They only come out at night—these picks that is.






[caption id="attachment_67" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo Credit: Steve Manick"][/caption]

“On a field, sable, the letter A, gules.”

The Scarlett Letter’s last line. 

Whereas I don’t feel that dirty, I feel unclean, nevertheless.

Week Fourteen did not go well for me—at 4-12 Against the Spread—but the night brings many things: Like the promise of a new day, or the hope that the sun will come out and brighten the darkest black. I’m still batting above .500 (105-95-7), this far into the season, so I’ll get back to the point. These picks only come out at night. The Oakland Raiders pick the only exception to the rule.

Detroit @ Oakland (+1 ½) leads this piece because wild horses couldn’t drag me away from this team of California; they’re just too interesting for words to describe. Predicting the Oakland Raiders this season has not been easy, but following the story has been entirely too much fun: Full of pain and misery; joy and grace; tears of sadness; songs of praise; as well as the weight of a heartbreak: The fact that the 2011-2012 season can only happen once. The Lions may make the playoffs, but not much further than that. Meanwhile the Oakland Raiders could—and should—win out (betting lines notwithstanding), and make a ton of noise in the tournament.

Jacksonville (+11 ½) @ Atlanta kicks off Week Fifteen for the NFL this Thursday. I know the pick doesn’t look appealing. But did you see what the Jaguars did to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week? Neither team will be able to shake that occurrence for the rest of the duration of this season. More on Tampa later, because this game’s in the Georgia Dome, and that means this contest of smash-mouth football will be determined by the running attacks. The Jags are at full gallop; therefore, take the points—and worry not about the outcome of this game. Just enjoy the green—artificial turf or not.

Dallas (-7) @ Tampa. There’s little that needs to be said here. Dallas is sad for losing the past two weeks; Tampa is depressed for their seven-game losing skid. The Cowboys are on Prime-Time Television for a reason. They’re ready for it; the Bucs are not.

Baltimore (-3) @ San Diego may have you wondering why I’d even go near this game. But I tell you this: The Ravens are scary good. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, and that Western-Pennsylvania Football Icon has Super Bowl potential. This might only qualify as a part-time night contest, yet I hope you’ll let it slide, for this pick just feels right. Sunday Night Football. Ravens over Chargers. (Not-so-silent cheer as Raider Nation erupts after all the AFC West teams loose, except their-own, of course.) Money in the bank.

Pittsburgh (+2 ½) @ San Francisco is the Game of the Week—without a doubt. The Forty-Niners are a good football team (emphasis on team, not the individual players), but the Steelers are a down-right monster. Check the prior pick for the reason why, yet recall what the Ravens did to the team from San Francisco a few weeks ago first; and then, check how competitive the last war between the AFC-North titans—Baltimore/Pittsburgh II—was.

Collect in the morning, and I’ll keep the free gambling advice coming. Hopefully I won’t have to apologize next week either.

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