NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 5
I was bitching earlier this year in this space about ties counting as losses in Survivor and Confidence Pools and how it was a mistake for the NFL to change the extra session from 15 minutes to 10.
We had three more overtime games in Week 3: Texans-Colts, Eagles-Titans and Browns-Raiders. And, I have to say, those were incredibly entertaining. It's almost like NFL coaches now are doing all they can to avoid a tie. New Colts Frank Reich did that against Houston, and it absolutely imploded in his face. He was being a little too aggressive. Meanwhile, Titans first-year coach Mike Vrabel made almost as ballsy a call at the end of OT and it led to a win - my guess being the first NFL walkoff win ever on a touchdown pass to a receiver from my alma mater.
I wonder if coaches who have been around a while would be so aggressive or if these new guys are trying to make an early point to win over the locker room. The Colts players seemed to love Reich for trying, and Vrabel is now a hero to his players and Titans fans.
Incidentally, at least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first four weeks, joining the 1979, 1983 and 2002 seasons as the only campaigns to feature at least one OT game in each of its first four weeks.
There were really no major upsets in Week 5 like Bills-Vikings in Week 4, so probably nothing earth-shattering in a Survivor Pool. I freaking lost my Confidence Pool by one stinking point because I had the Broncos on Monday winning and they darn well should have. Probably should have played "defense" and shifted to the Chiefs presuming all the competitors chasing me had Kansas City. Ah well.
Here are my Week 5 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 always, you should wait until the last possible minute to make your picks. Chicago (figures, just when rolling!) and Tampa Bay are on the bye so we start at 15.
15. Cincinnati vs. Miami: Look, I don't like trusting any Marvin Lewis-coached team, but the Bengals might be pretty good - and they get back defensive leader Vontaze Burfict from suspension. The Dolphins won their first three games, and I'm honestly not sure they win three more. No playmakers on that team.
14. Carolina vs. NY Giants: I may well move the Panthers to 15 by Sunday at noon ET (usual deadline). They are coming off a bye week. The only reason I have slight concern is the Giants do have two playmakers in Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. Then again, they also have Eli Manning.
13. New England vs. Indianapolis (Thursday): The spread on this might be a tad too high, but the Patriots get Julian Edelman back from suspension and the Colts likely are without Andrew Luck's main guy in T.Y. Hilton. "Over/under" on Deflategate references for this one? It's Colts' first game at Foxboro since all that.
12. LA Chargers vs. Oakland: I think from now on for every Raiders game in this space, I'll just thank Jon Gruden again for trading Khalil Mack to the Bears. This is probably too high for the Bolts, but not a lot of better options this week.
11. San Francisco vs. Arizona: How can a team with David Johnson be this offensively inept? Just proves you need a quarterback, and the Cardinals don't yet have one (although Josh Rosen may be good eventually).
10. New Orleans vs. Washington (Monday): If Drew Brees had a few more Super Bowl rings, there'd be no argument about the best QB in league history as he's about to break another record Monday: Most passing yards in a career. He also gets back Mark Ingram from suspension.
9. LA Rams at Seattle: Rams are light years better and on extra rest, but I don't have this higher because it's still very tough to win in Seattle - even with Earl Thomas now done as a Seahawk.
8. Pittsburgh vs. Atlanta: Does the fact the Steelers know when Le'Veon Bell is now returning make things better or worse? Team seems in a bit of chaos, but Big Ben & Co. should win a shootout vs. the defensively pathetic Dirty Birds.
7. Philadelphia vs. Minnesota: NFC title game rematch, but this time it's Carson Wentz vs. Kirk Cousins instead of the Nick Foles-Case Keenum Scrub Bowl. Eagles win a close one.
6. Tennessee at Buffalo: Yes, the Bills stink. But this screams letdown game for the Titans after one of the most unlikely regular-season wins in their history. In fact, I may move this lower the more I think about it. Teams rarely go winless at home and this might be Buffalo's W.
5. Houston vs. Dallas: Does anyone really care about this outside of Texas? Would like to hear of any possible side bets from egotistical and mega-rich owners Robert McNair and Jerry Jones. How does Rhode Island sound?
4. Baltimore at Cleveland: Starting to believe in the Ravens as Joe Flacco looks like 2012 Joe Flacco (playoff version) and not 2013-17 regular season Joe Flacco. Poor Browns, they could easily be 4-0 and did get completely jobbed last week by the refs in Oakland.
3. Kansas City vs. Jacksonville: This will be fun! Patrick Mahomes and that spectacular offense against the most talented and best defense in the NFL. Chiefs on a short week but think they escape.
2. Detroit vs. Green Bay: Matthew Stafford is rolling since his Week 1 debacle, while Aaron Rodgers is ripping his offensive game plan. Kerryon Johnson has finally given the Lions a running game. Should taken him over Royce Freeman in my fantasy keeper league!
1. NY Jets vs. Denver:
Broncos seem ripe for an upset traveling two time zones on a short week and
after blowing a game they should have win against the rival Chiefs. If Jets
look bad again this week, might be it for Todd Bowles.
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