NFL Survivor Pool Picks Week 1: Advice and Predictions
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the start of the 2021-22 NFL season. Starting on Thursday, there will be football on every week until the beginning of February, and I personally can’t wait for the NFL to get underway. Each year I talk myself into entering as many pools and contests as possible, and each year I come out with a new outlook on what worked well and what didn’t work at all. One of my favorite pools to enter is the survivor pools. The survivor pool allows me to methodically work my way through the season, picking one team a week and not having to worry about the point spread and the potential of a late backdoor cover to screw up my single-game bets or parlays. 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.
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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 season 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.
San Francisco 49ers over Detroit Lions: It’s always tough to back a visiting team in survivor pools, but this one I believe is a no-brainer. I’m not worried about the cross-country travel for the 49ers as they’ve had plenty of time to get to Detroit and get acclimated to the time zone. The Niners are the far better team. They have the better quarterback, running backs and receivers, and their defense is going to be one of the best in the league. Detroit is destined for another high draft pick. And with Goff starting under center for the Lions, the 49ers know him all too well. Niners get the win in Week 1.
Los Angeles Rams over Chicago Bears: You can look at this game in one of two ways. You can see Matthew Stafford vs. the Bears – a team he knows well. Or you can look at it as the Rams defense (best in the league) vs. Andy Dalton or rookie Justin Fields. I know who I’m taking every day of the week.
Buffalo Bills over Pittsburgh Steelers: The Bills offense is going to be unstoppable once again this season. They have many returning pieces and figure to take another step forward in their hunt for a Super Bowl. The Steelers have many questions surrounding them on both sides of the ball. Either way, the Bills win the season opener in front of their home fans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Dallas Cowboys: The Bucs kick off the defense of the Lombardi Trophy on Thursday night when they welcome the Cowboys to town. Normally I avoid ranking Thursday games so high on the list, but the Cowboys’ offensive line is banged up. And with a hobbled Prescott under center, the Bucs should have their way with the Cowboys on both sides of the ball.
Carolina Panthers over New York Jets: It’s not often you get to go against your former team in the opening game of the season, but that’s the case here as Sam Darnold faces off against the Jets. I’ll take him and Christian McCaffrey over rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and anyone else the Jets have on offense.
Green Bay Packers over New Orleans Saints: Aaron Rodgers or Jameis Winston? I’ll take Rodgers, please and thank you. The Packers have continuity going for them, and I don’t know how Winston will perform in his first meaningful game in nearly two seasons. I’ll take the Packers here.
Kansas City Chiefs over Cleveland Browns: If the Browns win this game on the road, fine. We’ll start taking them seriously. I am not banking on it, though, as they have not won a Week 1 game in 16 seasons. The Chiefs are still going to be the offensive juggernaut we’ve grown accustomed to. And at home, they’ll get the job done.
Baltimore Ravens over Las Vegas Raiders: No bet against the Raiders is a bad bet as they seem to beat themselves more times than not. The Ravens are a good team and should be able to run the ball at will against a poor Raiders’ run defense. I see Lamar Jackson having a big day and the Ravens winning by double-digits.
New York Giants over Denver Broncos: I don’t really understand why the Broncos are favorite in this game. The Giants have a ton of things going for them, including the return of Saquon Barkley and another year of Daniel Jones and the addition of Kenny Golladay. They have the better offense. And if the defense can play half-decent, they should win this game with ease.
Miami Dolphins over New England Patriots: Give me Tua over Mac in this one. Tua has experience in the NFL, while Mac is making his first start. I don’t care for the Belichick vs the Fish angle as the Dolphins always played the Patriots close when Brady was around. And now that he’s not here, it’s time they step up and continue to beat them like they did last season.
Tennessee Titans over Arizona Cardinals: This is a tricky game to call as both teams are good on offense but suspect defensively. I expect plenty of points in this game, but I see the home side prevailing in this contest. Take Tennessee if you must, but there are better games to choose from.
Seattle Seahawks over Indianapolis Colts: I’m not sure having Carson Wentz under center for this game will make a difference for the Colts. He’s a liability and he’s turnover-prone. The Colts’ best attack would be to run the ball 50 times in this one and hope Jonathan Taylor can feast. The Seahawks have the better weapons offensively and should be able to put up enough points to get the win.
Los Angeles Chargers over Washington Football Team: These two teams are sleepers to make some noise in the playoffs. Both offenses are good, but I’ll side with the team with the better quarterback, and that’s the Chargers and Justin Herbert. The Chargers seem more well-rounded offensively, but the Washington defense is no joke. That’s why this game is low on the confidence list for me.
Minnesota Vikings over Cincinnati Bengals: I trust the Bengals at home more so than I do the Vikings on the road. However, the Vikings should be able to run the ball down the Bengals throat with Dalvin Cook, thus limiting the number of bonehead plays Kirk Cousins makes. I’ll be watching to see how Joe Burrow returns to action following last year’s knee injury, but I think it’ll take him a game or two to get going. Minnesota wins this one.
Atlanta Falcons over Philadelphia Eagles: I don’t recommend watching this game. Two poor teams facing off, and I think the Falcons win by default.
Jacksonville Jaguars over Houston Texans: I mean, who in their right mind would select this dumpster fire game as their Week 1 survivor pool selection? On one side, you have the Jags, who looked bad in preseason, breaking in a new coach and rookie quarterback with a bad defense. On the other side, you have a Texans team with very little talent and no coaching. Jags should win, but I’m staying far away from this one.
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