Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 4. Last week was just as we’d hoped – quiet. In one of my larger pools we only lost nine entrants from the 400 or so left in the pool.
We’ve got a couple of big favorites again this week, but should we stick with those again or look further down the list. We also enter the first week of byes and we lose some heavy hitters leaving the field a bit thinner than we’d like. Let’s check out our week 4 options.
Bye Week: Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
Survivor Pool – Week 4 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of Wednesday evening:
The majority of entries are on three teams. Let’s analyze our options for Week 4.
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 4 in order of preference:
- Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers looked rejuvenated on offense against the Panthers last week. And the Buccaneers, well, didn’t. The Bucs will be working in new QB Mike Glennon against a Steelers defense that lost a few important parts. The Bucs should also get Doug Martin back, but it’s not enough to eclipse the Steelers offensive superiority. With more than 50% of pools on San Diego, Pittsburgh is the equity play. I give the Steelers a 75% chance of winning.
- San Diego Chargers – The Jaguars are also working a new QB into the game plan with Blake Bortles era beginning in earnest this week. That does add a variable to the mix, but the Jags have no running game to speak of and the Chargers do (even with the loss of Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews over the last couple of weeks). I don’t see the Jags’ rookie heading across the country to beat the Bolts. I give the Chargers an 85% chance of winning.
- Indianapolis Colts – The Colts aren’t a great team, but they are probably in the top ten in the NFL right now. They have an offense that can run the ball a bit and have passing game weapons of all shapes and sizes. The Titans are a bit of a mess with a four-headed running back by committee, an injured (and perhaps out) QB in Jake Locker and a defense that is stretched thin. I give the Colts a 73% chance of winning.
And we’ll leave it there for this week. Again, with six teams on bye and not a lot else on the slate to recommend, I’m going to play it safe for Week 4.
Other teams I like this week: San Francisco 49ers as the Eagles offensive line is a disaster right now though the Niners aren’t nearly as good as many thought they’d be heading into the season.
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Miami Dolphins heading to London to take on the Oakland Raiders. Yes, London. I dislike these European games as it throws everyone’s schedule off. Add in the Ryan Tannehill no-confidence vote and anger seemingly everywhere on the Dolphins roster and I pass.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panthers against the Ravens. The Ravens get Bernard Pierce back and may force him back into the starting role where he has not produced yet this year. The Panthers were embarrassed on national TV and have a short trip up I-95 to take on a Ravens team that doesn’t seem to be quite as good as they get credit for being.
Just a reminder, if you ever wanted 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.
Feel free to ask questions of me on Twitter at @chrisgarosi