NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 4
by Trevor Whenham - 9/24/2013
There is good news and bad news when it comes to survivor pools this week. The good news is that we just came off quite possibly the easiest weekend in the history of these pools. Both Seattle and Denver seemed poised to crush the life out of outclassed opponents, and they did just that. It was highly unlikely that you had already picked both of those teams, so it was tough not to survive and move on. The bad news is that things are not quite so straightforward this week.
It’s not the toughest week I have ever seen by any means, but it could certainly be easier. Here’s a look at how it breaks down:
The Best Options
Denver vs. Philadelphia
If you have managed to make it this far without using the Broncos — as I have — then this could be the spot to do so. They are the biggest favorites on the board this week, and they deserve to be. They are playing exceptionally well — especially on offense — and are against a team that is going through some serious growing pains. Denver’s offense is playing with unsurpassed confidence and efficiency, so the pressure will be on the offense of the Eagles to keep up. Given how much they have struggled in the last two weeks, that doesn’t seem particularly likely. The Broncos are going to lose at some point this year, but this doesn’t seem like this is when it will happen. The biggest argument against picking the Broncos here is that they host the Jaguars in Week 6, and that would be a stone cold lock of a pick. I’m not a believer in holding off on the best pick in a given week to look ahead to the future, though, and there are other games that look playable in Week 6. If you still have the option of picking the Broncos, it would be tough to convince me that this isn’t the spot to pick them.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
The Colts were a solid pick in their opener against the Raiders, so you may have picked them already if you wanted to start off with a gamble — though they didn’t exactly make winning look easy then. They played a wildly-impressive game in San Francisco on Sunday, though, and are well-poised to do what everyone else has done this year — roll over a pathetic Jacksonville squad. The fundamentals match up well for the Colts, and their confidence certainly will be high. The biggest concern is that they are playing their second straight road game, and neither San Francisco nor Jacksonville is very close to Indianapolis — or each other, for that matter. Still, the team is well-coached, and they are young, so the strains of their recent schedule shouldn’t impact them like it has other teams. I like this pick almost as much as the Denver pick.
Tempting, but not worth it
New Orleans vs. Miami
The Saints were a popular team heading into this season, and with a vastly improved defense they are getting a lot of love. The offense has yet to reach full stride, but the fact they are unbeaten and so much room for improvement could be the biggest reason to like them. They are tough at home and are well positioned here. The problem is, though, that this Miami team is surprisingly good — and legitimately so. They have three very legitimate wins so far, their coaching is exceptional, and they are playing with unity and focus that very few teams can match at this point. The Saints are probably the better team overall, but the gap between the squads is smaller than most casual fans would think, and that’s not what you look for when making survivor pool picks.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
The Bengals have won two straight, and are coming off a solid win against the Packers. They were a popular pick to win their division heading into the season, and have not been disappointing so far. Against the weakest team in their division they should be fine. There are a couple of reasons for concern with this pick, though. For starters, they were relatively flat in their only road game — at Chicago in their opener — so they may not be as strong as they have been in their last two home games. More significantly, though, the Browns are just too much of a wild card right now. They should have been atrocious last week — just days after management traded away the best player on the team and got no immediate help in return. Instead, they played the best game they have played since a 34-24 win over the Bengals last October when they beat the Vikings on Sunday. Brian Hoyer looked surprisingly solid at quarterback, and there was a pride evident on the field that has been lacking too long. There is a good chance that the Browns will fall back to earth, but we never thought they would lift off in the first place and they did. Unpredictable teams against more talented but vulnerable opponents do not make for good survivor pool picks.
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