NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 4
Well, that week of NFL Survivor Pools action was far more stressful than it should have been. Green Bay was the clear best pick last week against Cincinnati, yet somehow the Packers didn't rediscover the mojo they lost in Atlanta, and the Bengals looked more competent than they have in most of a year. The Packers needed overtime, and I needed a drink or two to get through that mess. And New England, which was the second-best choice, didn't make winning look any easier than Green Bay did. And pity the people that hadn't already picked Pittsburgh, because the Steelers losing ugly to the Bears is just one of those impossible mysteries of life. Well, the important thing is that a good portion of us are still alive for another round of fighting, and there are no style points so staying alive is all that matters. And here's how this week breaks down - with three pickable games to choose from:
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Kansas City vs. Washington: This is the least attractive of the three games on this list this week. On one hand, Kansas City has been perhaps the most consistently complete team in the league this year. They have been good on both sides of the ball in all three games and have the look of a solid, reliable team - picking right up where they left off last season. And they are at home, which is always tough for any visitor. The problem, though, is Washington. The Redskins are the lesser team here, but Kirk Cousins is coming off a really strong performance last time out, and they were surprisingly dominant against a Washington team that had been looking really good up until this point. And it wasn't just that they beat the Raiders - they broke their will and stifled anything they wanted to do. I'm not sure Washington can keep doing what they did - in fact it doesn't feel likely - but the fact that they did it all at is enough to make me nervous. The Chiefs should win this one, and I would happily pick them if there weren't a better pick on the board, but there definitely is. Still, if you wind up making this pick then I would have no real reason to argue with you.
Atlanta vs. Buffalo: Despite the 3-0 record, I am still not really in love with this Falcons team. They got a very fortunate reversal on what would have been Detroit's winning touchdown as the game ended, and Matt Ryan was far from sharp. Still, they have played well, and they are returning to their shiny new home where they played by far their best game of the season as they demolished the Packers. Buffalo is 2-1, but the wins have both come against very flawed teams without legitimate quarterbacks, and both have come at home. They are in tough here and will find it much tougher to play against a competent offense in a hostile environment than they found it last week at home against Denver. The last time the Bills went on the road their offense didn't make the trip with them and they lost 9-3 in Carolina in what will surely be a finalist for worst game of the season. Atlanta is, in my eyes, the top pick on the board this week. I don't believe in the Falcons long term, but though I think far less of them than most people, if they lose this game they are far from what I think they are.
Seattle vs. Indianapolis: Both these teams are a dismal 1-2, so it seems dangerous to have any faith in either of them. Seattle gets the nod here for three reasons, though. They are at home, and that's a big advantage for them. Their losses have come against Green Bay and Tennessee, and neither road game has been a blowout. That's a better level of competition than Indianapolis has fallen to. And, despite the success of Jacoby Brissett at QB last week, and the continuing inadequacies of the Seattle offensive line, the Seahawks are a dramatically more talented team, and it's reasonable to expect far more from them than from Indianapolis. Put another way, Seattle is a pick here simple because they absolutely should win this game. They haven't played near their potential yet, but even playing close to their potential puts them far ahead of Indianapolis. And while Seattle has obvious and real problems, the Colts are far from the best suited to exploit those problems. I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep if I picked Seattle.
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