NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 5
I don't know about your survivor pools, but in mine the Falcons were the cause of quite a massacre. An unbeaten team with Super Bowl-caliber talent at home in a shiny new stadium against an eternally underwhelming team. It's the kind of game that Atlanta should win in their sleep. But of course Buffalo won it to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC East - where everyone the planet obviously knew they would be at this point in the season. Atlanta was a pick that I liked even though I don't trust the Falcons and their mental game. I'll admit, though, that after saying they were my top pick for the week in last week's article I chickened out and went with Seattle in the end - a pick that looked horrible until halftime when things changed dramatically. And now this week we head into the first week of bye weeks. Combine fewer games with a surprising tough schedule this week and it's by far the toughest week of the season to date to find a team worth backing. But we shall do our best:
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Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville: The Steelers are probably off the board for most players in leagues that allow you to pick a team only once - which is what all the good leagues do. If they aren't, though, then this is worth looking at because the Steelers are the biggest favorite on the board as I write this. The Steelers looked every bit as good as you could have hoped both last weekend against the Ravens and in Week 2 against the Vikings. The problem is the game that came in between. Pittsburgh somehow managed to lose to the Bears - a team that isn't as good as Jacksonville is.
So Pittsburgh is quite good - unless they aren't. And Jacksonville is even more of a Jekyll and Hyde team. In odd numbered weeks they have been dominant, beating up on Houston and Baltimore. It's the even weeks which have been the problem, though - they were crushed by Tennessee in Week 2 and found a way to lose to the Jets last week. The freaking Jets. They can't put two good games in a row together, but this is an odd numbered week, so anything could happen.
I think Pittsburgh will win, but they aren't looking as consistently sharp as they have at times in the past, and Jacksonville has a nice defense when it's rolling. I can't pick Pittsburgh in my pools anyway, but I'm not at all convinced that I would if I could. Too risky.
Philadelphia vs. Arizona: This is the top pick this week, and I don't think that it is even close. Arizona just isn't very good right now. Their 2-2 record is the most misleading in the entire league. Their two wins have come against Indianapolis and San Francisco - two of the three worst teams in the league. And the Cardinals needed overtime to win both games. That is a long, long way from impressive.
Philadelphia has been much better. They have three wins, including two in a row. The lone loss was to the Chiefs, and there is no shame in that this year - especially since the game was reasonably close. In his second season Carson Wentz is starting to look like a legitimate NFL QB. He's leading an offense that is third in total yards in the league and seventh in points scored. The Lions and Cowboys have both managed to score a lot of points on the Cardinals, and there is a good chance that Philadelphia will be able to as well.
Arizona has one decent matchup in the game as they are passing well this year for the most part, and the Eagles rank 30th in passing yards allowed. They have played a strong of strong passers so far, though, so that isn't necessarily completely representative of their skills. They have also been very good against the run, and Arizona has been inept on the ground without David Johnson, so the Cardinals will have to work with a very one-dimensional offense. That will hurt.
Philadelphia has gone "over" the total in their last three games and missed by less than a field goal in Week 1. That indicates that the Eagles could be looking for this to become a bit of a shootout. If it does then the home team will have the clear and significant edge. Philadelphia will be my pick in every pool I play this week.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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