NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 16
I usually recap the previous week's action around the NFL and try to pinpoint which games might have had a major affect on your Survivor Pool competition. I'm in a handful of them, and my last one ended last week. It was a very chalk Week 15 with favorites dominating, so not much to recap - the only stunner in my mind was the Rams not so much winning in Seattle but doing so 42-7. That, my friends, was officially a changing of the guard game in the NFC West.
This week, I'm going in a different direction and providing my thoughts on perhaps the Toilet Bowl game of the season and two teams you surely did well in your Survivor Pools with if you went against them each week when possible: Browns at Bears. I'm sure there have been worse Week 16 matchups in NFL history, but I can't remember one.
And I believe there's a good chance of a Christmas miracle for the Factory of Sadness.
First off, both these teams need new ownership. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is too aggressive with his changes, while Bears principal owner Virginia Halas McCaskey is way too conservative and loyal to family members who have wrecked one of the NFL's marquee franchises. The Bears at least think they have their franchise quarterback in rookie Mitchell Trubisky, even though he's one of the lowest-rated QBs in the league. The irony is that Trubisky is somewhat of sloppy seconds for the Bears.
Trubisky grew up in Ohio as a huge Browns fan and was hoping the team would choose him at No. 1 overall in this year's draft. Cleveland did like Trubisky but liked Myles Garrett more. The Browns reportedly did want to trade back up high in the draft to then get Trubisky too, but the Bears scuttled that by moving from No. 3 to No. 2. Cleveland ended up with DeShone Kizer in Round 2 (a guy the Bears might have taken in Round 2 if they didn't get Trubisky as they liked Kizer too), and Kizer has been awful.
So why do I think the Browns will avoid joining the 2008 Lions as the only 0-16 teams? Since December 2011, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson is 2-0 on Christmas Eve and 0-32 in all other games. He beat the Chargers last Dec. 24 and also won in 2011 on the holiday while in his one season with the Raiders. In addition, the Bears are 0-7 under John Fox as a favorite. I truly want the former Monsters of the Midway to hit rock bottom on Sunday so ownership finally will be forced to make drastic changes. Starting with Fox.
Here are the Week 16 picks, with the chosen team listed first.
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay: Explain to me why the Bucs inducted Jon Gruden into the team's Ring of Honor on Monday? Yes, he won a Super Bowl, but it was with Tony Dungy's players. Gruden was just 57-55 in his six seasons in Tampa and never won another playoff game. That's Ring of Honor worthy? The Bucs are completely injury-ravaged and on a short week, while the Panthers still have a first-round bye to play for.
Kansas City vs. Miami: I was laughing that some people were actually believing in Jay Cutler last week in Buffalo off a big win over New England. Have you ever seen Jay Cutler have back-to-back strong games? How often do the Dolphins win in the cold? Chiefs could wrap up AFC West.
Minnesota at Green Bay (Saturday): Atlanta's win in Tampa on Monday ended Green Bay's playoff hopes and Aaron Rodgers' season as we placed on injured reserve. Simply no reason to put him out there with that still-not-100-percent wing. Vikings playing for a first-round bye.
Detroit at Cincinnati: The Lions are still in the wild-card hunt but need to win out and get help. There's no reason they should lose to a Bengals team that mailed it in three weeks ago … but I'd be anxious about the Lions because they are the Lions and also playing outdoors in the cold.
New England vs. Buffalo: Trap game for the Patriots? I do think this will be much closer than expected as they are likely to be a bit flat off that huge win in Pittsburgh. But Tom Brady simply doesn't lose to the Bills.
Baltimore vs. Indianapolis (Saturday): Ravens control their destiny for a wild-card spot, while the Colts should try to lose out to earn as high as the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
Philadelphia vs. Oakland (Monday): The Raiders' season essentially ended Sunday night thanks to an index card and some KY jelly on Derek Carr's hands. Philly still has the NFC's top seed to worry about.
Dallas vs. Seattle: The loser is out of the playoffs. The winner has to win again in Week 17 and get help. The Seahawks' title window appeared like it slammed shut in last week's shocking loss to the Rams. The Cowboys welcome back Ezekiel Elliott.
Tennessee vs. LA Rams: Huge letdown game potential for the Rams off their massive win in Seattle and having to travel across country for a 10 a.m. Pacific time start.
New Orleans vs. Atlanta: The clear game of the week with playoff ramifications in just about every direction. The Saints lost in Atlanta two weeks ago but barely had a concussed Alvin Kamara then - damn, I wish I took him in my fantasy legacy draft. He's healthy now.
LA Chargers at NY Jets: Chargers have to have it to keep their slim wild-card hopes alive. If the Jets had Josh McCown instead of Bryce Petty, I'd pick the upset, though.
Jacksonville at San Francisco: Yeah, I wish the Bears instead had traded for Jimmy Garoppolo! How good does that deal look now for the Niners? But the best QB in the NFL this month? Blake Bortles. I feel dizzy simply typing that.
Pittsburgh at Houston (Monday): If Houston wasn't starting T.J. Yates, I'd pick this upset. What will the Steelers have left in the tank after that crushing last-second loss to the Patriots and also with no Antonio Brown?
Cleveland at Chicago: Capacity of Solider Field is 61,500. My "over/under" total for actual fans in attendance on Sunday would be 35,000. What would you rather do on Christmas Eve in Chicago: Enjoy the beautiful holiday surroundings and shopping or sit in the freezing cold for this joke?
Washington vs. Denver: Kirk Cousins' current team against his next one?
Arizona vs. NY Giants: Eli Manning's current team against his next one?
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