NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 6
The Philadelphia Eagles did everything we could have hoped last week. They were the clear and obvious pick for survivor pool action in Week 5, and they beat Arizona almost laughably easily. If only it were so easy every week. We are at the time of the season in survivor pools when things really get interesting. For people who are paying attention and understand how these pools work, getting to this point is manageable most years unless something crazy happens. But with each passing week the competition gets tougher, the pool of good teams gets smaller, and our job gets more difficult. But we're up for the challenge. Here's how this week's action sets up for survivor pool players:
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The last couple of weeks have had a clear pick - one game that stands out as the right one. This week, though, there are five games you can make a pretty good argument for. That kind of variety can be helpful because the chances are good you have at least one of the team's left to pick, but it also makes things a bit more complicated and nerve-wracking.
Atlanta vs. Miami: The Miami offense ranks last in the league in points scored. And in total yards. And in passing yards. And second from last in rushing yards. The Jay Cutler experiment is, at best, a work in progress, and the results have not been promising. Atlanta's defense has been solid, the offense has been better than that, and they have had a bye week to figure out what went wrong in their loss to Buffalo last time out. That Buffalo loss was at home, and they are going to be eager to stop the losing streak in the new building at just one. This one shapes up as a mismatch - much more of one than seemed likely at the beginning of the season - and Atlanta is a comfortable pick.
Houston vs. Cleveland: If I have to spend too much time explaining this one to you then you aren't paying attention this season. Or over most of the last decade, really. Cleveland is basically just Cleveland - they give up a lot of points, don't score many, and have real questions at quarterback. They have played a couple of opponents close, but they have not been good opponents. They will win a game or two this year, but it's hard to imagine it happening here. Houston is only 2-3, so they are far from perfect. None of the losses have been unforgivable, though, and the last two have been strong efforts against good teams. Deshaun Watson is playing well now, and the team is well prepared, defensively creative, and strong running the ball. Houston is well-positioned to win this one, and is a very good pick.
New England at New York Jets: It's not hard to make the argument here - the Patriots are a good team that is underachieving, and the Jets are a troubled team that is overachieving. The Patriots have long owned the Jets, and it is rarely a bad bet to trust them in this matchup. Compared to other games here, though, this one is unattractive. The Patriots' defense is truly flawed, and the offensive line isn't doing much of a job of protecting Tom Brady. And they can't keep receivers healthy, either. With the Patriots struggling to find their mojo, and the Jets finding ways to win far more often than expected, this is a play you could make if you absolutely had to but not one that is easy or comfortable.
Washington vs. San Francisco: Washington is just 2-2, but their losses to Philadelphia and Kansas City are solid, their wins are against decent teams, and they have had a bye week to regroup and get ready for this 'test'. San Francisco has lost their last two in overtime, and the two before that by a total of five points, so they have played tough. That's deceptive, though, given the generally weak level of competition. They are defensively challenged, and this is their third straight road game, so they will be weary. The Redskins would have no excuse for anything other than a solid win here.
Denver vs. New York Giants: The Giants have looked just hopeless this year. They can't run the ball, Eli Manning looks old, and they are losing receivers in bulk. They just don't have any ways left to score significant points, and their defense has been a total mess so it's not like they can win tight defensive battles, either. This very quickly is becoming a completely lost season. And now they are up against a Denver defense that has been very strong - tops in total yards allowed. Denver has an offense that is the envy of no one, but it can do enough to, with the help of that defense, win more games than they lose. This is a good spot for them, and they are a very comfortable pick this week.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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