NFL Survivor and Confidence Pool Picks and Advice: Week 8
In this space every week, I always remind those of you in Survivor and Confidence Pools to wait until the last possible second to make your picks. You never know what can happen.
For example, a couple of weeks ago the Dolphins scratched Ryan Tannehill, completely out of nowhere, on Sunday morning before hosting the Bears (stupid Brock Osweiler!). The past Sunday, the Chargers and Titans played with a 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff from Wembley Stadium in London.
Now, I try and sleep in a bit on Sundays so I wasn't awake for that kickoff. Which meant I didn't know that the Chargers' most important player not named Philip Rivers, running back Melvin Gordon, was scratched. That largely came out of nowhere as Coach Anthony Lynn basically wanted to give Gordon's hamstring two weeks to rest - the Chargers are on the bye this week.
I recommended the Bolts as my top Survivor & Confidence choice last week but certainly would have dropped them down hearing about Gordon. The Chargers did escape with a 20-19 victory because Titans coach Mike Vrabel decided to go for two points at the end instead of a tie (good for him!).
Alas, my fantasy lineups with Gordon were locked, so nothing I could do there. Stupid a.m. games! There's another one this week, Eagles vs. Jaguars, and then we're done with early-morning kickoffs for 2018. I recommend setting your alarm for 9:15 a.m. or so if you pick either the Jaguars or Eagles as your Survivor choice (Confidence you can still win a week even with your top pick wrong) in Week 8.
Another reason to be extra careful this week: the trade deadline is next Tuesday, so a key player being lost could certainly affect matters. The Raiders just got worse trading Amari Cooper to Dallas as would the Cardinals if they dealt away star cornerback Patrick Peterson. The Giants appear to have started a fire sale too.
Here are my Week 8 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. Atlanta, Dallas, Tennessee and the LA Chargers are on the bye, so we start at 14.
14. Kansas City vs. Denver: I'm sure the Chiefs have been used as your Survivor choice by now. The Broncos did give Kansas City all it could handle a few weeks ago on a Monday night, but that almost lined up like a trap game for Kansas City, which has won six straight in the series. This one doesn't.
13. New England at Buffalo (Monday): For some reason, I feel like the Pats will struggle a bit here and not cover the big number - remember, fellow Survivor knockouts, what Buffalo did to Minnesota at +17? That said, New England can't possibly lose.
12. Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland: These teams played to a tie in Week 1 when both could have won if not for missed kicks. Still no Le'Veon Bell for Pittsburgh, but the Steelers are healthy and rested off a bye and should win by at least a TD here. Even if that TD is scored in overtime, because all Browns games go to OT.
11. Chicago vs. NY Jets: Might be the most confident I've been about a Bears game since the Lovie Smith heyday. No way they can lose at home to the Jets … well, if Khalil Mack sits out with his ankle injury, bump this down a fair amount. He's that important.
10. Houston vs. Miami (Thursday): The Dolphins are down their two top receivers, and now Brock Osweiler gets his first road start in a stadium where the fans hate him because he was bad for Houston in 2016.
9. Cincinnati vs. Tampa Bay: The Bucs' already-awful defense just lost one of its best players in linebacker Kwon Alexander to a season-ending injury. That defense has allowed at least 34 points in every road game. Play Andy Dalton/AJ Green on your fantasy team this week if you have them!
8. LA Rams vs. Green Bay: Packers rather dangerous off the bye, but not sure they can go to L.A. and beat the steamrolling Rams. Make them sweat and cover the biggest spread against Aaron Rodgers in his pro career (in a game he starts)? Yes.
7. Detroit vs. Seattle: The Lions seemingly have been looking for a good running back since Barry Sanders. Think they found one in Kerryon Johnson, who is closing fast on Saquon Barkley for Rookie of the Year. One of those tough a 10 a.m. Pacific time starts for Seattle.
6. Minnesota vs. New Orleans: Rematch of the "Minneapolis Miracle" game. I wonder how much Saints defensive back Marcus Williams is reminded of that by strangers every day of his life. Vikings win another tight one.
5. Carolina vs. Baltimore: The Panthers had no right winning in the fourth quarter last week on the road (Philly), and the Ravens had no right losing in the fourth quarter at home (vs. Saints). I simply like the home side here.
4. Indianapolis at Oakland: I actually was leaning Oakland here on Monday off its bye, but with Cooper out the door, Marshawn Lynch on IR … Jon Gruden clearly wants the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Shoot, he might trade Derek Carr and owner Mark Davis by kickoff.
3. Philadelphia "at" Jacksonville (London): Hard to believe these teams played in their respective conference title games last year the way they are going now. Poor London fans can't catch a break in getting a good matchup over there. I'll definitely be checking at 9:15 a.m. ET on Sunday if Zach Ertz was a surprise scratch.
2. Washington at NY Giants: Meh. Giants on a short week, have given up and, wow, the Manning brothers really lose their talent quickly when it goes, don't they? Peyton was awful his last year in the NFL, and this BETTER be Eli's last.
1. Arizona vs. San Francisco: Me watching "Howard the Duck" > this game.
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