Well, that was carnage. A whole lot of survivor pools are a lot smaller than they were a few days ago - mine included - thanks to the New Orleans Saints. When the biggest favorite of the week loses their home opener to what was supposed to be a lousy team - and their potential Hall of Fame QB gets outplayed by a rookie who was terrible in his debut - a lot of survivor pool dreams are going to die. We can't have regrets, though, and we can't dwell in the past. Ever forward, I say. Let's see what we can do this week - even if we had to find a pool we could enter now in order to make a pick. As is usually the case, we'll focus on the biggest betting favorites. These games are organized in order of preference:
New England (-13.5) vs. Jacksonville: This one is a no-brainer (yes, I know I said the same about New Orleans last week, but it is even truer this week). The Patriots likely haven't been picked so far - both Pittsburgh and Buffalo were potentially challenging opponents, and there were better options in both cases. With all due respect to the Jaguars, there isn't a better choice this week. Jacksonville looked solid last week in beating Miami, but the Dolphins have issues and Jacksonville was at home. Blake Bortles has taken a step forward, and it is easy to imagine him as a long-time pro. He and his offense are no match for how Tom Brady is playing right now, though. He's playing as well as he ever has, and there is no reason to think that that can't continue this week. New England is angry, Rob Gronkowski is unstoppable, and everything is working. The defense isn't as sharp as it could be right now, but if this game turns into a shootout then New England is the clear choice. The Pats have an obvious coaching edge, too. Just make the pick.
Green Bay (-7) vs. Kansas City: It's quite possible that the Packers are already off the board for a lot of people - they were a pretty comfortable and attractive pick in their opener at Chicago. If they are still available, though, then they would be a good pick - not as good as the Patriots but still very comfortable. Injuries on offense haven't been quite the factor that they looked like they could be. Aaron Rodgers has adapted and is playing great football right now. Kansas City, meanwhile, isn't doing anything particularly well right now. They are sloppy and can't hold onto the ball. The passing game is limp. Defensively they have not done too much to get excited about - especially in crunch time. This is an underwhelming team travelling to play a very good one that is especially good at home. Not tough to get comfortable with how this one might turn out.
Seattle (-14.5) vs. Chicago: I guess I wouldn't have an issue taking the Seahawks. They just aren't nearly as attractive as the biggest favorite on the board should be and not nearly as attractive as the two teams ahead of them. They have been better than their 0-2 record, and the schedule makers didn't do them any favors, but there are still causes for concern - especially defensively. Still, the Bears have not looked very good, and Jay Cutler is banged up and likely out - though that's not necessarily a bad thing these days. Seattle very much should win, but I would rather not pick an 0-2 team that hasn't looked like they are expected to and has more drama around them than is ideal. If you have somehow used both Green Bay and New England in your first two weeks, though, then this is a fine spot to land.
Houston (-6.5) vs. Tampa Bay: I don't think we need to spend much time here - with three better choices on the board, and with it only being the third week, there is no reason to pick the Texans. And why would we right now? They should be the better team, but Tampa Bay has proven to be unpredictable, and Houston is making very odd decisions around their quarterback that don't exactly inspire confidence. This is an 0-2 team that has allowed 14 more points than they have scored and have already lost one at home. I'm sure not comfortable betting on that.
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