NFL Survivor Pool Advice - Week 2
by Drew Mangione - 09/14/2007
After watching a New England team systematically dismantle my beloved Jets as if they knew every move Team Green would make, my remote, and my focus, shifted toward the Philadelphia Eagles and their Week 1 game at Green Bay. The game was tied and I tuned in just in time to see Trent Cole cause a miraculous fumble and Jevon Kearse scoop it up to give Donovan McNabb's offense a short field. But the Eagles went nowhere and eventually fumbled away a would-be victory. I guess I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.
I went four-for-five over the weekend in my suicide-eliminator-survival pools, but I should have been perfect. The hardest thing for me to do when betting is set my fanaticism aside, and I had stars in my eyes for my favorite team. On top of that I let my favorite NFC team, the Eagles, screw me. I should have picked the Patriots, who cared enough about a first week win that they cheated. Instead, I picked the Eagles, but they didn't care enough to move the ball 30 yards for a field goal.
Still, four out of five isn't bad and, even though it got close late, I looked good by picking the Lions as a road underdog. I suppose I wasted my worry in Week 1, having come out strong, but I've got plenty to spare. This week looks a little easier with six games showing spreads of more than a touchdown. But it's the NFL and you never can be sure.
Here are the week's biggest spreads and the games I'm considering:
Atlanta Falcons (+10.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16)
Both of these teams looked awful last week with new quarterbacks at the helm, but let's face it: The Falcons would have been weak even with the canine executioner behind center. I'm not a big believer in David Garrard, but he's got many more weapons than Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson, who had only the rookie Adrian Peterson and still led his offense to 10 points on 302 yards of total offense last weekend.
Buffalo Bills (+10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16)
A good friend of mine from Bills country is moving to Pittsburgh this weekend, but no matter how many Buffalonians take the three-plus hour drive across I-90 and down I-79, the home team is just better. In this cross-divisional geographic rivalry, the Steelers are 7-2 since 1993 and 9-0 against the spread. Sure, Pittsburgh beat on the lowly Browns last week, but they scored on big plays - the kind Denver didn't have the firepower to generate when gaining 470 yards against the Bills last week.
Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) at Cleveland Browns (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16)
Can you pick against the Browns every week? It might be a good play, but picking against them for a second straight week as the home underdog in a divisional game is risky. The Bengals are 5-1 in the Carson Palmer Era against the Browns, including five straight. Their stud QB looked good against Baltimore last week and if Samari Rolle and Chris McAllister couldn't stop T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson, will Eric Wright and Leigh Bodden stand a chance?
Indianapolis Colts (-7) at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16)
The horsemen of Indianapolis condemned the Saints last week to 0-1 purgatory and the Titans are not remotely as deep as New Orleans, even if Chris Brown and LenDale White put up better numbers than Bush and McAllister. However, don't forget that the Titans almost swept Indy last year, losing by one and winning by three, and on each occasion the squad gained more than 210 rushing yards.
Kansas City Chiefs (+12) at Chicago Bears (4:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16)
The personalities on ESPN Radio have taken to calling the Chiefs "the Raiders with Larry Johnson." They may have a point. There's a reason Damon Huard was a back up for so many years. Even with LJ, the team mustered just 219 yards of total offense against the Texans. My prediction: Bears 20, Chiefs -7.
Oakland Raiders (+10) at Denver Broncos (4:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16)
The Broncos should have won easily last week, but they didn't. Travis Henry is not a playmaker at halfback, and Cutler's learning. Fortunately, they face the Raiders, a team which has lost four straight and seven out of the last eight against Denver.
New York Jets (+11) at Baltimore Ravens (4:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16)
They'll screw me no matter what I do here. If I pick the Ravens, the Jets will win. If I don't, they'll lose. This could mark the start of the Kellen Clemens Era with Chad Pennington's ankle in rough shape. Either way, it doesn't look good for my J-E-T-S. Yet, with Jonathan Ogden out, the line couldn't give Steve McNair enough time versus Cincinnati and I expect Mangini to send blitzes from all angles. I'm not touching this one.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-7) (8:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 17)
I'm not letting them screw me again.
Pool 1 pick 1 (35 participants): Seahawks, BEARS
Pool 1 pick 2 (35 participants): Steelers, JAGUARS
Pool 2 (22 participants): Eagles (L)
Pool 3 (18 participants): Lions, BENGALS
Pool 4 (10 participants): Cowboys, BRONCOS