NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 12
by Trevor Whenham - 11/18/2014
No one truly cares about how anyone else is doing in their survivor pool. It's a shame because I feel like I could use some sympathy. Heading into last week's action I was alive in three pools - and in the final three of each. Now I am down to just one - and that only barely happened because the Steelers tried their very hardest to lose to the Titans. The other two pools were won - and not by me. Cleveland was disastrous. The Bears decided to actually play some offense, and the Vikings had no answer. You have to gamble at this time of the year in survivor pools, and the majority of the gambles didn't pay off. Things aren't over yet, though, so it is time to look at the schedule for this week to find the spots most worthy of gambling - involving teams most likely to be available to pick:
Kansas City at Oakland: I'll be brief here because I assume you have probably used the Chiefs already. If you haven't, though, then you can comfortably have your survivor pool week done with by Thursday. Weekend off! The Chiefs are playing as well as any team in the league. The Raiders, to be kind, aren't. Mismatch.
Buffalo vs. New York Jets: The Bills have actually lost two in a row, but I give more credit for that to the opponents than the faults of the Bills. They played the red-hot Chiefs very tight, and though they were beaten soundly by the Dolphins, they had a very solid defensive day. This is a team that has done a good job of frustrating offenses and knocking them off of their game. The Jets barely have an offensive game to be knocked off of. They had that stunning win over the Steelers last time out, but that was an outlier of a result over the last couple of months, and we can't overreact to one unexpected showing. Before that game they were beaten soundly by the Chiefs and absolutely crushed by the Bills in New Jersey. The Jets had no answers for Buffalo last time, and it is hard to imagine that things will be much different here. The Jets are not the worst team in the league, but they are in that discussion, and the week off will have done nothing to change the realities - the season is lost, the QB position is a major issue, and their coaching staff is a group of walking dead. Buffalo has lacked consistency, but they are clearly the better team here, and that's all you can hope for this far into a survivor pool season.
San Francisco vs. Washington: This is the game I will be using this week. I have been very nervous about the Niners for a while now, so they haven't been the right choice yet. Well, that certainly changes right now. I don't think any team has played worse this year than the Redskins did at home last week. It was just ugly. Robert Griffin III just looks awful (how hard is it to believe now that after his rookie season picking Andrew Luck over him was widely thought to have been a mistake?), and it's hard to see him changing in a hurry because his delivery and mobility are almost as much of a concern as his total lack of football IQ and horrible attitude. Throwing his teammates under the bus in his post-game comments won't help, and neither will head coach Jay Gruden ripping Griffin to shreds publicly. This is a soap opera, and it's only going to get worse. The Redskins do nothing at an elite level and very little particularly well. They just aren't good. San Francisco has some issues, but they have won two in a row and five of seven and are a much better team now than they looked earlier in the year. They have some drama of their own, but they are much more equipped to overcome it. Aldon Smith is back in action and could eat Griffin alive - more than once. This one shouldn't even be fair.
Cleveland at Atlanta: The Browns burned me last week, but if I was short of options I would jump right back on board with them in this spot - though I am relieved that I don't have to. The Panthers are a bad team, yet they were just one missed field goal away from beating the Falcons last week. Atlanta just doesn't do anything good enough, and their mental game is a total mess. The Browns were lousy against the Texans last week, but since they had won five of six before that I am willing to give them a mulligan. They will be the more focused and motivated team here, and their coaching is dramatically better.
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