As we head into Week 8 of the survivor pool there are probably fewer survivors after the ridiculously bad showing by the Ravens against what should have been a hopelessly outmatched Jacksonville team. If you are still alive then things will only get more exciting and more tense each week from now on.
Thankfully this week there are a couple of games that should be relatively low stress — but only if you are lucky enough to have not used those teams already. Let’s take a look at some survivor pools strategy advice and predictions for this week:
The Heavy Favorites
As I write this there are three teams favored by at least a touchdown on the NFL odds, and though the odds aren’t set yet in the Saints and Rams game, I’m confident that that will be a fourth. Besides New Orleans, the Giants are heavily favored at home against the Dolphins, Tennessee has a big edge hosting the Colts and San Francisco gets a strong nod at Candlestick versus the Browns. Three of those games would be comfortable NFL survivor pool picks, with two as clear standouts.
First let’s look at the really strong choices. The Saints are going to beat the Rams. St. Louis is demoralized after a terrible season and a humiliating loss last week and they have little left. The Saints crushed the Colts, have nothing but confidence as a result, and the combination of Payton and Brees won’t let them let up here.
The Niners are going to beat the Browns as well. Cleveland has been surprisingly solid, but they are outclassed here by a San Francisco team that has proven to be the real deal. Jim Harbaugh has total control of this team right now, and he will have this team fired up after a break.
The Giants will also be a popular and easily justified pick this week. The Dolphins have to be demoralized after blowing a lead very late last week, and Coach Tony Sparano is a dead man walking.
I wouldn’t touch the Titans with a 200-foot pole. The Colts look as bad as a team can look right now, but they have shown they have better games in them. The Titans looked really lousy against the Texans, my grandmother runs better than Chris Johnson right now, and suddenly the team has some uncertainty at quarterback. I hate trusting teams as sketchy as the Titans regardless of who they are playing.
Other Games of Interest
Aside from the big favorites, here are four games that stand out — as good ideas or bad:
Arizona at Baltimore - If you didn’t pick the Ravens last week then what do you do with them this week? It was shocking how bad they looked offensively. You have to imagine that they will be worked to death in practice this week, and that they will benefit from being at home.
Still, I’d be very nervous about trusting them until we see that last week was just a fluke.
Minnesota at Carolina - You could make an argument that the Panthers are a team you could gamble on if you feel like gambling. They have looked solid on both sides of the ball — not perfect by any means, but full of effort.
The Vikings have QB concerns and just can’t finish games, while the Panthers have no problem playing to the final whistle.
The only thing that would make me a little hesitant is that the Vikings played the Packers surprisingly tight last week, and the Packers seem to clearly be the best team in the league so far.
Detroit at Denver - The line hasn’t been set for this one yet, and it won’t be until we know how Matthew Stafford’s leg is doing. If it turns out to be okay then the Lions would be a solid pick here.
Despite the last-minute heroics Tim Tebow was mostly lousy last week as a starter, and I find him very hard to trust. The Lions need to stop the bleeding, and they should be very hungry to do so here.
Jacksonville at Houston - The Jaguars put together one of the most shocking performances of the year when they completely shut down the Ravens on “Monday Night Football”. That will get them more attention than they have had so far.
Houston is still the clear way to go if you want to play this game, though. The Texans are more dependently strong offensively than the Ravens, and though they aren’t particularly consistent when the pressure is on, they should be fine here at home.
Our official NFL Survivor Pool picks article will be available on Doc’s Sports homepage on Thursday this week.