It’s time for another week of survivor pool strategy, advice and predictions. Whether you have somehow managed to survive this deep into the season with your first pool, or you are on your second or third try, you need to find the best spots you can. Luckily, there are lots of good spots available this week:
Dead easy picks
Patriots vs. Jets
I know that the Jets won last week, but they are still a terrible, terrible team, and I have no faith in them pulling it off twice in a row. Besides, they are taking just a bit of a step up in competition from the Rams to the Patriots.. Picking the best team in the league has been a very fluid target this year, but at this point you could make as good a case for the Patriots as anyone. This may be a rivalry game, but it is also a mismatch and it shouldn’t be that close. The Jets would have a better chance on a full week of preparation, but on a short week their disadvantages will be magnified.
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Denver at Kansas City
The Chiefs are a total and utter mess. They don’t have a quarterback, and aside from running the ball they aren’t doing anything well. Their attitudes are worse than their play, too. Denver, meanwhile, is chugging along and consistently finding ways to win. Manning is playing very well, and he’ll be able to exploit this Chiefs’ defense however he wants to. This one could get ugly, and Denver is very easy to trust here.
Reasonably comfortable Picks
Seattle at Miami
It wasn’t that long ago that I was pretty high on these Dolphins, but that time has definitely passed. Ryan Tannehill looks like a lost puppy in a hailstorm, and the team isn’t playing with the intensity or desire that they were just a few weeks ago. Seattle comes into this one off of a bye week, so they will be rested and prepared. Their defense will exploit Tannehill, and they have enough going on with the offense to come out on top. I’d obviously feel better if this was in Seattle — the Seahawks are just 1-4 on the road — but Pete Carroll’s boys still have a clear edge in this one.
Baltimore at San Diego
The Ravens have played well two games in a row, and they have shown diversity — winning in a blowout two weeks back, and grinding out a tough one last week. Injuries on defense are a concern, but the Chargers are playing with a total absence of heart or pride right now, and the offense s a mess. I wouldn’t trust San Diego against an underwhelming team, so I really don’t trust them against an elite team like Baltimore. The Ravens will score a lot in this one, and should win reasonably easily.
Cincinnati vs. Oakland
I really don’t like the Bengals and don’t like picking them. In this spot, though you can’t argue with them as a choice. Oakland is not playing well. They have issues on both sides of the ball, and they have looked like a team that is just mailing it in. The Bengals could move to 6-5 with a win, and that still keeps things interesting. They should be more motivated, and they are more than capable of winning.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta
The Falcons were the last team in the league to lose, and have an impressive 9-1 record. I’m just not buying into them, though. They only won last week because the Cardinals are terrible. Matt Ryan threw five interceptions, and deserved every one of them. The offense is broken, and Tampa Bay is playing more than well enough to exploit that. The Bucs are playing very tough right now, and their offense is playing with intensity and effectiveness. At home they will be dangerous, and I like the gamble of picking them here. It will make things interesting.
Houston at Detroit
The Lions came very close to beating the Packers last week, while the Texans needed overtime to get past the lowly Jaguars. It might be tempting to some, then, to take a look at the Lions. I wouldn’t. Chad Henne torched the Texans through the air, but he only entered the game when Blaine Gabbert was hurt so Houston wasn’t ready for him. Besides, Henne is a legitimate talent. Houston’s offense is working strong, and Detroit’s isn’t, so if this turns into a shootout the Lions are in trouble. This would be a very comfortable pick if it was in Houston. In Detroit, though, it’s still attractive.
Jacksonville vs. Tennessee
Now this is where we really gamble. I think Chad Henne deserves to be a starter in this league. He’s getting another shot here because Gabbert is still hurt. He’ll have a week to practice with the starters, and I think he’ll make the most of the opportunity. The Titans are certainly vulnerable defensively. I’d be more than willing to gamble that the Jags will pick up their second win.
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