We had a mixed bag last week, but if you are still reading you must have made it through another week. Let’s get on with the picks for this week – it’s Thanksgiving Week so there’s no time to waste.
Each week, we’ll publish a column with a look at the best choices for the week in your Survivor Pool. We’ll also identify a sleeper team if you want to risk it for the week. And finally, we’ll try to pick those teams to avoid so you can live to see another day.
So, what does Week 12 hold?
Bye week: None. Bye weeks are done for this year.
Survivor Pool – Week 12 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:
This is an ugly lot – at first glance there doesn’t look to be a lot of safety.
If you’ve never read my Survivor columns previously, I can’t stress this rule enough. I (almost never) save a team for later in the season. There is too much volatility 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 12 in order of preference:
- Green Bay Packers – Sure, the Packers haven’t exactly been THE Packers this year. But, when Jay Cutler plays Green Bay, there isn’t a better bet. He’s won one time in 12 games against the Pack and has a 15:22 TD:INT ratio with a 56.44% completion rate (his lowest against any team he’s played more than once). I give the Packers an 84% chance of winning.
- Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals go on the road which usually gives me pause especially in a divisional game. But, it’s against the 49ers and Blaine Gabbert. And the Niners don’t seem to have a running game. I don’t see how the 49ers offense can keep up with the Cards. I give the Cardinals an 82% chance of winning.
- Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are not on prime time this week so they should have an excellent chance of winning. They head home to face Rams team that hopes Case Keenum isn’t concussed so they don’t have to start Nick Foles. That doesn’t seem great. I give the Bengals an 80% chance of winning.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Part of the reason I like the Chiefs this week is the concern at QB for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor isn’t 100% and he may not even start. Even if he does, the Chiefs defense has been playing out its mind the last few weeks and should be able to handle Taylor or E.J. Manuel. The Chiefs offense isn’t much, but it looks like Spencer Ware can do a reasonable impression of an NFL RB. I give the Chiefs a 74% chance of winning.
And now it gets a bit dicey. You may have to hold your nose a bit down here.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – The Chargers come in off a beating at the hands of the Chiefs. The Jags don’t have the defense that the Chiefs do, but they have an impressive offense and rookie T.J. Yeldon should be able to run roughshod over an awful Chargers’ run defense. If the Jags hold to that plan, Blake Bortles will have fewer chances to make mistakes. I give the Jags a 65% chance of winning.
- New York Jets – Maybe Revis Island doesn’t exist anymore, but the Dolphins don’t have a true number one WR that scares anyone. And the Dolphins’ defense gives the Jets a chance to get back to running the ball as they have been steamrolled the last 110 yards or more to one RB in two of the last three weeks. I give the Jets a 64% chance of winning.
- Houston Texans – The last time we saw the Saints on the road they were getting blown out by Kirk Cousins. Really. And now, the Texans get New Orleans off a bye and without Rob Ryan coaching defense. The change in coaches doesn’t change the talent the Saints have on defense. I think Hoyer and DeAndre Hopkins could play pitch and catch all day long. I give the Texans a 63% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: Maybe the Cleveland Browns? Maybe…The Ravens are in disarray having to replace their QB and RB this week. But, the Browns are, well, the Browns and replaced Johnny Manziel with Josh McCown. The Browns are at home, so that should offer a slight advantage and if you are desperate, you can go this route.
As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the New York Giants on the road. Washington is a much better team at home and the Giants aren’t exactly the 72 Dolphins.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panthers on the road the Dallas Cowboys. I’m not sure why the Cowboys are favored – I’m as a big a fan of Tony Romo as anyone, but this seems a bit much. The Cowboys are a tough team to blow out as they control the clock as well as any team. But, the Panthers don’t need to blow a team out to win. I’d also consider the Minnesota Vikings as it just doesn’t seem like the Falcons are very good.
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.