NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 11
by Matt Severance - 11/13/2008
Most Survivor Pools have been completed by now, but they are going to keep paying me to write this column, so I'll keep writing! And hopefully you keep reading. If you are fortunate enough to still be alive in your Survivor Pool, congrats. Let's see if we can keep that going.
Last week went very much to form for the big favorites in the NFL, so I doubt there were any big losers coming from Week 10. This week starts the stretch run, and there are no more byes remaining, so you have a full menu from which to choose. I see only two locks this week, however.
Certainly option No. 1, if you haven't already used them (I had recommended them much earlier this season) is the Carolina Panthers. While I still say the Detroit Lions will upend a team this year, it won't be this week at Carolina. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme is sure to bounce back from last week's four-pick effort against Oakland as Detroit has the 29th-ranked pass defense in the league and has allowed the third-most TD passes. The Lions looked improved through Weeks 6-9 but were clobbered last week at home against the Jaguars. Detroit needs to be relegated, much like in the English Premier League, to a lower division for a year.
Philadelphia is 0-3 in the NFC East and 5-1 outside the division, so it should handle Cincinnati this week without much problem. I don't like taking road teams, but with so many evenly matched games this week, this seems like Best Bet No. 2. Philly just needs to make sure that Brian Westbrook gets the ball at least 20 times against the No. 25 run defense in the league. The Eagles are 1-2 this season when Westbrook touches the ball fewer than 20 times. Just be very wary if this game is close late, because that does not bode well for the Eagles: They are 1-9 in games decided by less than a touchdown over the last two seasons, including 0-4 in 2008.
Here are a few games that might appear one-sided but that I consider potential traps and which you should avoid.
Oakland at Miami. OK, I realize the pathetic Raiders have scored a total of 16 points in the past three games and that the Fins are streaking, winners of three in a row. But Oakland is likely to get back rookie RB Darren McFadden and two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess this week. QB JaMarcus Russell may or may not play, although it may be a good thing if he doesn't. Oakland actually ran the ball fairly well last week against Carolina. Trap game.
Arizona at Seattle. The Seahawks have been pathetic on both sides of the ball this year, but they are expecting starting QB Matt Hasselbeck and WR Deion Branch back this week. Might the Cardinals have a letdown after that dramatic win on Monday night? Not to mention Arizona is on a short week.
Tennessee at Jacksonville. I warned of a potential Titan loss last week, but I forgot how bad Rex Grossman can be. Hear me now: This is the week. The Jags are desperate, and they just had their best game of the season, albeit against the Lions. Perhaps the Bears provided a blueprint in how to stop the Tennessee ground game. Can Kerry Collins carry the load yet again? I say no.
Houston at Indianapolis. The Colts look renewed with defensive leader Bob Sanders back, having won two straight. And they are 12-1 all-time against Houston. But remember that Sage Rosenfels and the Texans were thoroughly dominating Indy in Week 5 before Rosenfels started fumbling the ball on nearly every play. And I think Indy has a bit of a drop-off after big wins over New England and Pittsburgh.
The rest of the NFL matchups this week appear even, so I would steer clear of all those. That's my two cents. Good luck and see you in Week 12.