Last week was again a mostly straightforward week for Survivor pool players. There were a couple of rough results - Green Bay wasn't expected to be as underwhelming as they were in Denver, and Atlanta had no business losing to Tampa Bay. Neither one was a possible pick for most players, though. That left much more comforting - and successful - picks to be made. Because things have been relatively smooth for a few weeks in a row, now I can't shake the feeling that we are due for another brutal week again. This could be the week, too, since the large majority of players are likely to be on just one of two games.
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The best bet on the board would absolutely be the Patriots over the Redskins. If you still have the Patriots available to play at this point, though, then you probably aren't doing things right. There are two games, though, that are more likely to be possible and aren't significantly more risky.
Cincinnati vs. Cleveland: The only reason not to pick the Bengals is that you can't. It's as simple as that. There are many reasons to doubt the Browns here - aside from just the simple fact that they are the Browns. The team apparently tried hard to trade Joe Thomas but didn't quite get it done. Teams that are in a good place and feeling good about themselves don't trade away their heart and soul. Josh McCown is really banged up and could be unavailable. That might mean it is "Johnny Football" time. That's not a good thing in all likelihood - especially since it's not like Manziel is in the best place mentally right now by all indications. Both teams are dealing with a short week, but that's a far bigger concern for the Browns. Cleveland has also been awful on defense, which is a major concern for a team facing the best AFC offense outside of the greater Boston area. Above all of those things, though, is this - Cincinnati is just the better team. Much, much, much better. And they are at home. I am fairly confident that the Bengals are going to disappoint at some point this season - that's just what they do. If that disappointment starts here, though, it will be a truly shocking development. This is not a game the Bengals should lose even if they are only half the team they look like they might be.
New Orleans vs. Tennessee: If you can't take the Bengals then this is the next best option. Sometimes a team gets a short-term boost from a coaching change. You don't need to look any further than the Dolphins this year as proof of that. That's not likely to happen here, though. The health of Marcus Mariota is uncertain. Healthy or not, there is a bigger issue - this team just isn't good. The offensive line is a disaster. Talent is in short supply. The new coach is hardly any more inspiring than the old one. It's not a good situation. The Saints have plenty of issues, but they are coming off three impressive offensive games in a row. This is not a great defense they are up against here by any means, so there is no reason to doubt that Brees and company are in line for another big day. Of course, the Saints are completely inept on defense. That can make things scary - as it did against the Giants last week. No matter who is in at QB, though, it is highly doubtful that Tennessee will be well-positioned to exploit that defensive weakness - at least not at the same rate as the Saints are going to be able to score.
If you can't pick either of those games - or the Patriots - then things get much tougher. Briefly:
Atlanta at San Francisco: The Falcons are likely not a possible pick for most, but they would be fine to play here. They have been really lousy lately, but the Niners are a hot mess, and even a limping Atlanta team has a significant edge.
New York Jets vs. Jacksonville: This has so far been the most popular pick of the week behind the first three games we mentioned. I don't like it. The Jets have been exploited defensively the last two games, and the Jaguars have had a week off to sort out some issues and get ready for this one. The Jets should be able to win at home, but it wouldn't be a shock if they didn't. Too much risk unless there are no other options.
Denver at Indianapolis: I don't like this spot - even if the Broncos are available to you - but you can certainly make a case for Denver. Their defense has been stellar. Last week they completely shut down Aaron Rodgers - a guy who is playing much, much better than Andrew Luck right now. Peyton Manning is still a shadow of his former self, but he is coming off his best game of the season and has a new toy to play with in Vernon Davis. Plus, the Colts have a serious mess with their coaching staff, and they aren't as healthy as they would ideally be. So, why don't I like it? Well, the Colts stepped up and played a much better game - at least in the fourth quarter - than we could have expected last week. And the Broncos, despite their success and the stunning win last week, are a team that is overachieving in these eyes.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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