NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 6
by Matt Severance - 10/09/2008
Yes, I'm still standing. OK, pardon my lame theft of an Elton John song, but hopefully you too are still standing in your NFL survivor pool competition.
For a quick recap if you are just joining us here at Survivor Central - and no tribal challenges on this island (last stupid metaphor, I promise): I have used, in order, Philadelphia (easy win), Tampa Bay (easy win), N.Y. Giants (OT win), Jacksonville (OT win) and Carolina (easy win) thus far.
So let's get right to it this week: Take the Washington Redskins.
I had a reader write in, noting his pool was odds-based as well. Well, I would fear Washington in that regard, as the Redskins are currently 13.5-point home favorites over the St. Louis Rams, and I'm guessing that could rise. Teams coming off midseason coaching changes are just too unpredictable. Ditto for the Raiders (+7.5) at the Saints this week. Both St. Louis and Oakland could show new fire under new coaches or could just as easily go in the tank for a while. Why risk it?
So, I may be contradicting myself, but I can't see Washington losing at home to the Rams. Will it be closer than it should be? Very possibly, especially with St. Louis coming in off that bye with the week to prepare and the Redskins apt to suffer a bit of a letdown after back-to-back road wins against Dallas and Philly. But don't touch this from an odds standpoint. It has all the makings of a trap game.
BTW, that's three of four NFC East teams gone now for me, and I no doubt will make it a superfecta next week when Dallas plays the Rams … but that's another column.
The No. 2 game on the board this week in terms of spread differential is the Vikings hosting the Lions (Minnesota +13). You probably can't go wrong taking Minnesota this week if the Redskins aren't an option, but as I told that reader, I believe this also has the potential to be a trap game. The Lions won't roll over and die - Coach Rod Marinelli won't let them. And they are a fellow dome/NFC North team, so getting 13 points is way too many, especially with the Vikings on a short week. So, yes, you can take Minnesota, but the Vikes may very well not cover.
Best other options this week (of teams I have not yet taken), in no particular order:
Indianapolis (vs. Baltimore). I think the Colts saved their season last week and will take off now.
New York Jets (vs. Cincinnati). The Jets' stock rises massively if Carson Palmer sits for Cincy.
New Orleans (vs. Oakland). Yeah, I know Oakland could come out like gangbusters under Tom Cable (who?) and that the Saints are on a short week, but I think New Orleans being desperate trumps that.
Games to stay away from:
New England at San Diego. I'd expect a Chargers victory here, but the Pats have owned San Diego. When two very good teams go at it, just stay away.
Carolina at Tampa Bay. The Bucs have put Jeff Garcia back in the starting lineup, which means fewer turnovers for their offense - or should. But, really, without looking at the line, which team do you think is favored in this NFC South game? Exactly. Stay away.
Dallas at Arizona. Cowboys fans generally take over in the desert, but Dallas is without top cover corner Terence Newman this week. Of course, Arizona is without top WR Anquan Boldin again. Still, Dallas has been shaky for a few weeks, and who knows who else Adam "Pacman" Jones will fight with by Sunday?
Philadelphia at San Francisco. The Eagles are sinking and very well could be without Brian Westbrook this week. But they could also save their season against the up-and-down 49ers. No thanks.
Chicago at Atlanta. Matt Ryan and Michael Turner have been very good at home, especially Turner, so that could be trouble for Chicago.
N.Y. Giants at Cleveland. The G-Men look great, no doubt, but this is the Browns' season, and they've had an extra week to prepare.
Jacksonville at Denver. Two good teams both coming off bad efforts, although Denver did win last week and is at home. Still, you could argue that Jacksonville (2-3) is desperate again.
Miami at Houston. As long as Sage Turnoverfels isn't playing, I think Houston gets its first win. But would you risk your pool's pot on the Texans? Ever? Me neither.
Good luck in Week 6 and see you next Thursday.