It was a tense week of Survivor Pool action for me last week. Actually, it wasn't that tense because I had given up on most of my pools by about five minutes into the game. I was confident that Kansas City over San Diego was the best choice of the week, and that it wasn't even close. Unfortunately, the Chiefs only decided to play for 15 minutes, and it was the last 15 minutes. They came through in the end, but it wasn't pretty, and it wasn't fun to watch.
It doesn't matter how you win as long as you win, though. The biggest complaint I have is that the most popular teams all pulled off the win in the end as well. When you take a bit of a risk in picking against the crowd, you hope that a big chunk of your competitors get knocked out. Anyway, that's enough looking back. It's time to figure out who to pick this week. There are five games worth looking at here:
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Carolina vs. San Francisco: In ideal circumstances this would be an easy pick. The Niners won 28-0, but you can't mistake that as a sign that they are competent. They beat a stunningly horrible L.A. team. They are outmatched here - especially on the road - and this should not be a close game. The reason for hesitation, though, is Cam Newton's health. He was bashed in the head far too many times last week, and we can't really know how his health will be as a result. It probably won't be a big enough factor to affect the outcome of the game, but it is enough to make me look for a better spot elsewhere (spoiler alert - there is a much better spot coming up). For free betting picks on this game click here.
Baltimore at Cleveland: The Ravens played a really awful Buffalo team and only scored 13 points. They are a work in progress. Against a really good team it would make me nervous. Fortunately, they aren't playing a really good team - or even a legitimate NFL team. The Browns are a disgusting mess, and now they are dealing with a backup QB to go with all their other woes. The Ravens will win this one, and they could be a pick this week easily, but there is a better spot to come.
New England vs. Miami: I didn't see the Patriots win in Arizona coming, and most people who say that they did are lying. You have to have nothing but respect for that win, and for the team - whether you are a fan or not. The fact is, though, that as good as Jimmy Garoppolo was in his debut, he's still only heading into his second start - and now the Dolphins have game film on him to work with. The Dolphins shut down the Seahawks last week and are a better team than they are given credit for. The Patriots are clearly the better team, and will more likely than not win, but there are better spots this week - and there will be better spots for the Patriots down the road.
Denver vs. Colts: The Broncos are favored by nearly a touchdown here, but I wouldn't touch them in Survivor Pools this week. There is one thing I dislike immensely when making a pick - a serious QB mismatch. That's what you have here. The underdog is quarterbacked by a highly-paid and highly talented-superstar coming off a huge game - even in a losing effort. The favorite has a guy who couldn't be a full-time starter at Northwestern. Now, the Colts have serious issues on defense, and the Broncos really don't, and that could easily be the difference here, but all in all it just doesn't feel like it is worth the risk.
Seattle at L.A.: I don't get paid by the word exactly, but I do write articles of a certain length, and since I put the effort into writing the words I hope that you take the time to read them. That's why I had to put this game last. If I had put it sooner then there is no way you would have read further. The article wouldn't have been nearly long enough, either. The whole write up for this game could be as simple as - of course you should pick this game, you idiot. The Seahawks are the Seahawks. The Rams looked as bad offensively as a team can look in their opener, and didn't look very good defensively, either. They are a mess. They will get a boost from the home opener, but that won't last long if they keep playing like they did last week - the fans will turn on them quickly. The Seahawks didn't play great in their opener, but this is a much easier opponent, and they will be angry. I could go on, but why? Just pick the Seahawks.
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