If you are still alive in your pool, congratulations. Last week was one of the worst weeks in NFL history for favorites. It’s not even worth going back over it. It was historically awful.
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 11 hold?
Bye week: Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers
Survivor Pool – Week 11 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:
A big favorite at the top and then a few other options. Where can you go if you’re still around?
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 11 in order of preference:
- Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks certainly aren’t the team they’ve been the last few years. Luckily for the, the 49ers aren’t either. They are starting Blaine Gabbert at QB. And even though the Niners come in off a bye, they still don’t have an RB and they don’t really have a QB. The Seahawks should be able to handle the Niners in Seattle. I give the Packers an 83% chance of winning.
- Carolina Panthers – Washington and Kirk Cousins are flying high after their huge win against the Saints last week. However, Rob Ryan will not be coaching the Panthers’ defense. I imagine Newton will give the Washington defense fits and the Panthers will be able to control the passing game that Kirk Cousins led so well last week. I give the Panthers a 76% chance of winning.
- Philadelphia Eagles – I waffled between the Pats and Eagles for the third spot, but I’m a bit worried about the number of injuries the Pats have on offense. The Eagles’ defense is really why I like them as I think they’ll give Jameis Winston some issues. Moreover, the Bucs still have only one receiving threat in Mike Evans. Sure, Mark Sanchez will be at QB, but he’s won NFL games in the past. He can do it again. I give the Eagles a 72% of winning.
- New England Patriots – I don’t think we’ll see the Pats put up a million points like they did in Week 2, but the Bills just don’t have enough to keep up with even the banged up Pats. I wouldn’t go crazy with the Pats as I want to see what their offense looks like without Julian Edelman. Bill Belichick is a master coach, but he’s going to be challenged this week. I give the Pats a 71% chance of winning.
- Atlanta Falcons – This may be the dumbest sentence I’ve written in a while, but if the Falcons get Leonard Hankerson back, I might push them above the Pats. The Falcons are a better team at home than on the road (but they aren’t a great team by any stretch). That said, this has the looks of a shootout and I’m not sure Matt Hasselbeck can win that type of game. I give the Falcons a 69% chance of winning.
- Arizona Cardinals – The Bengals looked awful last week on prime time which is what they do. They now travel west and attempt to recover from losing to a team with T.J. Yates at QB. Arizona is not the place to do it. I give the Cardinals a 68% chance of winning.
- Kansas City Chiefs – I’m not sure who Phillip Rivers will be throwing to. He may not know. I think the Chiefs defense can do enough to keep the Chargers at bay and let the Chiefs “offense” do enough damage. I give the Chiefs a 60% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: The Dallas Cowboys get Tony Romo back and I think that’s enough to push them past the Dolphins. The Cowboys have played a number of close games where one or two plays could make the difference. There was late news on Thursday that Darren McFadden missed some practice time on Thursday. If he’s out, I’m off Dallas completely.
As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Oakland Raiders on the road. The Lions can’t lose all the time, can they? The Lions have nothing to lose at this point and the Raiders are actually playing for something. I’ll back the team with nothing to lose in a situation like this.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Denver Broncos at home to the Chicago Bears. Clearly, the Bears have been playing better lately and they’ve seen no drop off after losing Matt Forte. However, I think Brock Osweiler gives the Broncos a much better chance to win and opens up their offense (especially for Demaryius Thomas).
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.