NFL Survivor Pools Expert Advice and Predictions for Week 12
I felt pretty sure that last week was going to be the last week it was worth writing about NFL survivor pools for this season. We have already made it longer than we do a lot of years. But after a truly crazy Week 10, things went back to normal - or at least normal for this year - last week. This has mostly been a very straightforward season, and last week all four teams we picked - Oakland, Minnesota, San Francisco and Buffalo - all won. It wasn't always pretty - the Vikings made things tough by showing up for the game only at halftime after letting some high school team play in their uniforms in the first half - but the results were what they needed to be. So, on we go.
The challenge we face this here for NFL Week 12 is an inevitable one at this point in the season - the two most inevitable, obvious plays are ones that are almost certainly not available to anyone who has been playing all year. That leaves us with a collection of third choices that are reasonably likely to come through but aren't nearly as comfortable as the top two feel. You are accepting a whole lot more warts when you pick beyond the top two teams, but that's what happens at this point in the season:
The Top Two
New Orleans vs. Carolina: The Saints bounced back well on both sides of the ball from the total debacle the week before against Atlanta. It wasn't a perfect effort, but there was a lot to like, and they showed their class. Carolina, meanwhile, has just had too much to overcome this year, and the last two weeks it has caught up to them. It's just too much. New Orleans at home is in control here and is a comfortable selection. If, for some reason, they are still available for you to pick - which would be odd given the season they have had - then the Saints would be a very comfortable pick.
New England vs. Dallas: The Patriots have lost only once this year, and it came against a much better team than this one - the Ravens. They have some flaws and concerns, but they are the Patriots, and that is all that matters. This is their 19th straight winning season - they have already locked that up in the middle of November. Dallas, meanwhile, can't get out of their own way. They got a win last week, but it was against a Detroit team that is in even worse shape than they are. Dallas is underachieving yet again, facing all sorts of questions, and quite likely to be in the coaching market after this year. New England is clearly the better team, and they are at home. It is all but impossible to think that the Patriots are available for anyone to pick at this time. But if they are, then they are playable
The Best of the Rest
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: Sure, the Steelers have some issues. After a surprising resurgence, their relevance all but disappeared with their loss to Cleveland last week. Mason Rudolph is not a good quarterback. And the distraction of his interaction with Myles Garett and the after-effects weighs on this team. They are not a very easy team to like right now. But they are playing Cincinnati. You and I could give the Bengals a tight game playing with the first nine people we passed on the street. They are reeling, they are clueless, and they have given up on themselves. Pittsburgh is playable on the road in Week 12. That's how bad the Bengals are.
Oakland at New York Jets: The Jets have won two in a row, but don't be fooled. The wins have come against the Giants and Redskins. And they played, and lost to, Miami before that. This team hasn't played a real NFL team in a month. And it didn't go well then. I'm not entirely convinced that Oakland is a real team, but they have won three in a row and are taking care of business against lesser teams. And this certainly is a lesser team. The Raiders are playable.
Cleveland vs. Miami: I really don't love this pick and wouldn't make it myself unless I absolutely had to, but a fair number of people are picking Cleveland this week. They have turned a little bit of a corner, having won two in a row. But they are still coached by an idiot - one on very unstable ground. Their offense still isn't highly reliable. And they are playing without Myles Garrett and dealing with all of the distractions that have come with that. But they are playing Miami. The Dolphins are winning a bit now, but it's not like they are good. And the forecast is for snow and colder temperatures in Cleveland, which isn't going to benefit the Dolphins. There are worse picks on the board than Cleveland. But there are also better ones.
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