NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 17
by Matt Severance - 12/27/2011
It’s hard to believe another NFL regular season has come and (is about to be) gone – and by now your survivor pool no doubt has been decided. Perhaps you have chosen to split the money with anyone else still left standing or maybe you will take it into the playoffs and reset to claim a winner (if we receive enough requests, I can do a playoff NFL survivor pool picks story next week). Either way, I hope I have been of some help and will certainly return next season as usual.
Looking back, I would venture a guess that the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints or Baltimore Ravens were the reason you may have been knocked out of your Survivor Pool. The games I mean in particular: the G-Men going down in Week 5 at home to Seattle (remember, that is one I switched off from after deadline to post this story due to some late injuries); the Eagles falling at home in Week 10 to Arizona (that got me); the Saints inexplicably losing in Week 8 at wretched St. Louis; and the Ravens falling in Week 7 at Jacksonville.
But that unpredictably is what makes a Survivor Pool fun. To shake things up next year, you might consider doing a reverse pool: pick one team that will LOSE instead of win each week. Or you have to pick a betting underdog to win. There are plenty of variations.
With that said, I recommended Tennessee last week and the Titans did handle the Jaguars. For Week 17, if you are still going, stay very far from any games where an early matchup might affect a team’s preparation, or where a team has nothing to play for.
The NFL does a pretty good job of scheduling games that are relevant to each other playoff-wise at the same time, but it’s hard to match them all. For example, if the Lions beat Green Bay (which has nothing to play for) in a 1 p.m. game Sunday, then Atlanta has no reason to play a single starter at 4 p.m. But if Lions lose, the Falcons can take the top wild-card spot away from Detroit should they so desire. Think that might not matter? It could be the difference from playing New Orleans on wild-card weekend (if you are the No. 6 seed) or an average NFC East winner between the Giants and Cowboys (if you are the No. 5).
On to Week 17.
Saints vs. Panthers: Of course you have used the Saints by now, but they have every reason to play Brees and Co. the full way because New Orleans can still get that crucial No. 2 NFC seed with a win and Niners loss.
Patriots vs. Bills: New England still has to win to ensure it gets home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. And the Ravens don’t take the field until 4:15 so it’s not like New England can scoreboard watch (Baltimore can steal No. 1 with a win and Pats loss). Plus, the Patriots will be still steaming from that loss in Buffalo earlier this season that ended New England’s 15-game winning streak in the series.
Eagles vs. Redskins: Philly seemed to find itself a game or so too late. But the Eagles’ three-game winning streak is likely enough to get Andy Reid one more season.
Broncos vs. Chiefs: I am really only putting Denver in this category because I haven’t used it yet. I think Tim Tebow has been somewhat solved. Plus, Chiefs QB Kyle Orton will be fired up to face his former mates. But this game still means everything to Denver and nothing to Kansas City.
Too Even To Bother
Bears at Vikings: No Matt Forte, no Jay Cutler, no Adrian Peterson. Two teams just looking for the season to end. Could it be the end for Vikings coach Leslie Frazier?
Jaguars vs. Colts: This game is fascinating for one reason – should Indy tank it to earn the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and then have to answer all those Andrew Luck/Peyton Manning questions?
Cardinals vs. Seahawks: Only pride on the line here as two teams who surged late look to finish at .500 and take some momentum into next year.
Ravens at Bengals: A rare game where both have something to play for. Baltimore could finish No. 1, No. 2 or No. 5 in the AFC playoff seeding depending on its result and what the Patriots and Steelers do. Cincinnati knows it’s a wild card with a win. The Bengals can still back in with a loss and help.
Raiders vs. Chargers: Oakland has everything to play for and the Bolts nada. But the Chargers still have more talent and will want to send Norv Turner off with a win. I think.
Giants vs. Cowboys: The marquee game on the NFL schedule as the winner takes the NFC East while the loser sits home for the postseason. But I don’t ever trust New York, nor do I trust Dallas on the road.
Stay Far, Far Away
49ers at Rams: Yes, I know San Francisco still has a lot to play for and the Rams are totally injury-ravaged. But this game scares me for the Niners as I expect St. Louis to give a valiant effort as the players know it’s the swansong for Coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Jets at Dolphins: I just don’t like how New York is playing. The Jets know they must win to have a shot at the playoffs, but it would take a minor miracle. The Fins nearly won in New England last week.
Packers vs. Lions: As noted above, there’s not a thing for Green Bay to play for while Detroit has a bit of motivation – plus Lions haven’t won in Lambeau in 20 years.
Texans vs. Titans: The bloom appears to be off of T.J. Yates and Houston is locked into its playoff seed, so look for more than a few starters to sit and rest up for next week.
Falcons vs. Bucs: You won’t know Atlanta’s motivation until around 4 p.m. Sunday and that’s obviously too late.
Steelers at Browns: Pittsburgh is probably expecting Baltimore to win and, thus, render this game irrelevant (although it is played at same time as Ravens-Bengals). There’s almost no chance that the Steelers put Ben Roethlisberger out there, so I’m not betting on Charlie Batch.
And The Pick Is …
Presuming all the other ‘worth considering’ picks have been used, you have to go Denver this week. Home-field should be enough for the Broncos to beat Kansas City.
Enjoy the regular season’s final week and thanks for reading.
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