NFL Survivor Pool Picks - Week 9
by Matt Severance - 10/30/2008
Hello fellow Survivalists, hopefully Week 9 still finds you alive in your competition. Last week went pretty much to form, although those of you who chose the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets no doubt were sweating profusely for most of that game thanks to Brett Favre's inaccuracy against the Chiefs. But the five biggest favorites all won, so it probably wasn't a knockout week in your pool.
As for this week, there could be a lot of close games, or at least oddsmakers think so - there are only four matchups that currently have a spread of bigger than a touchdown. So let's look at those four:
Detroit at Chicago. The Bears are the biggest favorites on the board, which is something no Bear fan (of which I am guilty) thought he or she would ever hear before Kyle Orton morphed into Dan Fouts Jr. The Bears already spanked Detroit once this season, although the loss of Roy Williams might take a little of Chicago's motivation away. None other than Bears LB Brian Urlacher said that the traded Detroit receiver often "fired up" the Bears with his loudmouth comments. I still say Detroit will shock a team this season, and it hung in there last week with Washington. But that was at Ford Field; I don't expect a Detroit road victory this season. You are undoubtedly safe taking Chicago this week, and I'm pretty confident you haven't used the Bears yet this season.
Dallas at N.Y. Giants. Wow, who would have thought the Cowboys would have been 9-point underdogs at any point this season? Clearly Brad Johnson is not the answer at quarterback as Tony Romo heals. But Brooks & Dunn … err, Bollinger, is Johnson's backup, so does that make you feel any better about a potential Cowboy upset? Me neither. The G-Men are coming off a big-time physical game against Pittsburgh, but they appear pretty healthy despite that. I expect a close, low-scoring game here and hate choosing a team in rivalry games (and I picked New York earlier this season). But hard to see the champs losing.
Tampa Bay at Kansas City. This smells like a trap game to me. The Bucs often lay an egg at least once a year, and this feels like it could be it - although Tampa Bay catches a big break in that it's supposed to be pretty warm in K.C. on Sunday (never pick the Bucs if the temperature is below 40). Yeah, the Chiefs will be without Larry Johnson again this week, but that K.C. offense didn't look too bad against a good Jets defense last week as the Chiefs switched to a spread-type look under QB Tyler Thigpen. Maybe that's enough to keep this game very close or even pull the upset. I'd stay away from Tampa - and I did choose the Bucs already this year.
Jacksonville at Cincinnati. I very rarely, if ever, recommend a road team in a survivor pool, and after watching Jacksonville last week against the Browns, I wouldn't here either (and I did already pick Jacksonville). The Jags are too up-and-down, and the Bengals will not go 0-16. Even Cincy WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh guarantees that the Bengals will finish the season with at least two wins; if not, he promises to say his last name 10 times fast. Of course, maybe he sees that his team faces the Browns and Chiefs to end the season. Anyways, the Jags aren't running the ball well this year, so they aren't worth a flier.
So, in summary, I'd take the Bears or Giants this week if you haven't already. Looking at the rest of the schedule, each remaining game could very well go either way - so stay away.
See you in Week 10, the final bye week.