NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 5
by Matt Severance - 10/7/2010
Not to toot my own horn (who else will?), but my first four Survivor Pool picks have been fairly dominant as none of the four have even really been challenged in their particular game.
Last week my top recommendation was the San Diego Chargers, and they crushed the pathetic Arizona Cardinals, 41-10, holding the Cards to all of 10 first downs and 134 total yards. If for some reason you didn’t follow my San Diego advice, I also recommended New Orleans over Carolina (a too-close 16-14 Saints victory – they are now 0-4 ATS this season, by the way) and Green Bay over Detroit (again, a much closer game than expected, but a Packers win).
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My ‘steer clear’ choices last week weren’t as good as they have been in the past. I recommended against taking Atlanta against winless San Francisco. For sure the Niners should have won that game if Nate Clements had just fallen down following a late interception, but the Falcons won it, 16-14. I also recommended against Houston at Oakland due to the status of Texans WR Andre Johnson, but the Texans managed a 31-24 win. I did hit on staying away from Cincinnati as it lost at Cleveland for the Browns’ first win of the year.
When looking at Week 5, there really are no true sure things – not one team as of this writing is a double-digit favorite. The biggest favorite is Indianapolis at -7.5 despite the fact the Colts are facing the NFL’s last unbeaten team in the Chiefs. So this could be at tricky week.
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Indianapolis (vs. Kansas City) – Do have to say I don’t think I’ve recommended a team this late in the year against an unbeaten squad, but I believe there’s no chance the Colts lose again to fall to 2-3. Indy already is in a bit of a division hole at 0-2 in AFC South games for the first time, so it can’t really afford many more losses in or out of the division. The Chiefs are no question better this season, but are certainly a bit of a mirage. Their one road win was at Cleveland and you know how much that counts. I do worry that the Colts struggle against the run and that the defense lost yet another starter in Melvin Bullitt. So I wouldn’t give the 7.5 points but I just can’t see the Colts losing.
Cincinnati (vs. Tampa Bay) -- I think the Bengals are going to be one of those teams that is near dominant at home – where Cincy beat the Ravens earlier this season – but very iffy on the road. It was a very good sign to see Carson Palmer break out of his slump last week with 371 yards passing and two touchdowns. Terrell Owens had his third career 200-yard receiving game. Yet the Bengals lost at Cleveland. The Bucs simply don’t have enough offense to compete against a top-notch Cincy defense, however.
New Orleans (at Arizona) – I would argue the Cardinals are the second-worst team in the NFL behind Buffalo at this point (yes, worse than Detroit). Their two wins are by four points. Their two losses by a combined 65. Plus, they start undrafted rookie QB Max Hall at quarterback this week in favor of a benched Derek Anderson. The Saints aren’t quite right offensively but they will win this one.
Chicago (at Carolina) – Jay Cutler has been ruled out due to the concussion he suffered while being used as a piñata on Sunday night when the Giants sacked him nine times. That Chicago offensive line is terrible and makes the Bears a bad pick every week going forward. I would take Panthers rookie QB Jimmy Clausen over Bears backup Todd Collins, and winless Carolina has a better running game.
San Diego (at Oakland) – The Bolts are schizo: San Diego has averaged 39.5 points in its two wins, 17.0 in two losses – both losses on the road. Yes, I know the Chargers have won 13 in a row in this series, but that simply has to end sooner or later. And Oakland actually has a decent offense right now (sixth in total offense).
Philadelphia (at San Francisco) – Not sure why you would take the Eagles against a preseason division favorite on the road, but just in case you are thinking about it remember that it’s Kevin Kolb and not Michael Vick at QB and Eagles starting RB LeSean McCoy is likely out with a rib problem of his own. Niners win this one outright.
So, to recap, my top choice this week is Indianapolis. Off my board now are the Colts, Chargers, Packers, Ravens and Titans. That’s pretty AFC heavy!
Good luck in Week 5.
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