NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 16
by Matt Severance - 12/17/2008
Welcome back, Survivalists. If you are still alive in your competition, can't you just smell the money? No doubt that would make a nice addition to your Christmas budget. Let's see what we can do to make that happen.
I listed four potential mismatches last week that I advised you to stay away from. Those of you who listened to me on the Skins-Bengals and Titans-Texans, yes I do take personal checks as tips. The San Diego Chargers pulled out an amazing comeback in Kansas City to not end up on the big upset list, and even the Indianapolis Colts were in some danger against the sad-sack Lions. I recommended the Philadelphia Eagles No. 1 last week, along with New England, Carolina and the New York Jets. They all came through. I hope you took my advice on one of those four.
I will start this week's "stay away from" picks with the New Orleans Saints at Detroit Lions. Same reason as before: Some suckers in your league will pick against the Lions from here on out. This probably is the last chance for Detroit because it's the Lions' final home game. The Saints have nothing to play for and are 1-6 on the road. Dan Orlovsky actually looked like a semi-pro quarterback last week in Indy (no more accidentally running 10 feet out of the back of the end zone for this guy), and he threw the ball about 16 times to Calvin Johnson, the Lions' one playmaker. And Johnson had a big game. He is Detroit's offensive future, and any QB who gets him the ball has a chance. Having a potential big playmaker like Reggie Bush out of the lineup with hurt as well. I have no doubt that the Saints will put some points up here, but I think Detroit puts up a few more and, yes, gets Win No. 1.
Texans at Raiders. Houston has been pretty impressive lately and the Raiders … well, let's just say the only "commitment" this team should follow right now is that of Al Davis to an institution. And, yes, the Texans have won two in a row on the road after dropping their first five. I don't know, I have no real statistical data to back this advice up, but I don't like this game for Houston just because it's in the Black Hole.
Jets at Seahawks. This looks like a mismatch, but look at how New York has fared on the West Coast this year: 48-29 loss at San Diego, 16-13 overtime loss at Oakland, 24-14 loss at San Francisco. That's a trend, folks. That cross-country trip has bitten most teams this season. Plus, it's Mike Holmgren's final home game as Seahawks coach, so maybe his players send him out in style.
Dolphins at Chiefs. It's supposed to be really windy and very cold in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon, and I hate to pick games where the weather could be a major factor because too much can go awry. Fins QB Chad Pennington's arm strength also could be an issue in those conditions. Kansas City has been playing much better of late, winning at Oakland and then being very competitive against Denver and San Diego. The Chiefs could easily pull the upset in their home finale.
Chargers at Bucs. This is major danger for the Bucs. Although the West Coast-to-East Coast effect is in store here for the Chargers, this team is still very talented. And it actually has a chance to reach the playoffs. All the Chargers must do is win this week and hope the Bills upset Denver. If that happens, it's a winner-take-all against Denver for the AFC West next week. And the beauty of Sunday is that Denver doesn't take the field until 4 p.m. ET, while this Chargers-Bucs game is a 1 p.m.. Thus, San Diego will still be giving its all. Add in the fact that Bucs QB Jeff Garcia is still questionable, and this could spell trouble for Tampa Bay's playoff hopes.
I see those five games as having the most potential for being trap games for the better teams. So who would I recommend this week? Frankly, there are many matchups that are either even or worthless (I'm talking to you Bengals-Browns and you 49ers-Rams). I'll give you two: Love Indy to take care of a battered Jags team on Thursday even though the game is in Jacksonville, and like the Pats to handle a sinking Cardinals team that is pretty bad on the road.
Them's my two cents. Good luck, and we'll be back in Week 17 to cap it all off.