NFL Survivor Pools Expert Advice and Predictions for Week 5
This is, by a wide margin, the toughest week of the season to date when it comes to NFL survivor pools selections. In fact, this is the first week that has taken more than a second of thought. It's almost unfair how things set up this week. The three worst teams in the NFL right now feel like the Dolphins, Bengals and Redskins - probably in that order. Miami, which has been an automatic play-against so far, and likely will be all year, is on a bye this week, so they are of no use to us. The Bengals are coming off a horrifyingly bad Monday night performance, and they face a short week to try to fix what ails them, but they are playing against an Arizona team that wouldn't be too far above the three teams listed in the race for the bottom. I really, really don't trust the Bengals, but my dislike for them isn't quite strong enough to trust the Cardinals at this point. And though Washington is almost certainly going to lose to the Patriots - extremely badly, in all likelihood - chances are very good by this point that you have already picked the Patriots, so they are not available to you now. By all means, though, if you haven't picked them, then do so now and don't bother reading the rest of this article.
Philadelphia vs. New York Jets: As I write this it is Monday night. Sam Darnold says that he intends to play in this game after being out due to mono. But he has been cleared only for non-contact drills. If he plays, then he will be rusty, and likely tentative as a result. And if he doesn't play, we get more Luke Falk, who has not thrown a touchdown pass in his two games. I'm not going to be too worried about betting against either of those options. The Jets essentially have not had an offense so far, ranking dead last in total yards and 31st in total points. They are going to struggle to beat anyone given how they have played so far. The Eagles are nowhere near where they wanted to be at 2-2. But they had a very good win at Green Bay last week and were competitive in both of their losses. They have really struggled to stop the pass, but that has been against Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady. The Jets are far less equipped to exploit the pass defense woes. Philadelphia is only a win out of the division lead after Dallas lost last week, and they should be really fired up to keep rolling and get back into action. The Jets are coming off a bye, but that isn't always a good thing when a team is dealing with the kind of uncertainty and general struggles that this team is. I wouldn't have an issue picking the Eagles if this one was being played in New York - or New Jersey, technically. But it's a home game for the Eagles, so that makes this one a bit of a no-brainer.
Kansas City vs. Indianapolis: This is the most popular pick behind the Patriots and the Eagles, and it's really the only other game that is even worth consideration. And the Chiefs are likely to win this game, so it isn't a horrible idea. But it still makes me uneasy. The Chiefs are coming off a win against the Lions that was downright scary. They got really lucky to escape. Either the Lions are much better than it seemed that they would be heading into the season, or the Chiefs took things a little bit too much for granted. The Chiefs have been porous on defense, ranking 30th in yards allowed. Indianapolis has an offense that certainly has its moments. They rank seventh in rushing yards, and the Chiefs are the second worst in the league in run defense. Jacoby Brissett has lacked consistency so far, but he has 10 touchdowns and just two picks, and his performance against Atlanta in Week 3 was particularly strong. The Chiefs are the better team here - because they are probably better than anyone, with the possible exception of the Patriots - but the Colts are no pushover. If the Jets lose to the Eagles, it would feel like a massive surprise. A big upset. The Colts winning this one would be an upset, too, but not one on the same scale. The Colts came into the season as a serious playoff contender. Things haven't gone entirely to plan, but they are still solid. The only way the Jets are making the playoffs is if seven AFC teams fold before December. So, to sum up - the Chiefs are playable, just not the most playable.
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