pass defense is ready for Brees and the offense should easily score on New Orleans after they shredded the Bears (the No. 2 scoring defense) Monday. Pick: 49ers

***

GAME OF THE WEEK:
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants (-2.5)

Bay Area Sports GuyIt’s about time for the Giants to start giving a crap about this season, and Clay Matthews very well might miss his second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Add home field advantage to the equation and… Pick: Giants

East Bay Sports GuyOver the past three games, Eli Manning has struggled, to say the least. He’s averaging only 5.0 yards-per-attempt, which is the fourth lowest in the league. His 54% completion percentage over that time is also the fourth worst. Meanwhile Green Bay’s offense is firing on all cylinders. They haven’t lost a game since week 5, while averaging 353 total yards per game on the road. If the Giants hope to win, they’ll need a stellar game from Manning. Given his recent performances, I don’t feel comfortable picking the Giants to do anything other than lose. Pick: Packers

Bay Area Stats GuyI Giants are coming off two pretty bad games (and a bye) the Packers have won 5 straight and look like a very good team. To be honest I am surprised that the Giants are favorites in this one. My model says the Packers should be 2.5 favorites not 2.5 point underdogs. I’ll take the Packers to win this game outright. Pick: Packers

Ruthless Sports Guy: I hate picking the Giants to win anything but I think this is the week they bounce back. The Packers are depleted defensively and have no real running back to speak of. The Giants have a fierce pass rush, a balanced offense and a quarterback to match Aaron Rodgers. The over/under is 50 on this game, and even though I don’t gamble, parlaying Giants and the over looks tasty right now. Pick: Giants

Bay Area Duck Guy: I just think Aaron Rodgers is really, really adorable in those State Farm commercials. Discount Double Check! Kills me every time… Pick: Packers