First, the contest. At the bottom of the post the five of us predict the games involving the Raiders and 49ers and a “Game of the Week” against the spread. For your chance to win a free large pizza (any toppings) from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, pick all three of those games (Raiders/Saints, 49ers/Bears, Pats/Colts) against the spread.

Now you all can see how hard picking games against the spread truly is.

(Watch, we’ll probably get five people who hit on all three games.)

The person who does best wins, if there’s a tiebreaker I’ll draw a winner randomly. Good luck on our BASG/Amici’s three-team parlay!

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
**Bills won 19-14**
Bay Area Sports GuyDolphins
East Bay Sports GuyDolphins
Bay Area Stats GuyDolphins
Ruthless Sports Guy: Bills
Bay Area Duck GuyDolphins

Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys (-9)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Browns
East Bay Sports Guy: Browns
Bay Area Stats Guy: Browns
Ruthless Sports Guy: Browns
Bay Area Duck Guy: Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-16.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Texans
East Bay Sports Guy: Texans
Bay Area Stats Guy: Texans
Ruthless Sports Guy: Jaguars
Bay Area Duck Guy: Jaguars

New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams (-3.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Jets
East Bay Sports Guy: Rams
Bay Area Stats Guy: Jets
Ruthless Sports Guy: Rams
Bay Area Duck Guy: Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (PK)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Buccaneers
East Bay Sports Guy: Panthers
Bay Area Stats Guy: Panthers
Ruthless Sports Guy: Buccaneers
Bay Area Duck Guy: Panthers

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons (-10.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Falcons
East Bay Sports Guy: Cardinals
Bay Area Stats Guy: Cardinals
Ruthless Sports Guy: Cardinals
Bay Area Duck Guy: Cardinals

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions
Bay Area Sports Guy: Packers
East Bay Sports Guy: Packers
Bay Area Stats Guy: Packers
Ruthless Sports Guy: Lions
Bay Area Duck Guy: Packers

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

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Bay Area Sports Guy: Bengals
East Bay Sports Guy: Bengals
Bay Area Stats Guy: Bengals
Ruthless Sports Guy: Bengals
Bay Area Duck Guy: Bengals

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos (-8.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Broncos
East Bay Sports Guy: Chargers
Bay Area Stats Guy: Broncos
Ruthless Sports Guy: Chargers
Bay Area Duck Guy: Broncos 

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Bay Area Sports Guy: Steelers
East Bay Sports Guy: Ravens
Bay Area Stats Guy: Ravens
Ruthless Sports Guy: Ravens
Bay Area Duck Guy: Ravens 

***

New Orleans Saints (-4.5) @ Oakland Raiders

Bay Area Sports GuyThat blowout loss in Baltimore taught me a lesson, one I’ve learned a few times. Don’t pick the Raiders under any circumstances. Oh wait, the Raiders’ struggles are the fault of John Harbaugh because he ran a fake FG that worked to perfection with OVER 20 MINUTES LEFT, which led to Alex Smith getting concussed due to KARMA. It couldn’t be because the Raiders can’t tackle. Pick: Saints

East Bay Sports GuyOakland’s recent struggles can be summed up in one word: Defense. Over the last two games, they’ve allowed 934 yards of total offense and 97 total points. That’s dumbfounding. Is it possible for them to turn it around against Drew Brees and the Saints? Sure. Will they? No. Pick: Saints

Bay Area Stats GuyI have the Saints favored by 7 points, even on the road. My model says that the Saints should win the game about 70 percent of the time, and in most of those the margin is by over 10 points. In all honestly after last week this line would need to be in the double digits to make me want to take the Raiders. I feel pretty good with this pick. Pick: Saints

Ruthless Sports Guy: Both teams are tops in the league in passing attempts and bottom of the league in team defense. This game should be a shootout, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it came down to the final drive to decide it. This doesn’t mean that I’m overlooking the Saints, because I think they’re better than their record indicates, but I think that the Raiders can hang with them at home and keep the score reasonably close. Pick: Raiders

Bay Area Duck Guy: The Saints really look like they’re starting to figure some things out. The Raiders, on the other hand… I don’t know what to make of them. It’s at home, so I could see Carson Palmer making something happen. But without Darren McFadden, who is doubtful for the game, Oakland’s running game will suffer. Pick: Saints

***

The last time the 49ers and Bears met, on a Thursday night in 2009.

Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (-5)

Bay Area Sports GuyJay Cutler’s rich and famous, has a cannon for an arm and may or may not be going out with that girl from Laguna Hills at the moment, but the 49ers have to be a little bummed that he’s officially out for this game. The Niners picked Cutler off five times the last team these teams played, a game I attended back in 2010 where nearly 10% of the crowd seemed to be wearing Mike Singletary jerseys. Even Michael Lewis and Mark freaking Roman each intercepted Cutler, and they might be the worst safeties tandem in franchise history. Anyway, the 49ers looked pretty awful against the Rams, especially defensively, and that usually means a good response the following week. Pick: 49ers

East Bay Sports GuyAs I noted last week about the Bears, I think they are overrated. Other than their defeat of the Colts in week 1, the Bears haven’t defeated an above .500 team. With Jason Campbell out for the game, the odds of that changing are slim. For the Bears to win the game, they’d need to follow the template set by Minnesota, New York, and St. Louis. Which is to say, they’d need to get the lead early, thereby forcing the 49ers away from their run-first mentality. With Jason Campell under center, that won’t happen. This means the Bears defense, which has allowed 4.8 yards per carry on the road, will be chasing Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter all night. Pick: 49ers

Bay Area Stats GuyThis has low scoring slug fest written all over it, both quarterbacks might not play, two strong defenses, both teams coming back from tough games wanting to prove something. I like the 49ers to win more than the lose (55 percent of the 10,000 simulations) but the average margin of victory is just 3 points. I hope the 49ers are able to pull out a close victory. Pick: Bears

Ruthless Sports GuyI imagine that the 49ers’ quarterback situation will stay in flux until about 20 minutes before game time, while the Bears have announced that Cutler is out. Regardless, the 49ers play a style very similar to the Texans, who took care of the Bears in Chicago last Sunday night. They should rebound well against the Bears at home on national television. Pick: 49ers

Bay Area Duck Guy: This game will be very telling for San Francisco. The Bears are coming off a home loss to the Texans, and this game is even more important for the playoffs. Carlos Rogers and the San Francisco secondary haven’t been near as impressive this year, especially against the Rams. But as BASG pointed out in the last BASGcast, Jay Cutler threw five interceptions against the 49ers last time these two teams met. Home field advantage hasn’t been near as important to the 49ers this year, but something tells me San Francisco won’t blow it (unless it’s a transformer, that is) on national television, regardless of who starts at Quarterback. If the offense can limit the turnovers against the takeaway-happy Chicago defense, the 49ers will come out on top. Pick: 49ers

***

GAME OF THE WEEK:
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots (-10)

Bay Area Sports Guy: Interesting that both teams are 6-3 and have allowed 201 points, but New England has scored 113 more points than Indianapolis. The Patriots seem to have been pacing themselves all year, but this game will garner a lot of attention and provides a good excuse for the Pats to actually try. Pick: Patriots

East Bay Sports GuyThis will open a new chapter in the Indianapolis/New England rivalry. In era of Peyton, the Colts managed to beat the Patriots just seven times in 20 meetings. In the 11 games played in New England, the Colts managed just two victories. My pick for the Colts isn’t based on what I think will happen. Clearly, the Patriots are the better team. It is, instead, based on what I want to happen, how I’d like to see the new narrative being written in Indianapolis proceed. Pick: Colts

Bay Area Stats GuyI don’t think Chukstrong and Andrew Luck will be enough to beat the Patriots in New England. The model has the Patriots by 14 points and winning over 75 percent of the time. It would be a pretty big upset if this is a one score game at the end. Pick: Patriots

Ruthless Sports Guy: This is probably the easiest underdog to take all weekend. The Colts have been fantastic this season, and this line looks like something that a casual fan drew up based on last year’s Colts and the power of the Patriots name. Indianapolis may not win, but I don’t see them getting throttled by the Patriots, even if the game is in Foxboro. Pick: Colts

Bay Area Duck Guy: Sure, the Patriots are playing at home and Tom Brady always does well there. But I’m a believer in Andrew Luck. He’s progressing just fine, and with a spread like this he’ll make something happen. The Colts may not win (Brady probably will probably carve up the Indy’s secondary), but Luck will cover the spread. Pick: Colts