NFL Survivor Pools Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 9
That was a really bizarre week of survivor pools action. I am still alive in three different pools. Heading into last week there were a total of 93 people still alive in those pools. Now? Still 93. Never have I seen a week without any eliminations - at least not until the very end of pools. It wasn't much of a fluke, either. There were several games that were playable, and all of them turned out just as they were supposed to. And what is particularly interesting is that there are three or four games this week that seem just as straightforward, so we could again go through a week with few eliminations. Some years pools are over by this point in the season. Here's how the games set up this week:
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Houston vs. Indianapolis: In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say up front that the Texans are an available pick for me in all three pools, and I will be picking them in each case. And I put about two seconds of thought into that decision. Houston opened up as 11-point favorites in betting action this week, and early on in betting that is already up to 13 points . This sets up as a very lopsided game. Deshaun Watson is setting records as a rookie quarterback, and he was as good in a loss last week against Seattle as a player can possibly be. He is wildly confident, and the team is feeding off of that. I suppose you could make the argument that the team will be disappointed in that loss and could struggle to get up again after that setback - especially because it dropped them below .500 on the season. And that could be a consideration if the Texans were playing against an NFL team. The Colts, though, just aren't. They have lost three straight and six of eight. Some would point out that they lost to the Bengals by just a single point as 11-point underdogs last week. Those people are forgetting, though, that the Bengals are only barely an NFL team this year as well. Indianapolis doesn't have a single significant advantage in this matchup, and it is not going to go well for them. Houston is not your typical 3-4 team, and the Colts are massively flattered by having two wins. This one is a no-brainer.
New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay: This one hurts a little - I picked Tampa Bay as my longer shot to love heading into the season - a true Super Bowl contender. Now all they are contending for is a top five pick in the draft. But they are lousy right now, and they really feel like a team that has given up on themselves. The Saints are one of the biggest surprises to me this year. The offense is rolling, and they have won five straight. I still am far from convinced that it can last all year, but this is a strong spot for them. If Houston wasn't so glaringly obvious then I'd be happy enough taking the Saints.
Philadelphia vs. Denver: I can't pick the Eagles, and I suspect most of you can't, so I won't spend too much time here. The Eagles have been the best team in the NFL so far. That very well may not last, but for now there is little arguing about that. The offense put on another impressive showing last week. They will be tested more here than they have up to this point because this is an elite defense. The offense for Denver is just a mess, though. They have averaged just 8.7 points per game over the last three and were shut out by the Chargers last week. They just can't get out of their own way, and that's going to be a problem for the team. I like other spots better because Denver defense is legit, but if it came to it I would have no issue with taking the Eagles.
Seattle vs. Washington: Again, I won't spend a ton of time because most people have probably picked the Seahawks already. Washington does some things nicely but nothing quite good enough. They have lost two in a row and three of four. They were overwhelmed by Dallas last week, and this is a tougher spot than that one. Seattle has some issues, and that offensive line still isn't great. They have won four in a row, though, and overcame a very strong Houston performance last week to win what was unquestionably the game of the year so far. Seattle matches up well and is going to be tough at home. They are a very pickable team as well.
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