NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 10
by Trevor Whenham - 11/4/2014
I love symmetry, and we have some pleasing symmetry as we head into Week 10 of our pursuit of NFL Survivor Pool success. There are six games being played this week in which there is one team that is viewed as a solid favorite in most eyes. Of those, three stand out as reasonable, acceptable picks that I would happily make in any pool if I had the option to do so. The other three involve far more risk, and they just plain make me uneasy. Here's a look at both the good and the bad:
Green Bay vs. Chicago: It has been three weeks since the Packers played well -- they lost an ugly game to the Saints and then had a bye week. They had been playing very well before that point, though, so it is not tough to imagine them bouncing back strong at home in this one. The Bears are also coming off a bye week, but that won't be enough to get them back on track. They have lost four of their last five -- badly -- and the lone win comes against Atlanta, so it hardly counts. The first of those four losses was a 38-17 massacre at home -- by these same Packers. Jay Cutler has regressed, team chemistry is an issue, and coach Marc Trestman is so busy making excuses in the media that it is obvious that even he doesn't know what the real issues are. The Packers should be very comfortable here.
Denver at Oakland: Denver embarrassed themselves at New England last week, but that is really a positive coming into this one in two ways. First, the Raiders are most certainly not the Patriots, so a lot of the issues that the team had against the Patriots aren't likely to be repeated. More significantly, though, Peyton Manning is going to be very angry -- and that is a good thing for bettors and a terrible thing for opponents. Manning wasn't as bad as he said he was -- he repeatedly said that he sucked -- but he was a long, long way from his best. He doesn't view himself as mortal, so he doesn't except mortal performances. He will double up his efforts to get back on track here, and that is going to be more than enough to shine against an Oakland team that doesn't really do anything well. I would be shocked if you hadn't picked the Broncos already, but if they are somehow still available then go for it.
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Jets: The Jets have lost eight games in a row and don't really appear to be able to blame bad luck for any of those losses. They just aren't very good. Their offense is a total joke, and they have allowed just short of 30 points per game over the losing streak. Hard to beat anyone doing that. They are in the midst of a total lost season, and the obvious impending firing of Rex Ryan isn't going to help them improve. The biggest problem for them is that they beat the Raiders, so they will only get the top pick with a worse record than Oakland. Pittsburgh has won three in a row, but that obviously isn't the big story with them. What matters is that Ben Roethlisberger has thrown six touchdowns in each of his last two games. Twelve touchdowns. No picks. And now he is going up against a defense that is essentially helpless. This one could get ugly. It would be shocking if it didn't get ugly. Take the Steelers if you possibly can, and sleep soundly.
Arizona over St. Louis: In a lot of ways Arizona should be a comfortable pick here. They have the best record in football, they are at home against a 3-5 team, and they know that this game takes them even closer to becoming one of the more unlikely divisional winners in a long while. The problem, though, is the Rams. Austin Davis has settled in at QB, and they have won two of their last three -- against divisional foes Seattle and San Francisco, no less. They are a feisty, dangerous team that has no shortage of self-belief, and they have a defensive line that causes nightmares. Arizona is more likely to win this one than the Rams are, but it isn't going to be as easy as it could be, and unless I had to pick this one I would feel better looking elsewhere.
Baltimore vs. Tennessee: Baltimore is a massive favorite in this one, but they make me very nervous. They have lost two in a row, and are the furthest thing from a consistent team. Tennessee has one win in their last seven, so they are not a good team by any means. Two of their last three wins have been by a total of just three points, though, so they are playing tough in defeat. They were beaten up by Houston last time out, but they have had a bye week to work to improve their new QB, and that will have an impact. Do I expect Baltimore to win? Yes. Would I be at all shocked if they didn't? No. I'd pass on this game.
Philadelphia vs. Carolina: Two words -- Mark Sanchez. If that name doesn't strike fear into your heart then you are a braver person than me. We have no way of knowing how ready he is to run this system, so we can't reasonably bet on him here. Sure, the Panthers have been lousy, and Cam Newton couldn't hit the side of a barn from four feet right now, but the change of QB is just too much of an uncertainty.
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