NFL Survivor Pool Advice - Week 6
by Drew Mangione - 10/11/2007
I'm still alive. Sure there was a healthy dose of fear wrapped in Craig Hentrich's failure to get his punt off and then Warrick Dunn's 18-yard run to Tennessee's 1-yard line. But Albert "Head Stepper" Haynesworth saved the day, pushing the Falcons off the goal line, just far enough for Byron Leftwich to throw some missiles to fans in the first few rows. Now I'm looking forward with two consecutive perfect weeks behind me.
I used to be a big fan of Leftwich, but he and his fellow Marshall alum Chad Pennington have failed me. See, I picked Tennessee and the woman who runs the big pool I'm in commented on it being a "BOLD" Survivor Pool pick. She apparently had few reservations about her pick: the Giants over my beloved Jets. It's a painful moment when you realize your team is not going to win more than four games. I'd consider picking against them this week, but Philadelphia is a disappointment too.
Alas, It won't be long before someone's $5 investment becomes a nice dinner, or PS3 game, or perhaps a car detailing. Right now though, I'm dwelling on that old saying: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. There's a lot of bad blood between me and the teams on this list this week. This could get ugly. In any event, it seems my first second chance pool will start up in Week 7.
Here's my advice for Week 6:
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): The history of these two fledgling franchises has been back and forth. It started with road victories for each team in 2002, then home victories for each a year later. Since then the matchup has been marked by season sweeps-Houston in 2004 and 2006, Jacksonville in 2005. By that logic Jacksonville is due. Of course there are other things to look at, like the fact that Jacksonville allows just 10 points per game, compared to 20 per game by Houston.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-5.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): If Cedric Benson didn't have enough to cry about on draft day, all he needs to do is look across the line at Minnesota's front seven, which are again allowing less than 65 yards per game on the ground. Neither defense is as good as last year's model, but they should look good this week against each other's pathetic offense. I believe in Brian Griese, but I'm not sure I have enough faith in him to pick his Bears.
St. Louis Rams at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) (1 p.m. Sunday): Conventional wisdom says the single most devastating loss for any team is losing a quarterback, but don't ignore the effects of losing your best lineman. It can be the first domino: first Orlando Pace, then Stephen Jackson, and now Marc Bulger. In Baltimore, losing Ogden left McNair vulnerable. The difference here: Baltimore has a defense to keep them in it. I expect the Ravens to win, and in doing so, fall to 0-6 against the spread.
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals (-3) (4:05 p.m. Sunday): I know I'm in the minority, but I still believe in the power of Kurt Warner's arm. Leinart may be the future, but with a broken collarbone he's not of much use, so it's nice to have a Super Bowl champion to plug in. It's not clear what the future is in Carolina since injuries have washed away the starting and possibly the backup QB. If Vinny Testaverde starts, this will be a blowout for Warner. I may have to change my pick after this is posted.
New England Patriots (-5.5) at Dallas Cowboys (4:15 p.m. Sunday): This is the first clash of titans this season and I can't wait to watch it. But I'm not betting it.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-10) (4:15 p.m. Sunday): The Raiders are in first place, but San Diego was supposed to be. My gut is telling me San Diego is back, but my brain is reminding me that Norv Turner is a loser, which reminds me that this team has already screwed me. However, the Chargers do round out the top 10 rushing defenses and the L.T./Michael Turner Show seems to be hitting its stride. Meanwhile, Oakland ranks first in rushing offense, but has had difficulty stopping the run.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) (8:15 p.m. Sunday): I believe the Saints spent their bye week in the NFL confessional to atone for sins committed in the first four losses of the season. This team cannot be that bad. I'll continue to avoid betting against them on the grounds that Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Marques Colston should be enough to win on any given week.
Pool 1 pick 1 (35 participants): Seahawks, Bears, Patriots, Cowboys, Tennessee, Chargers
Pool 1 pick 2 (35 participants): Steelers, Jaguars, Chargers (L)
Pool 2 (22 participants): Eagles (L)
Pool 3 (18 participants): Lions, Bengals (L)
Pool 4 (10 participants): Cowboys, Broncos, Steelers, Colts, Patriots, Ravens