NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 11
Well, here we are much closer to the end of the NFL survivor pools season than the beginning. We'll see how things shape up this week, but my guess is that next week will be the last week for our predictions for this year. Last week was another pretty straightforward week in a pretty straightforward season. We looked at three teams that were all pickable. The Lions beat Cleveland soundly, the Rams absolutely rolled over the Texans after a slow first half, and Pittsburgh made beating the Colts much harder than they should have. Here's hoping that this week's games go as well for us. There are three pretty obvious games this week, and we can only hope that one works for you. New England would be playable as well, but I am assuming that no one has them left. Also, playing in Mexico City is another twist that makes that game slightly less attractive:
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New Orleans vs. Washington: I'll admit that I haven't bought into the Saints at all this year - until last week. Drew Brees is getting older, the defense has long struggled, Sean Payton has long had one foot out the door, and the team hasn't been particularly inspiring for a while now. But going into Buffalo in November and kicking the ever-loving crap out of a decent Bills team is too impressive not to take note of. What is so striking about this team is that it is not the same old Saints. The offense had become too predictable - Brees would be throwing it early and often - but they have dialed back the importance of their QB, and it has made their offense more powerful overall. The team scored 47 points in Buffalo, and Brees had 184 passing yards and no touchdowns. That is almost impossible to believe - or at least it would have been before this year. They are running it like crazy, and Payton is doing the most engaged and effective coaching he has done in a few years. And a defense that has been a total afterthought for much of a decade in New Orleans is top 10 in points allowed, total yards and passing yards. This is a well-rounded and dangerous team.
Washington, meanwhile, is fine but far from great. They have lost three of their last four as the realities of their shortcomings have become more apparent. They actually have been better on the road than at home, and they won nicely in Seattle the last time they left home, but they are in tough against a team that is red hot and very dangerous. New Orleans is a comfortable pick, and I don't know about you but I haven't used them up until this point. I will be looking to carry on for another week in the backs of the Saints.
Jacksonville vs. Cleveland: The last two picks this week are both kind of no-brainers. Cleveland is not only the worst team in the league this year but the worst team we have seen in a few years - and that is saying something. Jacksonville isn't a great team, but they have won three in a row, and those wins have all had something in common - they have taken care of business against underwhelming teams each time. They don't play down to the level of their opponents, and I don't expect them to start now. This is, plain and simple a mismatch - as it is when Cleveland plays any team in the league (and probably two or three CFL teams, too). Take the Jaguars.
Kansas City at New York Giants: The Giants are a total and utter mess. Just ugly. Remember when the USC Trojans pulled Lane Kiffin off the team bus at the airport and fired him? It is absolutely amazing that the Giants did not do the same thing on the tarmac of San Francisco's airport. That game against the Niners was as embarrassing as any in the league in a long while. The Giants look clueless, disinterested, disorganized, and fully aware of how bad they are. They started the season poorly and have only gotten worse as things have gone along. Injuries haven't helped, but they have far more talent than this record would suggest. A team doesn't bounce back from a loss like that in any hurry - especially when they have been so bad all season - so I would blindly pick pretty much any team outside of Cleveland against the Giants. Kansas City has not been as sharp in recent weeks as they were early in the season, but they have had a bye to get back on track, and they are so far ahead of their opponent here that words can barely describe it. The Chiefs, if available, are a very comfortable pick.
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