NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 17
Perhaps it was a good thing I had a family issue come up last week that prevented me from writing my Week 16 Survivor Pool advice story. Why? My top two picks probably would have been Seattle over Arizona and the Los Angeles Chargers in their final home game in that little soccer stadium beating the Raiders, a team I thought would be totally flat after losing the last-ever game in Oakland the week before.
So, naturally, the Seahawks were stunned at home, which probably will cost them the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs. The Chargers just suck and have quit on the season and also lost; it was actually somewhat humorous how many more Raiders fans (L.A. is still a Raiders town) there were at that game than Chargers fans.
Here we are to the final Survivor Pool story of the season. Hopefully you've either cashed out as a winner by now or are still alive. I'm the type to take the sure money and always offer to split if it's down to just me and 1-2 other people in Week 17. Yes, I'm a competitor, but my wife is Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to buying shoes, and those ain't cheap! I'll always take sure money over the possibility of none.
I would argue that Week 17 is both the easiest and hardest to handicap. Easiest in those matchups where just one team has something to play for and the players on the other side can't wait to be rid of their coach and get on the golf course. It's hard, obviously, when both teams don't give a s**t (we will call those DGAS games below). I count six of those on the Week 17 schedule.
From a Confidence Pool perspective, if you trail the season points leader by a fair amount, now is the time to take risks and back a lot of underdogs to see if you can make up ground. Going chalk isn't going to cut it.
Thanks for reading, and we will see you next September unless my liver or some other abused organ gives out by then. Here's a look at Week 17, and the team listed first is the choice.
16. New England vs. Miami: Obviously, you have used the Patriots by now but they still have the second seed to play for. I'd actually take the points here as Miami is playing hard for first-year coach and former Pats defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Too hard, in fact, as the players are ruining the front office's tanking plans.
15. Dallas vs. Washington: The only worry here is that the Eagles are crushing the Giants at halftime and the Cowboys players see that and mail it in. Dallas only reaches the playoffs if the Eagles lose (and Cowboys win). One interesting story line here: Both owners reportedly are chasing Urban Meyer as their team's next head coach.
14. Green Bay at Detroit: Short week off a big rivalry game for the Packers, but they can't let up now because they get a first-round bye with a victory and perhaps the NFC's No. 1 seed. Why have the Lions never reached a Super Bowl? Ownership. The Fords showed their stupidity again recently by saying Coach Matt Patricia will return in 2020. Haha.
13. New Orleans at Carolina: Panthers don't care, so they can throw the kitchen sink at the Saints in terms of trick plays, but New Orleans needs a win and some help for a first-round playoff bye. Who will be Carolina's head coach the next time it takes the field?
12. Kansas City vs. LA Chargers: Move this WAY down if Andy Reid surprisingly rests Patrick Mahomes and others. Doubt he does because the AFC's No. 2 seed is in play, but Reid might just assume the Patriots will beat the Dolphins - K.C. only gets the No. 2 with a win and New England loss - and gets his guys a week off before Wild-Card Weekend.
11. Philadelphia at NY Giants: Probably will be taking the Giants and the points here too as this screams trap game for the injury-ravaged Eagles off their big win over Dallas. Can't see Philly losing this game with the NFC East title at stake, but Big Blue won't make it easy. Presuming this is last game as Giants coach for Pat Shurmur.
10. LA Rams vs. Arizona: DGAS game. Will Kyler Murray play? He left Week 16 with a hamstring injury. I'm sure the Cardinals won't risk their franchise player if there's any question. This team has a bright future. The Rams, on the other hand, might have seen their championship window close.
9. Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta: DGAS game. Probably the last one as Falcons coach for Dan Quinn. Will it be Jameis Winston's last in a Bucs uniform? With a big day, he could hit the trifecta this year: Lead the NFL in passing yards (he will), touchdown passes (five behind Lamar Jackson, who won't play Sunday) and interceptions (he will).
8. Denver vs. Oakland: My boy Drew Lock is 3-1 as a starter! Hoping he was my brilliant late-season fantasy football dynasty pickup just like Aaron Jones was two seasons ago. Raiders technically can make the playoffs with a win but need some crazy help. Don't see them winning in the cold. Last game as "Oakland" Raiders with the club moving to Sin City.
7. Pittsburgh at Baltimore: Want proof that Week 17 is all about motivation? The Ravens are on a franchise-record 11-game winning streak and have the NFL's best record but are home dogs because they have clinched the AFC's top spot and are resting most of their starters, led by MVP lock Lamar Jackson. Pittsburgh needs a win and Titans loss to earn the final AFC Wild-Card spot.
6. Tennessee at Houston: Texans are essentially locked into their playoff seed (fourth, could move up to third but that doesn't really help), so it would be silly to play Deshaun Watson and the starters. Bill O'Brien says he will, but I'm not buying it. Titans are the final AFC Wild-Card team with a win.
5. Minnesota vs. Chicago: DGAS game. Wish this was the last game of the Mitchell Trubisky/Matt Nagy era, but sadly both will be back in 2020 because the conservative Bears don't make major changes like that. Sigh. Minnesota is locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC and could rest guys. The Vikings will still win something like 9-3 because the Bears stink offensively.
4. San Francisco at Seattle: Not too often the Seahawks are home dogs, but they are so thin at running back due to injury they are calling Marshawn Lynch and Kurt Warner out of retirement to suit up. OK, just Beast Mode. The winner here is the NFC West champion, and the Niners are the conference's top seed with a victory.
3. Indianapolis at Jacksonville: DGAS game. The Jaguars have totally quit on Doug Marrone yet ownership might bring him back. People wonder why some of these franchises are perennial losers? How do these stupid owners become billionaires and I still have to eat Ramen Noodles?
2. NY Jets at Buffalo: DGAS game. The Bills are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC. Coach Sean McDermott hasn't said as of this writing that he will rest starters … but he will rest starters. Jets are actually playing fairly well of late. Will this be Le'Veon Bell's last game with Gang Green? I'd bet yes.
1. Cincinnati vs. Cleveland:
DGAS game. Ohio State would give both these squads a run for their money.
Next time the Bengals take the field, Joe Burrow should be their starting
QB. Next time the Browns do, it should be with a new head coach. Pee Wee
Herman would have done better job leading all this talent than overmatched
Freddie Kitchens has.
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