NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 4
by Matt Severance - 9/29/2011
Yet another pretty chalk week in the NFL in Week 3, so here’s guessing your survivor pool is still pretty jammed full of competition. There are two games I warned you to stay far, far away from last week and both turned out to be upsets. They would be New England at Buffalo and the New York Giants at Philadelphia.
The Bills rallied from a 21-0 second-quarter deficit thanks to picking off Golden Boy Tom Brady four times, including returning one for a score. The Bills’ 34-31 win ended the NFL’s current longest winning streak by one team over another at 15. And coupled with Buffalo’s rally from 21-3 down the previous week against Oakland, it made Buffalo only the fifth team since 1950 to overcome deficits of at least 18 points to win in consecutive weeks. In fact, only five teams had previously won twice in one season when trailing by 18 or more points.
As for the Giants, Eli Manning made that supposed all-star Eagles secondary look ordinary with four touchdown passes in New York’s 29-16 victory. Michael Vick left a second game in a row with an injury, this time what was first called a broken right (non-throwing) hand but since was called a deep bruise. He will play this week.
I recommended the San Diego Chargers as my top pick at home vs. Kansas City, and the Bolts tried to give it away but held on, 20-17. I also said to consider the Ravens (at Rams) and Steelers (at Colts) and both won without much problem. I have now used San Diego, New England and Pittsburgh for our official NFL survivor pool picks..
So on to Week 4 (in worth considering and stay far, far away, first team listed would be the presumed pick):
Bears vs. Panthers: I find it hard to believe that Chicago loses a third straight game. Bears DC Rod Marinelli should be able to give Cam Newton fits. But I also don’t trust Jay Cutler to not throw two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Or get sacked eight times.
Packers vs. Broncos: I’m going to say first off that I wouldn’t bet on this game, with Denver as the biggest dog on the board at +13. This also screams letdown after a big win for Green Bay last week in Chicago and a big road tilt in Atlanta next week. But I simply can’t picture a Packers loss.
Bucs vs. Colts (Monday): I always hate taking Monday games because if a late injury or something happens then you are up the creek. I am not on the Bucs bandwagon like most other people, but the Colts sure are bad.
Too Even To Bother
Titans at Browns: Will the real Chris Johnson please show up? Somehow the Titans, like the Browns, are 2-1 despite Johnson rushing for a total of 98 yards so far. This one could go either way.
Lions at Cowboys: How even is this? It opened as a ‘pick’em’ at some books. The Lions look for real after their biggest rally in franchise history last week against the Vikings. But I’m starting to believe in the Cowboys even though they are on a short week. I’m tired of hearing about Tony Romo, though.
Vikings at Chiefs: Why would you pick a game that involves two winless teams with major QB problems?
Redskins at Rams: I think the Rams actually win this one with Washington on a short week and Rex Grossman starting to remember who he is. But St. Louis looks bad so far.
Steelers at Texans: Both teams have won their two games against bad teams and lost on the road to a good one. So who knows?
Patriots at Raiders: I called Oakland beating the Jets last week and I fully expect the Raiders to win this game as well – same situation, an East Coast team heading west. Darren McFadden is officially a stud.
Jets at Ravens: Well, take the ‘under’. These two met last year and it finished 10-9, with Baltimore winning in Week 1. But otherwise too close to call.
Stay Far, Far Away
Bills at Bengals: Cincinnati, after somehow beating Cleveland in Week 1, is starting to look about how I thought the Bengals would – i.e. terrible. QB Andy Dalton is starting to look like a rookie, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and throwing two picks in last week’s 13-8 home loss in a half-empty stadium to the Niners. But this is a monster letdown game for Buffalo after what happened last week.
Eagles vs. 49ers: I am not a believer at all in San Francisco, which is just terrible offensively. But defensively the Niners are a good bunch. And I just don’t happen to think Vick can make it through a full game anymore. It wouldn’t shock me if San Francisco pulled the upset here.
Saints at Jaguars: This is just a hunch, but it feels like a major trap to me for New Orleans, which has been mostly unstoppable offensively all season. The Florida heat could get to the Saints, who played their last two games in the comfort of their dome. Plus, it’s the first of three road games for New Orleans, and the next two are division games.
Giants at Cardinals: You might be a believer in New York after its impressive win over the Eagles on the road last week, but always beware of an East Coast team heading out west (ask the Jets last week about Oakland, for example).
Falcons at Seahawks: See Giants-Cardinals. Plus, that Atlanta offense has looked bad in its two road games so far.
And The Pick Is ….
I was tempted to use either Chicago or Tampa Bay here because I may not want to use the Bears or Bucs again this season. But that breaks my cardinal rule: Just advance. So Green Bay it is.
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