NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 8
by Matt Severance - 10/23/2008
Are you still alive in your NFL suicide pool competition? If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan, I am guessing not. They are Prime Example No. 1 of why you should never look weeks ahead to a game, and it's something of which I'm slightly guilty.
A few weeks back, when Dallas actually looked competent and Tony Romo was healthy, I had yet to use the Cowboys in my suicide pool. I made the mistake of looking ahead two weeks and saying to myself (yes, I talk to myself too frequently): "Oh, Dallas plays the Rams, that's my lock pick in Week 7."
Well, I never got to Week 7, with the Redskins punking me in Week 6 vs. those same Rams. But if you were hanging on to the Cowboys just for that St. Louis game, you are likely with me on the sideline of your competition.
Injuries can completely change the look of a team, and Romo and Co. are a perfect example. Even the Rams have shown the wisdom of not planning ahead, as they suddenly look like an actual professional football team again once they changed coaches.
The moral of the story: Survive and advance, and don't try to forecast future games. This isn't your March Madness bracket.
On to Week 8:
If you didn't get suckered by the Cowgirls last week and went with one of the other big favorites, you should still be around. The Titans, Giants, Steelers and Bucs all had few problems in winning. So let's look at the top favorites this week and whether they are worth a play:
Chiefs at Jets. The Jets are the biggest favorites on the board, a near two-touchdown favorite against Kansas City. Will New York beat Kansas City? Undoubtedly. But be aware that Brett Favre's two starting receivers, Jerricho Cotchery and Laveraneus Coles, might not play Sunday because of injuries. Although those potential losses probably would be evened out by the fact that K.C.'s Larry Johnson won't play again this week. You are safe taking the Jets, and this is probably the only week I would say that in 2008.
Bengals at Texans. Can you believe Houston is a sizable favorite for the second straight week? This was to be Cincy's off week, but that all changed with Hurricane Ike postponing that Baltimore-Houston game earlier this season and forcing a bit of shuffling in Houston's schedule. The Texans offense has been great for the past three games, so you are probably safe taking Houston here with Bengals QB Carson Palmer out again and likely for the season. I will say that Cincy is going to bite a team at some point this season, as will Detroit.
Redskins at Lions. Speaking of the Lions (see above), this feels like a monster trap game to me with Washington. OK, I know the Detroit defense could be in for a long day against Clinton Portis, but the Skins don't play in a dome that often - only once last year with this the only scheduled game this year. In addition, that Washington offense has been very uneven the past two weeks against weak competition in St. Louis and Cleveland. I wouldn't touch this game.
Falcons at Eagles. I had used Philly in my previous life as a survivor pool participant, but if you haven't you probably can't go wrong this week. The Eagles are coming off a bye and are as healthy as they've been, with both RB Brian Westbrook and WR Kevin Curtis expected to return to the starting lineup this week, and fellow WR Reggie Brown also much improved. Of course, the Falcons also are coming in off a bye, so this game should be closer than the spread, but Philly needs a win much more desperately and will get it.
Those are the five biggest spread mismatches this week and probably the only games you should consider in your suicide pool. The only other mismatch I potentially foresee on the board is Rams at Patriots, but New England is coming off a short week and keeps losing players for the season, so I wouldn't go there. I don't believe I have recommended the Patriots at all since Week 1 this season, which just goes to show you how unpredictable the injury-filled NFL can be. DON'T LOOK AHEAD!
Good luck and see you in Week 9.