NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 14
Here's what I wrote last week in this space: "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."
I won my main Confidence Pool in Week 13 because I did just that. Yes, I got the Packers wrong at home against Arizona just like everyone else on the planet, but took risks on the Cowboys upsetting the Saints, the Bucs over the Panthers and Giants over the Bears. All three home underdogs won. While I didn't have any of those clubs super high on my Confidence list, the fact other competitors all had New Orleans, Carolina and Chicago pretty high was enough to make the difference.
The Green Bay upset caused the Packers to rightfully fire a coach during the season for the first time in their history as Mike McCarthy is now a very intriguing candidate on the open market. I fully expect the Browns to hire him. Should we steer clear of the Packers the rest of the way behind lame-duck interim coach Joe Philbin? Shoot, if you've seen some of Aaron Rodgers' reactions during games, he seems to have already quit on 2018.
Week 14 is an interesting one because there are only three completely meaningless matchups: Jets-Bills, Falcons-Packers and Lions-Cardinals. When it's two teams with nothing to play for, always lean the home side.
I'll say this again, too: Make sure to wait until the last possible minute to officially make your Survivor and Confidence Pool picks. We all saw what can happen last weekend when the Kareem Hunt news broke on Friday evening/night. The Chiefs still won without their star running back but didn't cover in Oakland. There are going to be more and more players on losing teams shut down as well - like the Bengals' AJ Green -- with just four games left.
Here are my Week 14 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.
16. LA Chargers vs. Cincinnati: The Bengals have completely quit and are now down Green in addition to Andy Dalton. That said … I'd take all the points here only as the Bolts might be flat off that unbelievable comeback win in Pittsburgh on Sunday. They won't lose, though.
15. Pittsburgh at Oakland: This frankly falls in the same category as the game above. Pittsburgh is set up for a letdown game on a trip across the country and won't have James Conner, but the Steelers won't lose this because they simply can't afford to.
14. Green Bay vs. Atlanta: OK, I'm contradicting a bit of what I said above here. However, I believe Rodgers is so happy to be rid of McCarthy that the Packers will rout the Falcons - more so because Atlanta is terrible.
13. Kansas City vs. Baltimore: The Chiefs didn't miss Hunt much against the Raiders, but they might here. How amazing has Lamar Jackson been for Baltimore? Chiefs win close.
12. Seattle vs. Minnesota (Monday): Sometimes it's good to have a high Confidence Pool pick waiting on a Monday night game in a matchup where you still would be relatively confident switching sides if you need the underdog to win to capture that week's Pool. This is such a game. I do think Seattle wins, but if I'm down 11 and am sure the leader will take the Seahawks, I'm OK switching to Minnesota on Monday.
11. Houston vs. Indianapolis: The Texans are due a bit of a crap game on a long winning streak just like the Saints had last week. However, I don't think that happens at home.
10. Tennessee vs. Jacksonville (Thursday): The Jags showed some heart, defensively at least, in last Sunday's 6-0 win over the Colts, but that offense is still putrid. This may end in a soccer score, but Titans prevail.
9. Dallas vs. Philadelphia: Winner here most likely will claim the NFC East title, especially if it's Dallas to complete the season sweep. Cowboys are just a different animal at home. Plus, Philly on short week.
8. LA Rams at Chicago: Game was flexed to Sunday night. My Bears might be threats to the Rams next year in the NFC but not quite yet.
7. NY Giants at Washington: Uh, Mark Sanchez is now Washington's quarterback … until he breaks his leg too. Enough said.
6. New Orleans at Tampa Bay: This is more of a "defensive" pick because I do believe the Bucs could win this game. Jameis Winston and the Tampa defense look completely new the past few weeks.
5. Denver at San Francisco: The Broncos are rather boring as they just run the ball and win with defense, but it's working. The Niners should be motivated to keep losing and get that No. 1 overall pick.
4. Buffalo vs. NY Jets: Perhaps I shouldn't have cut Josh Allen in my fantasy keeper league earlier this year☹ Guy isn't very accurate, but he sure can run.
3. Arizona vs. Detroit: Meh. Simply going home side. Cardinals at least still playing hard.
2. Cleveland vs. Carolina: Here's hoping Cam Newton throws for 500 yards and five TDs … in a loss (yep, fantasy playoffs). Panthers have been awful on road since late last season.
1. Miami vs. New England: This is my "risk" pick of the week. Fins have won four of past five at home in series and dominated last year. Patriots could be looking ahead to Steelers in Week 15.
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