NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 8
by Trevor Whenham - 10/21/2014
Survivor pools are all about surviving. Obviously. Sometimes, though, it's the small things that are every bit as important as picking a winning game in a given week. Last week had one of those moments. The Seahawks were heavily favored against the Rams and would have been an easy pick. They made me very uneasy, though - and that was even before the whole Percy Harvin debacle. I told you to stay away from Seattle no matter what, and though I didn't necessarily anticipate an upset - and definitely not in such crazy fashion - it was a strong suggestion. Let's look at the five games with the biggest spreads this week to see if we can find another equally solid suggestion that can help you keep on surviving:
Denver vs. San Diego: Nearly everyone has likely picked the Broncos by now, so this one isn't very relevant. It's a good thing, too, because I just don't like the thought of picking the Broncos here. It has nothing to do with Denver at all - they are playing very well and are tough at home. I just don't like picking games in which both teams are good. I like to think of a test - would you be truly shocked if you heard that the underdog won this game? If you wouldn't then it's not a good survivor pool pick. In this case I certainly wouldn't be shocked by a San Diego win - even though it is the less likely outcome. They beat the Broncos last year, they have an explosive offense, their coach knows the Broncos well, and they have been playing good teams tough all year. Denver is the more likely winner, but the edge isn't significant enough to justify the pick.
New England vs. Chicago: Again, no one likely has the Patriots as an available pick this week. If you did, though, then I'd be fine with backing them. Chicago has been far from confident lately, and they don't seem to be improving. They have talent, so there is always a risk that this will be the week that they get back in shape. Winning in Foxboro is a huge challenge, though, so it is going to be tough for the Bears to shine - and I don't think they have hit rock bottom yet.
Kansas City vs. St. Louis: The Chiefs are playing very tough right now - as their win in San Diego last week proved. They are legitimate. Unfortunately, the Rams showed with their win over the Seahawks that they are feisty and they just won't go away. They aren't good enough to win this game, but that hasn't stopped them from winning games this year. Kansas City wouldn't be the worst pick of the week by any means, but I would look elsewhere if I could - like the last game on this list this week.
Cleveland vs. Oakland: I wouldn't touch this game unless I had absolutely no other option. Not after how Cleveland played against the Jaguars. Jacksonville isn't exactly the best team in the league, but they looked like it against the Browns. Brian Hoyer couldn't pass, and his team just looked inept in too many ways. Oakland is generally terrible, but they have shown moments of competence, and that could be enough if Cleveland replicates their lousy showing of last week. The Browns are more likely to win, but I have absolutely no interest in trying to determine which lousy team is likely to be less lousy on a given day.
Dallas vs. Washington: This is the pick to make this week if you can make it. I can't help but feel a little nervous about the Cowboys - they are Jerry Jones' team after all, Tony Romo is still in charge, and sooner or later DeMarco Murray is going to prove to be mortal. They have not taken a misstep in a long time, though, so it only makes sense to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove they no longer deserve it. It is especially easy to do that when they are hosting the Redskins. Why do I have so little respect for the Redskins right now? Two words - Colt McCoy. Starting a third stringer out of desperation is never a good thing in his league, but that is especially true when that third stringer has had the issues being a legitimate QB in this league that McCoy has had. He just has not been very good in his career, and he doesn't have a whole lot to work with on this team. This is a divisional mismatch.
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