NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 5
by Matt Severance - 10/02/2008
We're back again here at Survivor Pool Central, and hopefully you are reading this because you remain alive in your competition and not solely because of my scintillating style. I am still kicking in my pool, although it has gotten too close for comfort lately. I have chosen Philly (easy Week 1 win), Tampa Bay (easy Week 2 win), the New York Giants (OT Week 3 win) and Jacksonville (OT Week 4 win). Maybe the Survivor gods are with me this year with those past two winners being stretched to the limit at home against two big underdogs.
That said, we're here to look ahead and not too much behind, so here's my pick for this week: Whoever is playing the Rams.
Sorry, the historically bad Rams are off. So I'll go with the Carolina Panthers.
The Cats host the Chiefs, which should be an easy win, right? Not so fast, grasshopper. If you read this column last week, I warned you not to take Denver against Kansas City because the Chiefs were overdue and were at home. And they pretty well smacked the hugely favored Broncos, which no doubt cost more than a few of you.
Still, Carolina does look like one of the NFC's best teams with that two-headed ground attack in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to go along with Jake Delhomme (the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week) and Steve Smith. Last week, the Panthers had a season-high 401 yards of offense, including 294 through the air, their most passing since late in the 2006 season.
KC will be lucky to win probably two more games this season, and those undoubtedly will be at home. My lone concern about the Panthers is the fact their two starting offensive tackles might be out (Jordan Gross almost assuredly is), but then again the Chiefs' starting left tackle, Branden Albert, won't play either. Can't see Larry Johnson running for 100 yards for another week, and Damon Huard doesn't scare me.
Frankly, there's only one other game I consider a lock win if you have already chosen the Panthers in your pool, and that's Dallas at home against the Bengals. I came very close to taking that pick this week as the Cowboys can't possibly lose two in a row at home and the Bengals are, well, the Bengals. If I knew, as of this writing, that Bengals QB Carson Palmer definitely wasn't playing, I probably would choose Dallas this week. At least I will have the Cowboys later on - and they get to play the Rams!
Here are a few games that have near touchdown spreads to stay away from:
Green Bay over Atlanta. I'd sure expect a Packers victory - if Aaron Rodgers is playing. However, he may not. Would you really want to risk your potential winnings on Matt Flynn?
San Diego over Miami. The Fins come off a bye week, which was preceded by that big win over the Patriots. And they could have beaten the Jets in their only home game to date. Add in that Miami has a co-NFL-low one turnover committed so far, and it's clear that Bill Parcells is making his mark. Oh, and major kudos to Ricky Williams for not partaking of the giggle lettuce during the bye as he said he was tempted to do. Why is that a story?
N.Y. Giants over Seattle. The Seahawks finally are healthy, as WRs Deion Branch and Bobby Engram are back. And the G-Men don't have Plaxico Burress because of that one-game suspension. This could be the upset of the weekend.
Eagles over Redskins. I can't believe Philly is a six-point home favorite as of this writing. It looks like Brian Westbrook will be out again, and this is another of those division games that wouldn't really be an upset if the underdog won. Don't touch any NFC East intradivison games this year. You probably learned that lesson last week when the Skins upset Dallas. I won't mention that I recommended staying away from that game. Oh, I just did.
Good luck in Week 5.