NFL Survivor Pools Expert Advice and Predictions for Week 9
As I write this, the Monday night game between Miami and Pittsburgh has not been played yet. I'm not going to worry about that, though, because it's not like anyone with even half a brain would watch that dog of a game. So far, this has been yet another pretty straightforward week for survivor pool players in what has been the easiest season of survivor pool play that the world has ever seen. The last couple of weeks we have just been applying a formula, and unless the Dolphins pull off a shocking upset today that formula will be undefeated again. But, sadly, this week the formula isn't going to be as useful to us. It picks out three playable games by design, but two of the three aren't great this week. Let's take a look:
- Take New England. This step of the formula is almost certainly played out by now because they have been so good so far, and have played such a weak schedule, that it would be very tough to get this deep into the season without having picked the Patriots already. Even if you haven't picked them yet, this probably isn't the best spot to take them. The Ravens haven't been perfect this year by any means, and Lamar Jackson is in for a massive test against this New England defense. But the game is in Baltimore, and it is sure to be a tough game. New England is still favored on the road, so they are a long way from sure to lose this one. But you aren't going to last very long over the long run in survivor pools by picking against 5-2 home teams. The formula lets us down here.
- Take whoever is playing Miami. This one doesn't do us much good, either. Miami is still truly terrible. But the Jets aren't a whole lot better. And New York has begun the dismantling, shifting into trade for assets mode - which doesn't correspond with winning now when you are trading starters for draft picks. This is one of those games which neither team deserves to win. Heck, at this point this is a league that neither team really believes to play in. You don't want to touch this game no matter what.
- Take whoever plays Washington. This one is playable, because Buffalo has generally been playing well, has taken care of business against lousy teams, and is tough at home. The biggest issue here, though, is that Buffalo was a wildly popular - and successful - pick a couple of weeks back when they played Miami, so they may not be available. By all means, though, if you can play this team, then you should.
If our formula hasn't come through for you, then all is not lost. There are at least three more games that feel very playable for NFL Week 9.
Dallas at New York Giants: The Giants haven't been quite as bad as expected and are certainly a step up from the worst teams in the league. But they still aren't good, and they really aren't deep enough. Dallas isn't a team I love, and they are not the most consistent out there, but they are in a good position to come out on top of this one. Even though I wrote about them first, I like them least of the three possible teams, but they wouldn't be an awful pick.
Seattle vs. Tampa Bay: The Seahawks aren't outstanding in any one area, and they aren't as tough at home as they have been. But they are at 6-2 and are mostly taking care of business. They are a solid team. The Bucs were doing a lot of things surprisingly well early on and felt tougher than expected - much tougher. But the reality of their situation has caught up with them, and they just aren't any good right now. They have lost three in a row and have had too many holes exposed. They are in tough in this spot against a better team. Seattle would be a comfortable pick.
San Francisco at Arizona: The Cardinals are doing some things well and have been fun to watch. They are on the right track. But San Francisco is a very good team. They are defensively sound. And the offense is good enough. They haven't taken a misstep yet, and it doesn't make sense to bet that they will here. Arizona will be able to make this a tough divisional challenge as soon as next year, but they have too much work to do just yet. The first time they met it was a bit of a mismatch, and Arizona has yet to prove they can contend against good teams. The Cards get credit for taking care of business against weak teams, but the Niners certainly aren't weak and would be a comfortable pick.
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