The Falcons loss certainly hurt a number of teams last week. Hopefully you moved the Rams up on the news that Carlos Hyde wasn’t going to play. And if you’re reading this, you probably did. Or sweated out the Panthers on Monday night. We are back again this week to pick for Week 9.
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 9 hold?
Bye week: Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks
It’s a tough week as we lose six teams to the bye.
Survivor Pool – Week 9 selections
Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday:
Hmmm…..50% on one team? That generally screams fade, but let’s see what we see.
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 9 in order of preference:
- New England Patriots – They may be the top pick every single week from here on out. They come in off a long break from the Thursday game last week. They face Washington which has the talent of mid-level SEC team. I guess there is a way to see the Pats lose, but I’m not that creative. I give the Patriots a 92% chance of winning.
- Cincinnati Bengals – I’m not going to even do the math. We are short six teams this week and the pickings get pretty slim after this. I usually stay away from Thursday games, but this one is too choice for me. Johnny Manziel is starting and he may be without two of his WRs and the Browns seem to not want to play their best RB. The Bengals have more than enough firepower to outscore the Browns and a defense that can do enough. I give the Bengals an 86% chance of winning.
- New Orleans Saints – I’m not sure the coaching switch in Tennessee will have the same effect as the one in Miami did. There isn’t really much they can change – they are young and have had some key injuries on the offensive line and defensive backfield. Drew Brees won’t throw 100 TDs like he did last week, but the Saints have an offense that should be able to outscore a Titans team that is looking to next year. I give the Saints a 79% chance of winning.
- Atlanta Falcons – I’m going to hop back on the Falcons even after their collapse last week. If you want some medicine, play the 49ers. They cure whatever ails you. The Niners have put Blaine Gabbert in at QB. They don’t have Carlos Hyde or Reggie Bush at RB. They dealt Vernon Davis and his backup Garrett Celek is in the concussion protocol. It likely doesn’t matter how soft the Falcons defense is, the 49ers won’t be able to take advantage. I give the Falcons a 75% chance of winning.
- Denver Broncos – This is a tough matchup for the Colts as the Broncos will be able to shut the passing game down. And if the Colts have to rely on Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw, well…that’s not good. The new OC in Indy will likely try to fire up the passing game and this is just a bad week to do it. I give the Broncos a 70% chance of winning.
Other teams I like this week: If the New York Jets get Ryan Fitzpatrick back and Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both play, then I can back them against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes, the Jags come off the bye, but they are still the Jags and the Jets defense is still hellacious. I give the Jets a 65% chance of winning.
As for the avoid list, I’m going to shy away from the Pittsburgh Steelers at home to the Oakland Raiders. I don’t have any real concern with the Steelers’ offense, but the defense….The Raiders offense is certainly clicking on all (or at least many) of the cylinders they have.
If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the Carolina Panther at home to the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the Pack faced a tough Broncos defense that makes every QB look like Matt Cassel. But going from the Broncos to the Panthers isn’t exactly a cakewalk .Josh Norman will be able to shut down one WR by himself and the Pack running game is in shambles.
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.