NFL Survivor Pool Advice - Week 1
by Drew Mangione - 09/06/2007
So, as I sit here repeatedly slapping my head with a fly swatter while browsing the lines for the opening week of the National Football League season, I'm a bit perplexed. I've got to make five picks for four suicide-eliminator-survivor pools and the schedule looks like that shady dealer your older brother told you never to buy from because his best products seem too good to be true: laced with upset, rolled in nail-biter and cut with poison.
We've got six games on the schedule this week with spreads of six points or more. Out of 16 total games, 13 have a spread of three points or more. Who wants to pick against New Orleans? Like the road favorites in divisional games? We've got two with spreads of 4.5 and six. I could also note the sinking ships favored over up-and-coming squads. Best of luck and maybe the rebound pools will start in Week 3 this year.
Here are the biggest spreads and the games I'm considering:
New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts (-6.0) (8:30 p.m. Thursday)
Peyton Manning is in primetime, where he's been all off-season thanks to American capitalism. The defending champs lost Cato June to Tampa Bay, Nick Harper to Tennessee, and Booger McFarland to injury, finding themselves once again with huge question marks on D to start the season against the league's deepest offense. I'll chew on my first Tums here.
New England Patriots (-6.5) at New York Jets (1 p.m. Sunday)
Round four for the Mangenius and his rabble-rousing squad of overachievers and interchangeable parts gets to start off the year with a reloaded Patriots team. The Pats, though, have dropped a few balls from their muskets, losing Rodney Harrison to cheating, Richard Seymour to injury, and they're still scrambling to find that deadly Randy Moss shot, which has been rolling around the bottom of their canvas bag all pre-season. Since 2002, the road favorite is 4-0 in this series.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) at Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. Sunday)
Ah, the second of two road favorites in divisional games. My degenerate friend, the O-dog, responded to my fear of picking the road favorite: "Yeah, but it's the Browns." Pittsburgh has won its last five in Cleveland, four as the favorite. History bodes well for Mike Tomlin. Chuck Knoll left Bill Cowher a seven-win 1991 team, and the steel jaw won 11 games in his rookie year, including his first.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5) (1 p.m. Sunday)
The Titans are a team on the rise with Vince Young at the helm, while Jacksonville seems to have closed its window of opportunity. Fantasy owners may love Maurice Jones-Drew, but as the primary back, they may see why he slipped in the draft. I'll take two Tums on this game and wash it down with a cup of David Garrard's sweat since big Byron isn't there to absorb the pressure.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. Sunday)
The Eagles have won seven of the last 10 against the Packers, but are 1-3 at Lambeau Field. If G Shawn Andrews is blocking and TE L.J. Smith is around to save Donovan when the blocking breaks down, this one won't even be close. The problem is that they are questionable. This may be the start to an ugly season for the Packers.
Chicago Bears at San Diego Chargers (-6) (4:15 p.m. Sunday)
The Super Bowl letdown may be inevitable and I know the NFC is weak, but what has Norv Turner ever done as a head coach? He lost his debut with both Washington and Oakland. Granted, those teams sucked, and this one has LT, but I'll just swallow the whole container of Tums now. If Rex does well and Lance Briggs has another game like 2003 when he had nine tackles to help keep LT to 61 yards, the Bears have a shot. If cheater Shawn Merriman gets to Rex and Speedy Gone-Lawless can't help Urlacher, it could get ugly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks (-6) (4:15 p.m. Sunday)
With an ancient Derrick Brooks on one side and his big play heir-apparent in Cato June on the other side, Tampa's D may surprise people this year. However, Shaun Alexander is healthy and it'll probably take some time for Tampa to gel.
Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (-2) (4:15 p.m. Sunday)
That's right, sometimes you can fall in love with the underdog. Don't get me wrong, I'm not crazy about the Lions, but Oakland has no offense. Sure the defensive side is good, but if Mike Martz's offense gets going, there's no way the silver and black can compete in a shootout.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-6) (8:15 p.m. Sunday)
Eli is 3-2 against Big D, including his three-TD coming out post New Year's celebration in 2005 and a win despite no touchdowns and two interceptions. Wade Phillips hasn't been great in the lead role, but as a coordinator he unleashed his linebackers and he's got a great one in DeMarcus Ware. I can't see the G-men putting together much of a running attack, which means that pass rush may have a field day.
Pool 1 pick 1 (35 participants): Seahawks
Pool 1 pick 2 (35 participants): Steelers
Pool 2 (22 participants): Eagles
Pool 3 (18 participants): Lions
Pool 4 (10 participants): Cowboys
Good luck to us all!