Welcome back to DSP’s NFL Survivor Pool picks column for Week 8. If you stuck with my top three choices last week as I advised, you’ve survived another week. And you likely aren’t reading this column if you aren’t still alive in your pool. Let’s see if I can keep my mojo going this week.
Bye Week: New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers
Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Thursday morning:
There is one big favorite out there this week. Do we fade them or ride with the herd?
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 8 in order of preference:
- New England Patriots – Boy oh boy the Bears are a tire fire right now. Arguing in the locker room, unhappy WRs and meeting a team with a ton of time off to prepare. The Patriots aren’t a juggernaut, but they should be able to hold off a Bears’ team that has really struggled lately. I give the Patriots a 77% chance of winning.
- Denver Broncos – If you still have them available, I’d consider using them. True, it’s a short week for Denver, but that may actually help as it looks like the Chargers will be without both of their starting corners. And Peyton Manning is pretty good at throwing the football. Yes, the Chargers have played the Broncos tough lately, but this is a game where I think Denver wins, but the Chargers cover. I give the Broncos a 76% chance of winning.
- Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have Andy Reid as a head coach so anything can happen at any time which is why I’m always so afraid to use teams that he coaches. However, the Chiefs picked up a big win last week as did the Rams. The Rams pulled out all of the stops to take down the Seahawks, but they aren’t necessarily a very talented team. I give the Chiefs a 75% chance of winning.
- Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are 6-1 just like everyone expected. They’ve been doing it with a ton of running from DeMarco Murray, near surgical precision from Tony Romo and a defense that got better the day Rob Ryan walked out the door. They face Washington this week in Dallas. Washington is starting Colt McCoy. I’ve put Dallas down here as the equity you could recover in your pool if Dallas loses is too great to take them here. If you want the safe play, take Dallas. I give the Cowboys an 85% chance of winning.
- Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill may have just figured out Bill Lazor’s offense. And if he has, the Dolphins could be due for a run. With a seemingly healthy Charles Clay back in the mix, they look to be a tough team to prepare for. The Jags aren’t good (even though they won last week). It’s not much of a road trip for the Fins. I give the Dolphins a 71% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: The Detroit Lions head to London to face the Falcons. The Falcons are down to their third-string center and have had issues on the offensive line all year long. Offensive line issues aren’t a good thing to have against the Lions fierce front seven. The Lions have a 65% chance of winning.
As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the Seattle Seahawks on the road against the Panthers. The Panthers really have one weapon on offense in Cam Newton, but the Seahawks’ defense isn’t nearly as scary as many of us thought they would be. I’d like to see Seattle do something on the road before I back them.
I’d also skip the Cleveland Browns on the road in Oakland. The Browns defensive line is a mess and I could see the Raiders running all day long without having to throw a pass. The Browns also lost to the Jags last week so there is that as well.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Minnesota Vikings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikes aren’t good, but neither are the Bucs. The Vikes have a lot of weapons on offense, but don’t’ seem to be able to put it all together. The Bucs’ defense gives them the chance to put it all together.
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