NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 14
I follow a handful of public relations guys from Doc's affiliated-sportsbooks on Twitter, and regarding an upset-filled Week 13 around the NFL from a Survivor Pool perspective, one wrote that the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers both losing as double-digit favorites essentially cleared the decks in that site's Survivor competition.
Philadelphia was -10 at a Miami team that is trying to tank and led 28-14 in the third quarter. I honestly didn't even give that game a second thought at that point - no fantasy football reasons to care, either -- so when I saw the final score of 37-31 in favorite of the Dolphins, I thought it had to be a typo. The Eagles were my top Survivor choice last week.
Carolina was -10 at home against a Redskins team that is also tanking and starting a very raw rookie quarterback, yet the Panthers were stunned 29-21. Owner David Tepper was so ticked off at that result that he fired Coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday. Pretty sure that means Cam Newton's time with the Panthers is over too. Already saw one sportsbook listing Michigan's Jim Harbaugh as the favorite to be the next Carolina head coach. That's ridiculous. Harbaugh isn't going to leave Michigan after yet another pantsing from rival Ohio State. And even if he did, he's not going to Carolina.
That's one thing to keep in mind in the season's final four games: Teams with lame-duck coaches tend to just mail it in. I'm looking at you New York Giants. And you Atlanta Falcons. And you Jacksonville Jaguars. And you Detroit Lions. I'd say you, too, Dallas Cowboys, but they can still win their division even though Jason Garrett is a goner.
Here's a look at Week 14, and the team listed first is the choice.
16. Green Bay vs. Washington: Redskins will run , run and run some more (or at least try) to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field, and I'd probably take the double-digit points here, but Dwayne Haskins isn't beating Rodgers at Lambeau.
15. Cleveland vs. Cincinnati: Yes, the Browns were clearly overrated coming into this season, especially Baker Mayfield. And where has Odell Beckham gone? But they still have slim playoff hopes. And now that the Bengals have that first victory, they probably don't much care the rest of the way.
14. Minnesota vs. Detroit: Vikings are on a short week and off a very physical game in Seattle, with top tailback Dalvin Cook banged up, but the Lions are going with third-string QB David Blough again and probably won't even score 10 points against this defense.
13. Houston vs. Denver: I'd worry about an upset here if Houston was on the road as the Texans might be set up for a bit of a letdown game off beating New England last Sunday - I'll be taking the Broncos and the points - but they'll escape.
12. Philadelphia vs. NY Giants: This is our sad Monday night game of Week 14. Unfortunately, there's no college bowl games to watch yet, and it's a rather lame NBA and college basketball schedule. Guess I will catch up on my macramé.
11. New York Jets vs. Miami: Not that I really trust the Jets this much, but it would be so embarrassing to coach Adam Gase to be swept by his former Dolphins team this year that I can't imagine New York losing at home … unless of course the players don't like Gase.
10. Pittsburgh at Arizona: Devlin "Duck" Hodges has become one of my favorite non-Bears in the NFL only because he's a bit of a character and I saw him play once while starring at Samford. Guy has skills and should light up the NFL's worst pass defense. Also, there will be more Steelers fans at this game than rooting for the Cardinals.
9. Tampa Bay vs. Indianapolis: A true line of demarcation starts here - very confident on all the above picks and less so starting with this game. Indy is sliding, has an untrustworthy kicker (Adam Vinatieri) and likely without TY Hilton and Marlon Mack again, so that makes Tampa the pick.
8. New Orleans vs. San Francisco: Most important game of the day between 10-2 teams. The Saints are in great position for the NFC's top seed with a win, while the Niners still have a dogfight on their hands just to win the NFC West with Seattle. Drew Brees > Jimmy Garoppolo.
7. New England vs. Kansas City: Tom Brady is no Patrick Mahomes these days but is 2-0 against the reigning NFL MVP. Everyone is worried about the Patriots after Sunday night's loss, but they always seem to lay an egg once every December and then still end up in the Super Bowl.
6. Baltimore at Buffalo: Still not sold on the Bills despite their win in Dallas last Thursday. Although I can't believe I cut Josh Allen from my fantasy team early last season. Be interesting watching him and Lamar Jackson running around all day.
5. Jacksonville vs. LA Chargers: Both teams have totally quit, but we'll take the Jags at home with Gardner Minshew back under center.
4. Atlanta vs. Carolina: Had this labeled the Lame-Duck Coach Bowl until Tuesday's news on Rivera. I'll take Matt Ryan at home over Kyle Allen - plus the Falcons blew out the Panthers a few weeks ago in Charlotte.
3. Chicago vs. Dallas (Thursday): The Mediocre Bowl between 6-6 teams, although the Cowboys might win their sorry-a** NFC East Division with a 7-9 record. Chicago is showing signs of life in winning three of four, while Dallas has lost three of four. Not sure why the Cowboys are road favorites here (granted, they do have more overall talent).
2. Oakland vs. Tennessee: The Raiders have looked terrible the past two weeks, but those were on the road. They have been vastly better in Oakland, their final season playing there.
1. LA Rams vs. Seattle: This is a desperation game for the Rams, while Seattle can "afford" to lose in a way and is on a short week after a comeback win over Minnesota on Monday.
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