NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 12
Thanksgiving used to be this writer's favorite holiday. First, it was a very long weekend - and Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the party nights of the year. Then, my family had two Thanksgivings, one on the actual holiday and one on that Sunday because of split grandparents, etc. That meant I was swimming in leftovers of my favorite meal for at least a week.
However, I've been involved in pro football in one form or another for quite a while, and that usually means a working Thanksgiving. It is, after all, one of the most-watched and most-wagered football days of the entire year. Someone has to do it! So, you know, don't feel bad when I'm eating turkey ramen on Thursday.
All of this is relevant to Survivor Pool and Confidence advice because now we are in the stretch run, and this is a tough week with those three quick turnaround games instead of one. I generally avoid picking teams in Survivor who play Thursdays or picking them high in Confidence pools that day because of all the intangibles of turning around and playing again so quickly.
This week it will especially be interesting in both competitions because two of the three best teams in the league, the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, are on the bye. Was that game Monday something or what? So there are two teams off the board in Confidence. The Bears are certainly better than the Lions on Thursday, but Chicago is the first team in modern history to play at 1 p.m. ET or earlier on three days of rest immediately following a prime-time game.
I also believe the Lions and Cowboys are at a huge advantage on Thanksgiving because they are used to playing on the holiday every year and with all that entails. Family distractions are a real thing in the NFL, and all the road teams Thursday now have to deal with that - as do the Saints, who are hosting a Turkey Day game for the first time. Long story short, don't be surprised if things go a bit askew on Thursday.
There was one major upset in Week 11, with the Broncos going to the Chargers and ending L.A.'s six-game winning streak. The Bolts were my top pick in this space last week. Atlanta was my No. 2 and it lost at home to Dallas. So, really, what do I know?
Here are my Week 12 Survivor Picks in order of how I would also do my Confidence Pool selections (with occasional exceptions noted when necessary). The team listed first is my choice. As noted, the Rams and Chiefs on the bye so we start at 15.
14. Dallas vs. Washington (Thursday): Yeah, I know what I said above, but there's no way I see Colt McCoy going to Dallas and winning in his first NFL start in four years. Poor Alex Theismann … err Smith.
13. LA Chargers vs. Arizona: I should have known better on the Chargers as they are somewhat like the West Coast version of the Lions in that as soon as you think you trust them, they break your heart. They won't do it again this week, though.
12. New Orleans vs. Atlanta (Thursday): I'll just say right now that I'll be taking the Falcons and nearly the 14 points. You can't give a team with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones a two-touchdown head start. The Saints are due a bit of a stinker, but while it may be close they'll make it 10 straight victories.
11. Philadelphia vs. NY Giants: Now we find out if the Eagles have any heart or if the Super Bowl hangover can last this deep into the next season. Philly's players should be embarrassed by last week's loss in New Orleans. The Iggles already trashed the G-Men once this year.
10. Baltimore vs. Oakland: Doesn't really matter if Joe Flacco returns for the Ravens or not; in fact, it's probably time to roll with Lamar Jackson, although John Harbaugh will get the former Heisman winner killed by having him run the ball 27 times again.
9. Indianapolis vs. Miami: Small worry here in that the Fins are off their bye, are getting Ryan Tannehill back and historically have played well at the Colts. Then again, Andrew Luck is scorching hot right now. Maybe Indy should be happy it didn't hire Josh McDaniels.
8. New England at NY Jets: This one also likely will be closer than the spread as the Jets usually cover against the Pats, only to do something stupid at the end to allow Tom Brady to escape.
7. Houston vs. Tennessee (Monday): I'll be moving this up at least a few spots if Marcus Mariota is unable to play for the Titans. I realize that Blaine Gabbert beat the Texans earlier in the year, but that was largely due to luck and trick plays. Won't happen again.
6. Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco: Week 11 worked great for the 49ers. They were off and saw the Raiders and Giants win. Now San Francisco would pick No. 1 in the 2019 draft as things stand. Don't go blowing that with an upset win in a 10 a.m. Pacific game on the opposite coast.
5. Cincinnati vs. Cleveland: Hue Jackson's new team against his old one. I'd love to be in the film study for this one to see whom Jackson is ripping among the Browns. Cincinnati has won seven straight in this series generally easy, and I see no reason why that changes.
4. Carolina vs. Seattle: The Panthers are on a 10-game home winning streak, while it's an early Pacific start for the Seahawks, who have lost four of their past five as a dog.
3. Denver vs. Pittsburgh: I thought the Jags would upset the Steelers last Sunday, and by all rights they should have. That rally might have taken a lot out of Pittsburgh, and now it's the altitude of Denver. Broncos actually aren't that bad.
2. Buffalo vs. Jacksonville: Funny how cocky the Jaguars players were in camp off their AFC title game appearance. Things have gone downhill fast there, and last Sunday's amazing choke job probably sends the Jags into a death spiral the rest of 2018.
1. Detroit vs. Chicago (Thursday): How did the NFLPA allows this travesty of Chicago playing again so quickly? Frankly, this felt like a trap game even before the news that Mitchell Trubisky might sit with a shoulder injury. Bears probably better off just doing that and having him ready for the stretch run.
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