NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 2
by Matt Severance - 09/11/2008
The beauty - and pain - of NFL survivor pools was evident in Week 1: I'm guessing that more than a few contestants in your pool were ousted thanks to the home losses by the Colts against the Bears and the Chargers against the Panthers.
Indy was a double-digit favorite and San Diego was nearly so, and they represented the two biggest upsets of Week 1. Of course, future suicide pool selections were also affected in New England. If you didn't take the Pats in the opener, you might be gun shy to do so for the rest of the season now that Tom Brady is done for the year.
Not to toot my own horn, but I recommended the Eagles, and they dominated the Rams and won by the biggest margin in the NFL in Week 1.
Enough about me. I'm going to change it up this week and give you five games NOT to risk your suicide pick on this week:
New York Giants at St. Louis: The G-Men had little trouble with the Redskins in the season opener, and they will have had a few extra days to prepare having played on a Thursday. But this smells like a trap. You have to expect a natural letdown from New York after opening in front of the home crowd on national TV and against a fierce division rival in the Redskins. No matter how much Coach Tom Coughlin tries to warn his players, it will be only natural for them to overlook the Rams, especially after the egg St. Louis laid last week in Philly. In addition, New York hasn't played in St. Louis in six years. This game has the biggest line among all the NFL matchups this week, but I'm staying away.
New Orleans at Washington: This game actually opened as a 'pick'em', but the Saints are slight favorites now. And New Orleans looked pretty good in its Week 1 win against Tampa Bay. But that was at home and with Marques Colston - the Saints' top receiver is now out 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury. Something tells me it may take a game or two for the Saints and Drew Brees to adjust to not having Colston. The Redskins, meanwhile, can only improve on offense after the terrible showing in the opener against the Giants, and their defense stifled New York in the second half last week. This game could go either way, although I look for a Washington upset.
Green Bay at Detroit: If you read this column last week, two of my suggestions were to not pick road teams and stay away from division matchups. So despite the Packers being six-point favorites, I'm not touching Green Bay even though it has won five in a row against Detroit. As bad as the Lions looked in being gouged by Atlanta, they are generally a different team at home in the dome. And who knows how Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will react in his first road start?
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: Same thing as the above game - I'm not taking a road team despite being a decent favorite and not picking a division game. The Browns can't possibly be as bad as they showed against Dallas, right? Plus Ben Roethlisberger may not be 100 percent for this Sunday night game, so a Cleveland upset is not impossible.
Miami at Arizona: It's tempting to use Arizona this week, as you may not see the Cards as big of a favorite the rest of the year as they are this week. But you can't think ahead, focus on the present. The Dolphins looked much-improved last week against the Jets, and the Cards aren't always a great home team - they lost twice last year as home favorites. No thanks here.
Here's my recommendation for this week: Tampa Bay. I think the Bucs are actually a better team with Brian Griese at quarterback, and Matt Ryan will struggle in his first road start. The Bucs won't let Michael Turner beat them.