NFL Survivor Pool Picks and Advice: Week 1
With the start of another NFL season comes the start of the NFL betting in a variety of different forms. You have your game lines from the sportsbooks where you can pick teams to win straight up or against the spread. There are totals, first-half lines, second-half lines, team totals, and a million game and player prop bets to choose from for your consumption. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With the start of another NFL season comes office pools, and my favorite, Survivor Pools. For those of you who are reading this and are unsure what a Survivor Pool is, or are new to the survivor pool world, give this piece a quick read as it’ll break down what it is and offer up a few strategies on how to navigate the season.
Week 1 typically offers up a whole bunch of crazy results since we have no real data or sample size to go off of. Bookmakers are simply offering lines based on what we saw last year and what transpired off the field this offseason through the draft and the free-agency market. That’s why it’s imperative to come into Week 1 with a plan and stick to it. Remember, there may be no next week for you if you don’t survive the week in front of you.
Here are my survivor plays ranked from strongest to weakest for Week 1 of the National Football League Season. The team I list first is my selection.
Indianapolis Colts over Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are a mess of a franchise, and the Colts finally have a competent QB in the post-Andrew Luck era. Philip Rivers has plenty of pieces to work with on offense, and the defense figures to be much improved and perhaps a top-five unit in the league. Not sure how the Jags are going to score points, so we’ll take the better team to grab this win straight up.
Philadelphia Eagles over Washington: The Eagles are poised for a big season this year with Carson Wentz finally fully healthy (for now) and a ton of weapons surrounding him. We know how big of a joke the Washington Football Team has been as an organization, and we don’t see them opening the season with a win behind a second-year QB who started just a handful of games last year.
Kansas City Chiefs over Houston Texans: A big rule of thumb for me is to never take a Thursday night game as you just don’t know how teams prep for the short week. This isn’t a short week, and Houston has had about 8 months to stew over that 21-point playoff lead they blew to KC. The problem is the Texans got worse in the offseason, while the Chiefs are hungry for more. The Chiefs will win, but I’d rather use them down the line once they get their mojo going.
Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns: I believe as the season progresses that teams will find a way to slow down the Ravens vaunted rushing attack. However, in the opener, after the way the Ravens limped out of the playoffs, the Ravens should win this game with ease as they will be highly motivated to get back on the winning path. The Browns are still the Browns, and until they prove us wrong, they will be fade material.
Buffalo Bills over New York Jets: The Bills are favored to win the division for a reason. They have the best defense in the division this year and perhaps the most complete offense. The Jets just traded away their best (defensive) player and now have to try and contain what’s sure to be a very productive Bills offense. Give me the Bills at home to get out to a winning start.
San Francisco 49ers over Arizona Cardinals: Is the Super Bowl hangover real? We’ll find out Thursday when KC opens up the season, and then we’ll find out at 4:25 on Sunday. The Niners are much the better team in this matchup. And if the defense can pick up where it left off last year, the Niners will be able to neutralize Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.
Pittsburgh Steelers over New York Giants: This is a Monday night game, so if you don’t feel like waiting, there will be better spots to take the Steelers. Essentially, the return of Big Ben is huge for the Steelers as they have a fully healthy offense and should be able to pick apart a swiss cheese defense like the Giants. The Steelers also have the better defense, so all things point to a Steelers win.
Las Vegas Raiders over Carolina Panthers: Picking the Raiders to do anything productive is always a long shot, but even they should be ready for this game against a Carolina team that figures to be among the lottery picks in the upcoming draft. Derek Carr has plenty to prove this season. And Jon Gruden should be able to game plan better in his second year in charge.
Green Bay Packers over Minnesota Vikings: I think the Packers are going to have a great season this year on the back of an Aaron Rodgers “EFF YOU” Tour. Rodgers was pissed at the organization’s choice to draft a QB in the first round instead of getting Rodgers help or protection. The Packers have enough offensively to take down Minnesota, who we believe is going to be on a downward trajectory this season.
New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins: I’m not completely sold on Cam Newton as the starting QB of the Patriots, but they should be able to do enough to win this game against a Dolphins team that is pretty banged up already. The Patriots defense won’t be as dominating as it was last year, but I trust them a little more than the Dolphins to win this game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over New Orleans Saints: I have no clue how this game is going to play out, but there’s something about the Saints I just don’t like this year. Tampa should play in plenty of high-scoring games this year, and putting up points is the key to staying in ball games down the stretch. With Brady at the helm, I’m calling for the minor upset in this one.
Detroit Lions over Chicago Bears: I wouldn’t pick one of these teams if you offered me the entire pool purse if I won this game. Both teams figure to stink this year, but I think the Lions offense is better.
Cincinnati Bengals over LA Chargers: Why not take a shot with Joe Burrow in the home opener? I mean, the Bengals may win about three or four games this year and this may be their best shot at getting one. The Chargers are relying on Tyrod Taylor at QB, and we don’t see how productive he’s going to be. However, if you’re picking this game as your Week 1 survivor pick, please donate the money to me instead.
Seattle Seahawks over Atlanta Falcons: This game could go either way, which is why its so far down the confidence list. Either team could win this game, but we like Russell Wilson more so than Matt Ryan.
Dallas Cowboys over LA Rams: This is another game that could go either way. Wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cowboys win a close one, or the Rams blow the Cowboys out. Better spots to pick these teams lie ahead.
Tennessee Titans over Denver Broncos: Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are better than Drew Lock and Melvin Gordon. That’s my logic, and that’s why this game ranks dead last in terms of usage for Survivor pools.
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