NFL Survivor Pool Strategy Advice and Predictions: Week 6
It's only the sixth week of the NFL season, yet from a survivor pool perspective it feels like the season is about nine years long already. It has been an absolutely brutal season for pool players so far, and it doesn't get a lot easier this week. In fact, this is the toughest weekend we have had so far as we head into the week - the two weeks that were really brutal seemed really straightforward heading into the action. This week there is one obvious play, but it probably isn't playable for most players. There are a few big spreads, but I hate all of the favorites in these spots. And then we are left to make the best of the rest, and that is going to be uncomfortable. If you are still alive in your pool then get ready for a stressful week.
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The obvious pick
L.A. Rams vs. Denver : The Rams potent defensive front is going to feast on Denver's weak offensive line and eat Case Keenum for lunch. And Denver's defense just isn't working right now, so the video game offense of the Rams should have another big day. I don't feel like this one is going to be very close. At all. It would be a very comfortable and easy pick, but it would be quite surprising if you hadn't already picked the Rams in the first five weeks of the season. They are, after all, clearly the best team in the league at this point. If you haven't picked them yet then stop reading and enter your pick. But if you have picked them then things get tougher.
Tough favorites to love
Minnesota vs. Arizona: The Vikings are favored by 10 points here, and on paper they should run away with this one. But the Cardinals, though far from a good team, are consistently playing tough and with a lot of pride. Minnesota, meanwhile, is underachieving massively. Their defense is not firing, their offense is inconsistent, and they seem to be playing with a tiny fraction of the chemistry we saw last year. They should win this game, and if you wanted to pick them I wouldn't argue with you, but I don't love the spot.
Houston vs. Buffalo: The Texans are 8.5-point favorites, and that just feels silly. They have not been a great team by any means, neither the offense not the defense has been consistent, and Bill O'Brien is trying hard to get himself fired. Buffalo has looked really bad in three losses and quite good in two wins. Well, great in one win, and good enough in the other. If the better version of the Bills show up and the average version of the Texans do then it would be a long way from a shock to see the point spread upset here. So, the thought of trusting the Texans is a long, long way from attractive.
Green Bay vs. San Francisco: On paper the Packers should win this one handily, and they are favored by 9.5 points . But the team is just .500, and both of their losses and their tie have not been great. Some personnel issues have been exposed. Most significantly, though, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers just don't seem to be on the same page at all right now, and the offense isn't anywhere near the full potential. San Francisco doesn't have a legitimate quarterback, and they aren't playing great - they just lost to Arizona, and that's not easy to do. But they beat a decent Detroit team, and played both the Chargers and the Chiefs fairly tight. If Green Bay was in fine form then they would be a confident bet here, but they aren't and I don't have any interest in this play.
The best of the rest
Carolina at Washington: The Redskins looked truly awful on both sides of the ball against New Orleans on Drew Brees' historic night on Monday. Alex Smith just isn't performing, and he isn't getting a lot of help. It's kind of ugly. Carolina has won three of four. It hasn't always been pretty - they scraped by against the lowly Giants last week. But they have found ways to win. Most significantly, there is still plenty of upside that we have yet to see, for example the running game click at nearly full potential. I would feel better about this pick than I would about the ones above other than the Rams.
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