NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 15
by Matt Severance - 12/15/2010
It was a pretty chalky Week 14 in the NFL, so there were probably not a lot of eliminations in your Survivor Pool. That is unless you fell into the trap that is the New York Jets at home against the Miami Dolphins or if you took Green Bay at Detroit in a game the Packers essentially lost the minute Aaron Rodgers left with a concussion.
I’m still baffled how the Fins won when managing just six first downs and 30 yards passing. It’s clear now the Jets can’t count on Mark Sanchez yet – and you shouldn’t either. Of course, the big news last week was Brett Favre ending his consecutive games streak and the Metrodome imploding. However, the Vikings became irrelevant for Survivor Pool purposes weeks ago.
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Week 15 could be a tough one to handicap because as of this writing there is only one team that is a minimum seven-point favorite (San Diego) on the NFL odds. But I never recommend taking the early game for your Survivor Pool pick because I believe it’s always better to wait for the later injury reports where you might find a better advantage in a Sunday or Monday game. With that said, here are four favorites (of at least four points) that you should steer clear of this week.
San Diego (vs. San Francisco): OK, I admit I warned you to stay away from the Niners last week because you just didn’t know what you were going to get from Alex Smith back at quarterback.
This game scares me, even though the Chargers are the biggest current favorites on the board, because both teams are desperate and those short week can be very unpredictable. Plus I could see the Niners bottling up the Charger running game -- San Francisco's defense hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 19 straight games, the second longest active streak behind Jets' 20 – and forcing Philip Rivers to throw on every down, not that that has been a bad thing this year. But who knows if Rivers will have Vincent Jackson and/or Antonio Gates.
Miami (vs. Buffalo): I think that Jets upset was more about the New York offense going backward than anything Miami did. Plus, the Fins are just 1-5 at home and have scored 10 total points in their past two games there (albeit one with Tyler Thigpen at QB). Their receiving corps is in shambles due to injury.
Buffalo did nearly beat Miami in Week 1, for what it’s worth, but the Bills won’t have starting WR Lee Evans for this one as he’s done for the year. Buffalo's receivers for the final three games will be a group that went into the season with a dozen career catches, although Steve Johnson has emerged as a talent.
Tampa Bay (vs. Detroit): Did you see how dominant the Lions defensive line was against the Packers on Sunday? And it’s not like Aaron Rodgers was doing anything against that Detroit D before he suffered his concussion.
The Bucs, meanwhile, are battered on defense, having lost two more starters for this season this week in DT Gerald McCoy and LB Quincy Black.
I think this is the week Detroit ends its record road losing streak – currently at 26 games – thanks to a special teams TD in a very low-scoring game.
Atlanta (at Seattle): Looks to be a cold, wet game on Sunday in what is potentially the Falcons’ final outdoor game of the year (they finish the final two at home then are looking good to have homefield throughout the playoffs) and their only chance to play in some lousy weather.
In some respects Atlanta doesn’t “need” to win this one. As long as it takes care of New Orleans next week at home, the Falcons should be the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
Seattle definitely needs this more because it’s NFC West title or sit home for the playoffs. Seattle is pretty decent at home and I think pulls the upset if WRs Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu can return from injury this week.
Good luck in Week 15!
Allen Eastman is about to destroy the bookies once again this weekend with his college football bowl picks and his NFL picks. His football betting system for NFL handicapping (dubbed the 99 System) has hit nearly 70% the last three years and Eastman has three of four big winning weeks under his belt.
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