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Thursday Night Football: Harbaugh Family Clash Will Be Top Thanksgiving Day Game

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18:   Head Coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens yells at the officials during a game against the Tennessee Titans at the LP Field on September 18, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Titans defeated the Ravens 26 to 13.   (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIINovember 18, 2011

When you and your family are busy stuffing your faces with turkey and stuffing, don’t you want to see Jim and John Harbaugh duel it out as Jim’s San Francisco 49ers take on John’s Baltimore Ravens?

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 27:  Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Ima
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Niners and Ravens will meet on Nov. 24—Thanksgiving Day—in the first meeting between head coaching brothers in NFL history.

Ken Murray of the Baltimore Sun reported that when younger brother Jim was hired on Jan. 7, 2011, they became the first brothers to serve as head coaches in the league.

However, few could have expected the success that the little brother would have in 2011, making this a blockbuster fitting of its holiday billing.

It would not have been farfetched to pick the Niners to win the weak NFC West before the year.

However, an 8-1 start with wins over the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and New York Giants would have been the ballsiest of all predictions in the preseason.

The other games on the slate on Thanksgiving Day are Green Bay at Detroit—as per tradition—and Miami at Dallas. Both have the potential to be quality games, but they don’t have the “human interest” pull that’s offered in the “Battle of the Harbaughs.”

John will lead the very talented Ravens into battle, but a couple of bad losses have diminished the power Baltimore could be carrying right now. A win over Cincinnati in Week 11 would help build confidence for the older brother, but it will be one they’ll have to get without Ray Lewis.

Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that Lewis will miss Sunday’s game with a lingering toe injury.

This Thanksgiving matchup’s biggest intrigue has to be how well the brothers know each other. Will they be able to use their personal knowledge of their sibling to predict how they’ll coach the game?

Both teams have a top-tier running back and a strong defense. In fact, both teams also have a quarterback that’s been put under a microscope due to inconsistency.

Does it surprise you how similar their teams are built?

It’s almost like they’re coached by the same person.

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