NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 12
by Matt Severance - 11/23/2010
We’re here a little early this week for the Survivor Pool picks column since there’s a football feast arriving on Turkey Day, although thank God the NFL added that third Thanksgiving game a few weeks ago because otherwise we would have subjected to just the lousy Lions and Cowboys hosting the early games – albeit against Super Bowl contenders in Patriots and Saints, respectively. The night game looks like another mismatch as the Jets host the sinking Bengals.
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I changed up the Survivor Pool advice last week because at this point you have probably used all of the good teams and it’s probably better to know who not to pick this late in the season. Of the four favorites of at least 5.0 points I recommended to steer clear of last week, only one was upset: Cincinnati at home against Buffalo. Dallas (vs. Detroit), New Orleans (vs. Seattle) and Pittsburgh (vs. Oakland) all won pretty convincingly. But I’m guess those three teams have all been used by you now in your pool anyways, except for maybe Dallas.
So here are the Top 4 games I wouldn’t touch in Week 12 for my Survivor Pool picks (where there is a favorite of at least 4.0 points):
New England (at Detroit): Short-week turnarounds always favor the home team as it is. Plus, the Pats players have to be away from their families on Thanksgiving, etc. Even Bill Belichick admitted it was an advantage for Detroit that it has experience dealing with this game each year (and hosting it) while New England hasn’t played on Turkey Day since 2002.
Yeah, the Lions haven’t won a Thanksgiving game in nearly a decade. but they have been high-powered offensively at home and can make a national statement once and for all that they are a team to be reckoned with perhaps as early as next year.
Both of their wins have come at home and both of New England’s losses on the road. And this is the ultimate “sandwich” game for New England, coming after a huge win against Indianapolis and before an even bigger game next week against the AFC East co-leading Jets.
This lines up just like the team’s trip to Cleveland a few weeks ago.
Pittsburgh (at Buffalo): If you don’t realize it by now, the Bills seem to be improving each week and actually have a pretty good quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and a sudden star in receiver Steve Jackson. Buffalo has won two in a row after losing its previous three games all by a field goal. For the Steelers, who looked very impressive in stomping Oakland last week, this looks like a huge trap with a Sunday night visit to Baltimore coming next week.
New York Giants (vs. Jacksonville): I don’t really get why New York is a seven-point favorite when it has dropped two straight. The defense has looked fairly awful in losses to Philly and Dallas and the offense lost its other top receiver last week in Hakeem Nicks, who joins Steve Smith on the sideline. That means Eli Manning has Mario Manningham, Derek Hagan and a bunch of guys you’ve probably never heard of.
Manning was already having issues with throwing too many interceptions (16, second in NFL), so this won’t help that. Jacksonville has won three in a row and seems to have found itself offensively (despite six turnovers last week). Maurice Jones-Drew, who has three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, has looked especially impressive.
Denver (vs. St. Louis): Not thinking you would risk your pool on a 3-7 team, but just in case you were thinking about taking Denver against a Rams team that is winless on the road, don’t. The Broncos rank last in rushing offense and second-to-last in rushing defense. The latter could mean a big day for Rams RB Steven Jackson.
The Broncos have lost five of their last six games and are 5-15 after starting last season 6-0. Plus, they are on a short week after being dominated in San Diego and could turn to Tim Tebow any day now.
This just seems like a young, hungry team that is gaining confidence (Rams) against a team that has lost all confidence.
Good luck in Week 12 and Happy Thanksgiving.
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