It was a pretty good week for survivor pool players to start the season - at least ones who didn't do anything to crazy. Favorites and public teams did well, which is usually good news for survivor pool players early in the season. The bad news is that most pools didn't see too many people disappear, so you aren't much closer to winning now than you were before. It could be worse, though - you could be out already. Our goal this week is to make sure that you survive for another week of action. Here's how the week breaks down ( point spreads are from BetOnline):
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The big favorites
New Orleans (-10.5) vs. Tampa Bay: This is a case where you absolutely should not overthink things. In fact, I'll say this now and then you can just skip the rest of the article - take the Saints. New Orleans lost last week, but it was on the road against a very good Arizona team, and it wasn't a particularly embarrassing performance. They could have been better, but they were fine. Now they head home into a newly-renovated building in front of a loving crowd. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, got humiliated at home by Tennessee - hardly an elite team in their own right. Now they have to travel. Their severe talent deficit on both sides of the ball will be exposed. The offense looked like what it is - one lacking firepower led by a talented-but-raw rookie. The defense made a first-time starter look like freaking Joe Montana. Imagine what Drew Brees could look like against that same defense! Early in the season in survivor pools you aren't looking to win it all. You're just looking to stay as safe as you can and let the weak players make bad mistakes. This is as clear and obvious a pick as it is possible to have in a pool. As some shoe company would say, just do it.
Indianapolis (-7) vs. N.Y. Jets: So, you're still reading? Fine, I'll keep typing, then. Don't pick the Colts. You can't based on what happened for both teams last week. The Jets looked surprisingly good on both sides of the ball last week. It was only against Cleveland, so we likely won't see the same thing again, but we can't be completely sure. The Colts, meanwhile, looked as bad as they have in a few seasons. They were terrible in Buffalo. They will probably be better this week - they certainly are capable of being dramatically better -- but we can't be certain that whatever was messing with their heads last game will be gone here. The Colts should win, but there is no upside in picking them here - not when the other option is the freaking Saints!
Miami (-6) at Jacksonville: Okay, I get it, for some reason you don't want to take the Saints. I get it - some people like to be contrary. I'm sure it's charming in your case. Well, you could probably take the Dolphins with reasonable comfort (though not as comfortably as another team in the southern portion of the country). They played a decent game on offense, though Washington's defense probably looked better than they should have. They were decent on defense, but they weren't playing a very good offense, and the defensive line wasn't as sharp as it should be at all. The line should be better after another week of practice and some live fire, though, and they aren't exactly against a diverse and in-sync offense this week, either. I'd feel better if the Dolphins weren't on the road for the second time in a week or if they had played a more complete game last week, but they are clearly and dramatically the better team here and should be fine.
Pittsburgh (-5.5) vs. San Francisco: I'd skip this game, too. Like 14 other games this week. Pittsburgh was inconsistent offensively against the Patriots and lousy on defense. San Francisco was surprisingly strong on Monday. They frustrated the Minnesota offense badly and ran the ball very well. Pittsburgh is probably better - especially at home - but the margin is too narrow to risk it in September. This is the kind of pick you make in November because you have to, not now when you have much better options. Like freaking New Orleans, for example.
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