NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 11
by Matt Severance - 11/17/2010
I have learned the same lesson in tanking in my Survivor Pool action twice in the past few weeks: stick with your first impression/gut reaction rather than overanalyzing things.
Last week I listed the New York Giants hosting Dallas as my top choice even though I always say you should never do a rivalry game and I was a bit concerned that Dallas might have a burst of energy under new coach Jason Garrett – and that’s exactly what happened as the Cowboys pretty well dominated the Giants. I literally had listed Tampa Bay against Carolina at the top of my “Have No Fear” list, but then switched that game with Cowboys-Giants at the last second.
I had already bought back into my pool and no pool that I know of allows two buybacks, so I’m out – thus I guess take future advice with a grain of salt. But I will continue this column through the season to hopefully give you some insight you might not have considered.
From now on, with so few weeks left in the season I will tend to give you big favorites you shouldn’t pick and why that is. Your menu of top teams left is probably pretty barren, so perhaps this helps you more at this point. Like last week I said stay from the Colts, Jets and Chiefs. Both Indy (against the Bengals) and New York (at the Browns) won close games while the Chiefs were destroyed by Denver.
So here are the Top 4 games I wouldn’t touch in Week 11 for my Survivor Pool picks (where there is a favorite of at least 5.0 points):
Dallas (vs. Detroit): Maybe the Cowboys are that much better now under Garrett, but I tend to think it’s just a one-week surge: you know, it’s kind of like you feel when you meet that new girl (or guy) for the first week or so. That newness is awesome!
And returning home, where the Cowboys figure to see a lot of empty seats, might actually be a bad thing considering Dallas is also 0-4 at Cowboys Stadium this season. You could also potentially see Dallas maybe preserving its “A game” for the quick turnaround Thanksgiving Day matchup against the champion Saints.
Cincinnati (vs. Buffalo): If you haven’t used the Bengals yet you might be tempted to take them as sort of a throw-away pick this week because there’s no way they can lose at home to one-win Buffalo, right? In addition, the Bills have ruled out running back C.J. Spiller, defensive end Spencer Johnson and linebacker Shawne Merriman for Sunday's game.
But Buffalo is playing much better of late, having beaten Detroit last week and losing its three previous games – all against possible playoff teams – but just three points each (two in overtime). I just think the Bengals, with their two diva receivers in Ochocinco and T.O., are bickering and ready to quit at 2-7.
New Orleans (vs. Seattle): The Saints are the biggest favorites on the board this week – currently at -11.5. And New Orleans is expecting back Reggie Bush from a broken leg although Pierre Thomas likely remains out.
But the Saints are just 3-2 at home this season and can’t seem to maintain success. Seattle hadn’t looked great on the road this season, but has won two of the past three away from the Pacific Northwest, including a dominating 36-18 win at Arizona last week as Matt Hasselbeck had his most passing yards since 2007.
I happen to think this team is coming together under Pete Carroll and certainly will win the NFC West. But mainly I don’t like this game because the Saints are staring at a short week turnaround and trip to Dallas on Thanksgiving.
Pittsburgh (vs. Oakland): Don’t look now, but the Raiders are tied for the longest winning streak in the NFL at three in a row and tied atop the AFC West. They are second in rushing yards in the NFL and thus could give Pittsburgh problems in that area, even though run defense is a Pittsburgh strength.
The Raiders also had two weeks to prepare for this one. You are probably safe taking the Steelers if Raiders star CB Nnamdi Asomugha doesn’t play, but steer clear of this one if he does because he will take either Hines Ward or Mike Wallace out of the game.
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