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NFL Survivor League Picks - Survivor Pool Targets & Avoids (Week 3)


NFL Doomsday has come and gone. Hopefully that will be the last week of its kind this season. If you were one of the lucky to survive this brutal week 2, congrats. Nothing to be ashamed about if you lost this week as more than 80 percent in the ESPN Eliminator Challenge lost in week 2. The Saints, the biggest favorite (-10) of the day, lost at home to the Bucs. 36 percent chose the Saints in the Eliminator Challenge. Last week I wrote, "I do not agree with this line. The Saints should never be a 10 point favorite against anyone until I see their defense play real defense." The Saints defense didn't play that bad, it was their offense that was inept. Drew Brees registered a 29.4 QBR this past week. He is done and so is this Saints team. But I will not be surprised to see them as large favorites in the near future.

As for my other picks, the Steelers won, but the Giants found another way to lose a game. The early games finished and people in the late games must have been giddy to see the Saints lose. The late games proved even more brutal for the favorites and those who chose them. The Jaguars, who I correctly choose as my upset special last week, beat the Dolphins (13.4 percent) as 6.5 point underdogs. The Raiders, 5.5 point underdogs, upset the Ravens (15.4 percent) at home and the Cowboys, 6.5 point dogs, beat the Eagles.

All three favorites lost in nail biters and survivor pools continued to shrink until Monday Night. People who chose the Colts (8.6 percent) saw their survivor pools crumble around them. Now they were about to join those fallen as the Jets beat down on the Colts. It only made sense for the Jets to win. They had to. Everything was going the underdogs way and to only further stamp Doomsday Week 2 was with an upset win. In fact, Sunday was the first time the Browns, Raiders, Jags, Redskins and Bucs all won on the same Sunday. Insane.

For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. BUT you cannot use that team ever again. There is NO point spread involved.

 

Survivor League Strategy

I will be following the same strategy I implore every year when entering a survivor contest.

  1. Try to save the top teams for the end of the season. You do not want to be alive in Week 10 choosing between the Jaguars and Browns. Picking teams that you would not use later on in the season should be looked at early on. For example, last season the Jets played the Raiders in Week 1. I chose the Jets due to the fact that I knew this would be my best opportunity to use up the Jets and save other top teams like the Patriots and Seahawks later on.
  2. When in doubt pick the home team. Rarely will I be picking a team on the road in survivor. It is hard to win on the road, and teams tend to play better with their home crowd behind them. The one time I picked a road team last season, the 49ers lost at the Raiders and I was eliminated.
  3. Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Last season Washington was a 9.5-point underdog to the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday night football. Washington ended up winning, knocking many people out of their survivor pool.
  4. Never pick an underdog, unless you have no choice.

 

Before making any picks, look at each point spread. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week.

The biggest favorites in Week 3 per sportsbook.ag (home team in caps); SEAHAWKS -14.5 vs. Bears, PATRIOTS -14 vs. Jaguars, CARDINALS -7 vs. 49ers, PACKERS -7 vs. Chiefs

 

Top Survivor Picks for Week 3

Needless to say, the Patriots and Seahawks will be the most popular picks, but try to  avoid them and save them for later in the season.

TEXANS -6.5 vs. Buccaneers 

Houston has yet to play a complete game this season, managing only 12 first-half points so far. They have been trailing both games at halftime, forcing the Texans to throw a league leading 105 pass attempts while completing a league worst 50.5 percent of those attempts. That's what happens when your options are Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet. Bill O'Brien will want to take the edge off his quarterbacks and run the football this week. Last season the Texans ran the ball the most in the league with 551 rushing attempts, including 80 attempts through the first two games. Through two games this season the Texans have 44 rushing attempts. The Bucs have given up 228 rushing yards this season. This is the perfect matchup for the Texans to reclaim their identity of running the ball and letting the defense lead the team. The Texans are 7-2 facing rookie quarterbacks in the last three seasons and the Texans have not started a season 0-3 since 2008. J.J. Watt will torture James Winston and officially welcome the rookie to the NFL.

GIANTS -4 vs. Washington Professional Football Team

I was watching Giants-Falcons with a Giants fan, with the Giants leading 20-10 and driving to put the game out of reach. I said to him, "The Giants will somehow lose this one, Eli will throw a pick or fumble and make that face of his." Five minutes later Eli got sacked at the 15 yard line, fumbled, and there was Manning making that face with his arms shrugged. My friend in disgust mocked the face, and then had to suffer watching the defense blow the game. The Giants became the first team in NFL history to blow double digit leads in the first two games of the season.

A team that should be 2-0 is now 0-2 trying to save its season against a team they have owned. The Giants have beat Washington 15 of the last 20 including seven of the last 10 and the past three times at home. Washington is also coming off a huge high from having beat the Rams and getting their first win of the season. The Giants started off 0-2 last season before beating the Texans in week 3 at home. The same result should be in store for this week. The Giants will get out to an early lead and put the game away.

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid for Week 3

VIKINGS -2.5 vs. Chargers

This is one tough game to pick. Both teams come in 1-1, the Vikings won last week while the Chargers lost. After a terrible loss in San Francisco in week 1, the Vikings looked revitalized last week behind Adrian Peterson's bounce back game (192 total yards). The Chargers have not been playing well against the run, giving up 4.7 yards per rush. The Vikings don't fare any better having yielded 4.9 yards per rush. The Chargers had two toss up games so far, but played well in both. This one will go down to the wire and it's close to call.

DOLPHINS -3 vs. Bills

Divisional rivalries are the hardest to predict. Both teams are coming off losses in which they were both favorites (yes, I am still trying to figure out how the Bills were favorites against the Patriots). The three point line says how even these teams are. If someone held a gun to my head and made me choose I would pick the Bills due to their better defense and better coaching. It's Joe Philbin versus Rex Ryan. Also after watching Miami these past two weeks, nothing has convinced me they are better than last season.

 

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