The Colts hurt some folks last week, but hopefully you sidestepped them with the Cardinals. They didn’t make it easy, but did end up winning. And hopefully you avoided the Chargers like I advised. We are back again this week to pick for Week 8.
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 8 hold?
Bye week: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington
Survivor Pool – Week 8 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:
One team who could be leaving St. Louis and one team that already left St. Louis. Is there anything else to look at? Any teams to avoid?
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 8 in order of preference:
- New England Patriots – It’s a short week, but we’ll still put the Pats up top again this week. Yes, the Dolphins are new men. Yes, they’ve pounded the ball on the ground the last couple of weeks. But, this is the Dolphins at New England. Tom Brady has never (really) lost to the Dolphins at home. His only loss was a week 17 game where he didn’t play a half. The Pats added Brandon LaFell to their stable of offensive weapons. I give the Pats an 80% chance of winning.
- Atlanta Falcons – It will be interesting to see how the Bucs respond to the heartbreaking loss last week to an awful Washington team. I don’t think it will be great as the Bucs were down to two healthy WRs at the end of the game. And the Falcons will likely be aggressive and attempt to rattle Jameis Winston. I give the Falcons a 76% chance of winning.
- Louis Rams – If you want to be aggressive, feel free to move the Rams ahead of the Falcons. The Rams can control the game on the ground with Todd Gurley and have a defensive line that will likely give Colin Kaepernick fits. Sure, the 49ers could try to run the ball, but Carlos Hyde isn’t 100% and they don’t have much else to work with. I give the Rams a 75% of winning.
- Carolina Panthers – Perhaps I was wrong about the Colts. Perhaps they aren’t really that good. Perhaps Andrew Luck is hurt still. Now, the Panthers are a pretty simple offense, but their defense keeps them in games. The Colts head out on the road in disarray and likely won’t get well against the Panthers D. I give the Panthers a 71% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: If the Arizona Cardinals face a Johnny Manziel-led Cleveland Browns, then bump the Cards up into the main list in a virtual dead heat with the Panthers. I’d still favor Carolina slightly, but it’s a coin flip. I give the Cards a 67% chance of winning.
And that’s probably it – beyond these five you’re getting into some murky situations.
As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Minnesota Vikings on the road to the Chicago Bears. The Bears certainly aren’t great, but they’re back from a bye and have a healthy Alshon Jeffrey. Teddy Bridgewater is not ready to lead the Vikes to victory consistently on the road.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Detroit Lions again this week on the “road” in London. The offense seems to be clicking a bit and they’ve canned much of their offensive coaching staff. I’m not sure the Chiefs have enough offensive firepower to hang with the Lions.
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.