NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 13
Pretty bland/chalk week around the NFL in Week 12 as just about everyone who was supposed to win did: My top nine selections for a Survivor/Confidence Pool all won. In fact, in my primary competition I missed out on just 19 total points yet didn't even finish in the Top 5 because it was such a favorite-heavy weekend. The winner had 110 points, missing out on just 10.
If you are trailing by a significant amount in Confidence Pool season-long competitions at this point, it's time to take a few risks. If your leader gets a game wrong in say, the No. 14 window and you have the underdog winning in, say, No. 6. Well, you don't have to do the math.
From both a Survivor and Confidence standpoint, be very aware now that we are past Thanksgiving some teams will really start to mail it in. Look at what the Jacksonville Jaguars have done this week with their offensive coordinator and Blake Bortles. It absolutely benefits them to lose out and perhaps find Bortles' replacement high in the 2019 draft.
Jon Gruden has been tanking all year in Oakland - he'll really turn it on now. Teams with lame-duck coaches also are wise to stay away from. I'm looking at you, New York Jets and Todd Bowles. Or you, Cincinnati Bengals and Marvin Lewis. Maybe you, too, Dirk Koetter and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the flip side, there are 20 teams entering Week 13 currently in or within one game of playoff position. Those, you want to back. Over the past five seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers (20-3, .870) own the league's best record in the final month. Carolina (17-7) has the best in the NFC. Something to consider.
Here are my Week 13 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. No more bye weeks, so we start at 16.
16. Kansas City at Oakland: I think this line above 14 points is silly - you should always take more than two touchdowns on a home team in the NFL. Those guys are pros too. But, yeah, no way the Chiefs lose off their bye week. Had they played in Oakland the Sunday after that Rams shootout in Week 11, maybe.
15. Green Bay vs. Arizona: Here's another one where I'd take the points but can't see an actual upset. I'm tired of hearing how good Aaron Rodgers is. Not saying he's not, but I've watched just about every second of the past few Packers games and he has made pretty glaring mistakes that helped lead to losses. I wouldn't touch this in Arizona, but Pack don't lose at home.
14. Seattle vs. San Francisco: This one's all about motivation. Seahawks fighting for a wild-card spot and the Niners can pick first in the 2019 draft if they lose out.
13. Philadelphia vs. Washington (Monday): Not that I think the Eagles are all that good, but Washington is terrible with Colt McCoy under center. By the way: Thanks Philly for trading for Golden Tate and barely using him. So long, fantasy playoffs.
12. LA Rams at Detroit: I'll be honest here in that I might take Detroit in my main Confidence Pool (I need to take risks) as this smells like one the Rams could lose in a bit of a letdown situation. The Lions have beaten some good teams at Ford Field this year but may have quit already.
11. Tennessee vs. NY Jets: Another spread that's too big. Titans could be flat off their big Monday night game and loss in Houston, but they still have plenty to play for. They'll win, but it might be nerve-wracking into the fourth quarter.
10. Houston vs. Cleveland: Here's another I might go against the grain. Could Texans be flat on an eight-game winning streak but on a short week and outside the division? Browns are improving by the week. Hmm.
9. New England vs. Minnesota: The Patriots just don't lose December home games. Maybe if the Vikings were used to playing outdoors in the cold - why do those wimps have a dome, again, when the Bears and Packers don't?
8. Pittsburgh vs. LA Chargers: Game flexed to Sunday night. Unless Melvin Gordon gets back by Week 14, my fantasy title chances are truly gone. His absence here gives the Bolts almost no shot on the road.
7. Miami vs. Buffalo: Sean McDermott has made some really puzzling choices for the Bills, especially at quarterback, but that team continues to play hard. Miami, though, has to have this for its wild-card hopes.
6. Cincinnati vs. Denver: Yes, the Bengals are imploding and Andy Dalton is out … and probably AJ Green again. However, the Broncos have been wretched on the road under Coach Vance Joseph.
5. Indianapolis at Jacksonville: I have nothing against the Jaguars, but I'm thrilled they have gone into the toilet. Bunch of loudmouths on that team (starting with Jalen Ramsey) talking smack just for reaching last year's AFC title game. A welcome comeuppance. The Jags might be better without Bortles but will miss Leonard Fournette.
4. Chicago at NY Giants: As a Bears fan, this terrifies me off three division games and wins in 12 days. Plus, the Rams visit the Windy City next week. I'm hoping for a close escape. I will be taking the points on Big Blue.
3. Tampa Bay vs. Carolina: The Panthers have just one road victory and are falling apart on a three-game losing streak. Bucs can throw caution to the wind and help play spoiler.
2. Atlanta vs. Baltimore: Not clear as of this writing who starts at QB for Baltimore, Joe Flacco or Lamar Jackson (sounds like the rookie), or if both play. I'll still take Matt Ryan in his own dome.
1. Dallas vs. New Orleans (Thursday): Yep, I'm calling the upset. Saints look invincible but Cowboys have been very good at home other than one loss.
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