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NFL Survivor League Picks – Targets & Avoids for Week 12


The best NFL teams usually show themselves by Thanksgiving. It seems likes that's the Patriots, Cardinals, and Panthers, in that order. It will take a complete game to beat those teams. The rest of the league looks incredibly even. Bye weeks are finally done, but the NFL scheduling keeps getting worse and worse. There are nine 1 p.m. games and only two late games. I understand there are three Thursday games for Thanksgiving, but come on NFL. What's the point of Red Zone for two games?

If you are still alive in a survivor pool, congratulations. Be aware that the games this week are toss-ups.

Survivor League Strategy

I will be following the same strategy I employ 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 12, per sportsbook.ag; Cardinals -10.5 vs. 49ERS, BENGALS -9 vs. Rams, PACKERS -9 vs. Bears

Top Survivor Picks for Week 12

BENGALS -9 vs. Rams

This has blow out written all over it. After starting the season 8-0, the Bengals lost back-to-back to the Texans and Cardinals. But the Bengals return home to face a Rams team that is a mess. St. Louis is the worst team in offensive DVOA. The only offensive weapon the Rams have is Todd Gurley, but even he can't do much when the box is stacked. The Bengals will dare Case Keenum to beat the Bengals (if he even clears concussion protocol).

I don't expect the Rams defense, third in DVOA, to slow down the Bengals, the number one team in offensive DVOA. If the Rams gave up 37 points two weeks ago to the Rams, then the Bengals should have a field day. Once the Rams get behind, there is no coming back.

JAGUARS -4 vs. Chargers

This is the first time I am choosing the Jaguars in the survivor pool this season. The Jaguars are coming off a two-game winning streak, and have looked pretty competent this season. They are also only a game behind the lead in the AFC South.

The Chargers are so, so bad. The have lost six in a row, including a 33-3 loss last week. They are 30th in defensive DVOA, and the 30th-ranked DVOA team. The Chargers are done and I'm not sure they win again this season. Blake Bortles will have a monster day this week, as the Jaguars will show they are for real.

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid for Week 1

TEXANS -3. vs. Saints

Do not get sucked into the Texans--I still think they are awful. Yes, they beat the then-undefeated Bengals and Jets, but the Bengals were due for a letdown and the Jets aren't any good. The Houston offense is 23rd in DVOA, not too good. If the Saints take away DeAndre Hopkins, then the Texans offense has nothing.

The public is off the Saints after two losses, but they are fresh off a bye, and fired their defensive coordinator Rob Ryan two weeks ago (they are much better off without him). I look at the quarterbacks and I see Drew Brees against Brian Hoyer. How can you ever trust Hoyer when he's back to pass? The thought of J.J. Watt coming after Brees scares me, but the Saints are the 10th-best team in pass protection, per Football Outsiders.  I like the Saints in a close one.

 

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