By this point in the year there aren’t likely very many — if any — people still alive on their original survivor pool. Second chance pools are getting more and more popular, though, so as we get into the final weeks of the season the pressure to finish strong and redeem your earlier loss with a win now mounts. To help you get the season-ending payoff here is some survivor pools strategy advice and predictions for this week.
What’s interesting about this week is that there aren’t the clearly obvious picks that there have been in recent weeks. Only two games have lopsided spreads of a touchdown or more, and I don’t like either of them. Miami is a seven-point favorite over Jacksonville. The Jaguars have not been good, but Miami isn’t good enough to trust, either. Indianapolis is a 9.5-point underdog at Houston. The Texans should win, but the Colts just keep finding ways to win, and they have a lot on the line in terms of their playoff future in this one so they will be motivated.
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With no truly brainless picks this week, we are left to gamble. Thankfully, even though this is perhaps the toughest week of the season so far in terms of survivor pools, there are still some interesting games to choose from:
The most attractive
Seattle vs. Buffalo - This game takes place in Toronto instead of Buffalo, so a good portion of the home field advantage the Bills may have enjoyed won’t exist here. It also means that the game will be played indoors instead of in a deep freeze, so the Seahawks will be more comfortable than they could be. The Bills have struggled and just aren’t that impressive right now. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have won two straight, are in a good spot in a tough playoff chase, and have a lot going for them. The Seahawks were close to flawless in their comical 58-0 massacre of the Cardinals last week and are more than capable of winning this one easily as well. I’m a little concerned by their pathetic 2-5 road record, but they still should be in good position in this one.
Detroit at Arizona - The Lions are not very good, and they came from ahead to lose their fifth straight in ugly fashion last week. As bad as they have been, though, they look great compared to the Cardinals. Arizona lost 58-0, and that score was flattering. My son is only two and a half years old, but at this point he could play QB for this team as well as anyone has this year. It should be impossible that a team with Larry Fitzgerald could be this bad on offense, but they are. Arizona has lost nine straight and has unquestionably quit on the season. If Detroit can’t win this one then there is really no hope for them.
Could be worth a gamble
Green Bay at Chicago - The Bears are a strong 5-2 at home, while Green Bay is just 3-3 on the road. Still, I have to like the Packers here. Green Bay didn’t look great early, but they have really rounded into form in recent weeks and look like a team primed for a playoff run. They have won two in a row and seven of eight, and they come into this one confident and ready. The Bears, meanwhile, have lost four of five and are having major problems finding the end zone. Green Bay will be able to score, and the Bears won’t be able to match them. Despite the setting the Packers are the clear choice in this one.
St. Louis vs. Minnesota - Minnesota has lost four of six, and aside from the heroic of efforts of Adrian Peterson and his pursuit of Eric Dickerson’s record there isn’t much to like about the squad. Christian Ponder has been just terrible, and there is no reason to expect more from him here. The Rams, meanwhile, are quietly playing strong football. They have won three in a row and are playing with confidence and defensive intensity. It’s a good sign for their future and a good sign for them in this one as well. Minnesota has just one win in six road games, so they are not going to be comfortable.
Denver at Baltimore - The Ravens have lost two in a row. That wouldn’t necessarily be a major concern, except for the fact that they panicked this week and fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. It’s not like they were inept on offense, either — they have scored the fourth most points in the AFC. That’s a strange move and I don’t like it. Denver, meanwhile, has won eight in a row and has looked very good doing it. They are a good team playing great football, and they are fighting to lock up a first round playoff bye. They need the win and they will be ready.
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