NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 9
by Trevor Whenham - 10/30/2012
We have made it halfway through the NFL season. if you are still alive in your survivor pool then you deserve hearty congratulations. By now the obvious teams are all off the board, and it’s time to gamble and find some more creative choices to give you the edge and get you the win. Heavy favorites like Green Bay against Arizona or the Texans versus the Bills would be great picks, but those teams have almost certainly been used. Thankfully, though, there are five games on the board this week that are still attractive but more likely to be usable.
San Diego vs. Kansas City
Just down the hill from my house is a high school football field. At this point I would be tempted to pick a couple of teams I’ve watched down there if they were against the Chiefs. They haven’t had a lead in an eternity, they have serious issues at quarterback, the attitude is visibly awful, and there is no limit to the mistakes they can and consistently do make. It’s a total mess. Sure, San Diego is a team coming off a 7-6 loss to the Browns last week and a brutal collapse against the Broncos before that. Against almost any other team in the league they would be hard to trust. At home against the Chiefs, though, they are well positioned to come out on top. Heck, if the Chargers don’t win this one they should just fold their franchise on the spot.
Detroit at Jacksonville
It’s still a little scary to pick the Lions, and the Jaguars had real success on offense last week. However, this is the best time in the next month to take Detroit — probably the only one. Detroit has shown much improved spark the last two weeks and is finally beginning to play like they should have been able to all year. Calvin Johnson is still invisible and that’s a major concern, but Detroit still has a strong offense — especially with the emergence of Titus Young. Jacksonville has yet to win at home, so the location isn’t a big boost for them. Detroit should be well-positioned to win this one.
Denver at Cincinnati
Over the last six quarters the Broncos have really rounded into form. Peyton Manning is dialed in and confident, but what has really been noteworthy has been their defensive play. With a confident offense — third in the league in total yards and fourth in points scored — and a defense that has been more than adequate against non-elite offenses, this team is dangerous. The Bengals have dropped three in a row, are struggling defensively, and are still what they have been for years — the worst-coached team in football. Cincinnati will be challenged to move the ball and won’t be able to keep up with the Broncos if it becomes a shootout. Denver is attractive here. With a game at Carolina next week, a home game against the Chargers in two weeks, and a trip to Kansas City after that, though, there are no shortages over the next month of opportunities to use Peyton and company. They have won two in a row, and there is a pretty solid chance that they will extend that streak to at least six.
Miami at Indianapolis
I really like how these Dolphins are playing right now. They have won three in a row, and they have done it by running the ball surprisingly well and by making it all but impossible for opponents to run against them. That has made it hard to score on them, and the offense is potent enough to come out on top. They have also done a nice job of harassing opposing quarterbacks with their attack led by Cameron Wake. They will be able to make the day difficult for impressive rookie Andrew Luck, and the Dolphins will be able to run all day. It’s the biggest gamble of these five games, but I would feel good taking the Dolphins in this one.
Tampa Bay at Oakland
The Bucs are playing really well lately, and they are a couple of bad breaks against the Saints away from being 3-0 in October. The offense is well-balanced, and the defense is strong against the run. They have a swagger, and they are up against a team that isn’t impressive despite winning two in a row since those wins came in overtime against the Jaguars and at the Chiefs. Against stronger opponents they have been far less impressive, and they have not responded well to teams punching them in the teeth — which is exactly what the Bucs will be able to do. I really like Tampa Bay here, and there is little chance that they have already been used.
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