NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 9
by Trevor Whenham - 10/28/2014
Chances are pretty good that if you are still alive in your NFL survivor pool that you are down to the very few final survivors and that it could end at any time. After some challenging opening weeks, though, the last few weeks have been relatively straightforward - predictable outcomes in the games that matter, and few shocking upsets - so there is no reason that leagues couldn't continue on for a few more weeks. This week there are five games in which teams are favored by at least a touchdown. Typically there would be a few of those that I wouldn't recommend touching. This week, though, they are all playable. Hopefully that means that there is something available for you to choose. If not, we get into gamble time - the best and worst part of survivor pools. Without further ado:
Kansas City vs. New York Jets: Have you ever seen a team look any more pathetic than the Jets did last week? Geno Smith completed more passes to the other team than his own. Michael Vick was much better but not good, and he is the new starter. The team has issues all over the field, Percy Harvin was not a good fit early on, and the coach is obviously a dead man walking. Now they have to go on the road to one of the most hostile buildings in the league. And they have to face a team which, after a rough start, has won four of five and looks really quite good. This is ugly. The Chiefs would be a very comfortable pick here. Of course, about 23 other teams would be a very comfortable pick against the Jets at home, too.
Cincinnati vs. Jacksonville: The Bengals had been in freefall, but they managed to stop the slide a little bit with a decent win in a close game on Sunday. It still didn't address a lot of their underlying issues, and I remain unconvinced that this is a contender or that they will ever be under Marvin Lewis. It was a good effort anyway. Jacksonville has had a strong ground game in their last two thanks to Denard Robinson, who is finally getting a chance to shine after a year and a half of criminal underuse. That isn't enough to save Blake Bortles and the rest of this offense, though. They are just plain lousy right now, and there is no reason to believe that that is going to change any time soon. Peyton Manning was horrible in his first year before he became great. Geno Smith was horrible in his first year and much worse in his second. Hard to know which path Bortles will follow, but the "horrible this year" part is consistent either way. Cincinnati will be fine here.
San Francisco vs. St. Louis: The Rams try and try and try. You have to give them that. Injuries are catching up to them, though, and they just aren't good enough. San Francisco is rested, and they know that they can't afford anything but sustained success if they want to stay relevant in their division. They are good enough to win this one going away, and I expect them to do just that. You have probably picked the Niners, but do so if you haven't.
Seattle vs. Oakland: The Seahawks are a remarkable mess. The drama coming out of that locker room is straight out of junior high, and their level of play has been shockingly poor. They are the least attractive pick on this list - and have likely already been used by everyone anyway - but at home they should still be good enough to beat an Oakland team that is just not good. You could try for an hour to find something nice to say about these Raiders, and whatever you came up with would still sound hollow and false.
Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay: The Browns as a confident pick - it is strange times we live in. Tampa Bay blew a win at home with a total brain freeze in overtime. They should be better than they are, but they can't get out of their own way, and their issues will take more than a few days to remedy. This team needs a long-term view. The Browns have been strong at home, and with the odd exception have mostly been fairly consistent. They should be able to win this game.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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