NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 13
This is a Survivor Pool story first and foremost, but if you have been following my overall picks for a Confidence Pool competition , then you also are likely doing well. In the past four weeks in my main competition, I have won, finished second, third and second. I entered Monday night in Week 10 in first and needing the unbeaten 49ers to stay that way against Seattle - or at least tie. Of course, they lost.
Same damn thing happened this past Monday as I was in first place and would have cashed in had the Rams beaten the Ravens. Guess I can't whine about that one because it was a spectacularly bad pick in retrospect with L.A. getting housed 45-6. Had I picked Baltimore, I still wouldn't have won. Sometimes, it's wise to use a high number in a Confidence Pool on a Monday game perhaps to switch late and hope for a long-shot victory (if that gets you a win) like the Seahawks did in San Francisco.
My top Survivor Pick last week was Cleveland beating the visiting Miami Dolphins, and that was never in question with the Browns rolling to a 41-24 victory. I warned you about taking the Pittsburgh Steelers in a major trap game at winless Cincinnati. The Steelers won 16-10 but had to rally from a third-quarter deficit behind backup QB Devlin "Duck" Hodges.
Week 13 is arguably the best one of the year simply because of the three Thanksgiving Day games (so don't forget to get your picks in early), although I'll be working so bah humbug. Frankly, none of the three matchups are all that enticing, either. Shame that 49ers-Ravens can't be flexed to Thursday as that's the game of the week and would be much more appealing than Thursday night's Saints-Falcons matchup. No teams have clinched a playoff spot yet, but three in theory could this week with a win and some help: New England, New Orleans and San Francisco.
Here's a look at Week 13, with all the bye weeks finished for 2019. The team listed first is the choice.
16. Philadelphia at Miami: Hard to trust Carson Wentz and the Eagles as a top Survivor Choice right now with the way they have played the past two weeks in home losses, but it's utter desperation time for Philly .
15. Green Bay at NY Giants: Big Blue has given up on coach Pat Shurmur, who has as much of a chance of being the team's head coach next year as I do. Green Bay will bounce back strong after Aaron Rodgers & Co. were embarrassed last Sunday night at the 49ers.
14. Carolina vs. Washington: Christian McCaffrey might have cost me a spot in the fantasy football playoffs last week as he had another huge game, but the Panthers lost in New Orleans. The Skins aren't winning on the road the way rookie Dwayne Haskins has looked so far.
13. Kansas City vs. Oakland: If you don't believe in look-ahead games, well, you are wrong. The Raiders clearly were caught in one last week in being trounced at the Jets. They might be competitive Sunday but won't win in chilly weather against a Chiefs team off its bye.
12. New Orleans at Atlanta (Thursday): Saints won in Hotlanta last year on Thanksgiving but were stunned 26-9 at home in Week 10 by the Falcons in one of the biggest upsets in NFL regular-season history. Not just because the Saints were -14 but also the way both teams were playing entering that one. No way the Saints overlook their rivals again.
11. Chicago at Detroit (Thursday): Second year in a row these teams meet on Turkey Day, with the Bears prevailing by a TD in 2018 with Mitchell Trubisky out injured. The Lions won't have Matthew Stafford again this week - his season is over - and might not even have backup Jeff Driskel due to a hamstring injury. Thus, it might undrafted free agent David Blough, and if he beats the Bears I am changing my allegiance. I mean from the entire NFL to the English Premier League or something.
10. Dallas vs. Buffalo (Thursday): Don't think it will happen, but here's hoping the Cowboys lose in embarrassing fashion because that will make for some interesting chatter and story options involving Jason Garrett's immediate future in Dallas (hint: there won't be one).
9. Indianapolis vs. Tennessee: Indy has won the past three in the series, including 19-17 in Nashville in Week 2. Marcus Mariota was still the Tennessee quarterback then, but the Titans have (shockingly) gotten a lot better since shifting to Ryan Tannehill. Still like the Colts on extra rest.
8. Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland: Over/under brawls in this one? Alas, Myles Garrett and Maurkice Pouncey are suspended and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has benched Mason Rudolph in favor of the rookie Devlin Hodges. Garrett, Pouncey and Rudolph were the main culprits in the ugliness between these teams a few weeks ago.
7. Baltimore vs. San Francisco: Potential Super Bowl preview. What Lamar Jackson is doing right now is unprecedented. This matchup is also unprecedented. It's the first game in NFL history between teams coming off 28-point wins vs winning teams.
6. LA Rams at Arizona: Don't hear much talk about "super genius" Sean McVay these days do you? Jared Goff looks broken. L.A. has way too much talent to be this mediocre. The Rams will be pushed against a Cardinals team off a bye but will escape.
5. LA Chargers at Denver: What's the record for most interceptions over a three-game span? Philip Rivers has thrown seven over his past two as the Bolts' playoff hopes have evaporated. Still, I like L.A. off a bye week and because All-Pro safety Derwin James, who was so good as a rookie, is expected to make his debut off a foot injury suffered in the summer.
4. Seattle vs. Minnesota (Monday): Seattle is 18-2 at home in prime-time games since Pete Carroll took over as coach. Enough said.
3. Jacksonville vs. Tampa Bay: Sadly, I will be stuck with this freaking game locally where I live TV-wise and won't get 49ers-Ravens. Sports bar here I come.
2. Cincinnati vs. NY Jets: Yep, Bengals get their first win. Very tough to go winless at home for any team during a season, and this is realistically their last chance with games vs. the Patriots and Browns remaining in Cincinnati. Coach Zac Taylor is going back to Andy Dalton at quarterback. Jets are playing well, but Sam Darnold is due a four-interception game or something like that.
1. Houston vs. New England:
The Sunday night game. Seriously, who have the Patriots beaten this season
that's any good? Dallas? Uh, no. Philadelphia? Below .500. Buffalo? Total
fraud. Texans with the upset.
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