Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 15. That Thursday night game set the NFL back abou t50 years. And shows again why I continue to skip those games. I was pretty sure the Rams would win, but the Cardinals seem to have nine lives.
The Niners and Saints hurt a lot of squads last week, but you’re reading so you missed those games. Each week it gets infinitely harder as the number of teams available dwindles and you have to hold your nose to get through the week.
Bye Week: None – bye weeks are complete
Survivor Pool – Week 15 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Friday evening:
We have a couple of big favorites and then a mess of teams behind them. As we get close to the end of the season, the percentages you see here likely don’t mirror your specific pool. Your choice at this point hinges more on which teams are left for the other entrants. That said, the list below is in the order I’d choose the teams if I still had them left.
As always, a friendly reminder, I never (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility (especially when it comes to injuries) in the NFL and the best information you have is for the upcoming week. Trying to predict performance in future weeks is nearly impossible.
Here are my choices for Week 15 in order of preference:
- New England Patriots – Bill Belichick doesn’t like to lose to the same team twice in one season. The Pats always struggle in Miami, but do in Tom Brady’s 13 seasons he’s lost only 14 times at home and only once has he lost to Miami at home (in 2006). I think Belichick will turn up the heat defensively and Brady will orchestrate the offense to a victory over this division foe. I give the Patriots an 87% chance of winning.
- Baltimore Ravens – Ravens at home? Check. Jaguars on the other side of the ball? Check. Healthy on both sides of the ball? Well, no not really, but I don’t think it matters for the Ravens. The Jags defense has looked better against the pass lately, but that shouldn’t matter to the Ravens who I see pounded the ball all afternoon long especially if Torrey Smith misses the game. I give the Ravens an 85% chance of winning.
- Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks aren’t crushing teams like they did last year, however, they seem to be pointing the ship in the correct direction late in 2014. They get a reeling 49ers’ squad that has the talent to win at Seattle, but doesn’t seem to have the drive to get things done. Their coach is halfway out the door and the players seem to be looking for a door as well. CenturyLink Field is no place for a team like that. I give the Seahawks an 80% chance of winning.
- New York Giants – Speaking of coaches halfway out the door and a team looking for any exit, we present the mighty Dan Snyder-owned Washington entry in the NFL. Eli Manning may turn the ball over five times this game and it probably wouldn’t matter. Washington is starting an injured Colt McCoy. McCoy’s presence neutralizes some of Alfred Morris’ effectiveness and turns them one-dimensional. Eli should be able to throw the ball all over the park against a Washington secondary that is playing as poorly as some high school teams. I give the Giants a 75% chance of winning.
- Detroit Lions – The Lions are getting healthy on offense as their defense starts to slip a bit. Calvin Johnson looks like he’s back to the Megatron of old. Even with a wilting defense, the Lions should be able to hold a Vikings team down with a rookie QB and a set of RBs that will only get to Canton with a paid admission. I give the Lions a 74% chance of winning.
- Indianapolis Colts – The Colts head home with emerging Donte Moncrief knocking on Reggie Wayne’s door, T.Y. Hilton. The biggest concern, oddly enough, for me with the Colts is Andrew Luck’s propensity to turn the ball over. The Texans could run Arian Foster 30+ times and try to keep Luck off the field. But, if Luck keeps turning the ball over it may not matter. That said, I have confidence that the Colts should be able to take the Texans out especially with the return of Vontae Davis. I give the Colts a 72% chance of winning.
- Kansas City Chiefs – I’m not a huge fan of the Chiefs this week. Yes, they need the win, but just because they need it doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Jamaal Charles won’t be 100%, Alex Smith has almost no other weapons. The Raiders can keep it close and have discovered that Latavius Murray might be OK at football. The Raiders are a feisty squad. I give the Chiefs a 68% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: Maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers as they have the offensive weapons to shred the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Moreover, the Falcons will probably be without Julio Jones and Harry Douglas is a wee bit of a downgrade.
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Green Bay Packers on the road against the Buffalo Bills. The Packers are off a big Monday night performance against a poor Falcons’ defense. They head on a short week to Buffalo to face a Bills team with a far better defense and some offensive weapons (that are hindered a bit by the presence of Kyle Orton).
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys are undefeated on the road this year and certainly will be hurting from the beating they took at home on Thanksgiving. I don’t see Tony Romo having the same type of game he did.
If you ever want to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.
If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @chrisgarosi