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I am damned. I had two entries in my survivor pool. Three weeks ago, I chose the Ravens over the Jags and the Ravens were bludgeoned. Three weeks later, I chose the Steelers and the Jags beat them. Badly. This comes a week after the Jaguars lost to the Jets. The Steelers couldn't score a touchdown with arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the league. Roethlisberger had five picks with two of them being returned for touchdowns. They should be embarrassed.

Now, 85-90% of survivor pools are eliminated. If you are alive through five weeks, give yourself a pat on the back. This has been one of the wildest survivor years in recent memory. But good news, we finally have a week where the sea parts. There are a ton of big home favorites facing off against bad teams.

Teams on bye: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks.


Observations from Last Week

  • The Chargers finally won a close game.
  • J-E-T-S. As a Jets fan, I love how they're competing. That's not sarcasm. Let these young players win a little. Instill some confidence in a young team.
  • The Cardinals are so overrated. Will Vegas take notice?
  • After an abysmal offense through the first month of the season, the Ravens came out firing and seem to have a running game.
  • Rodgers did it again. Thanks to some awful clock management from Princeton alum Jason Garrett.


Rant of the Week

I think there should be a special stat made for tipped interceptions. In no way is it the quarterback's fault when he puts the ball on the money, only for it to go right through the receivers hands and the defense intercepts it. Take a look at the 2:50 and 4:22 marks.

Those picks are not Dalton's fault at all. But for someone who did not watch the game and looking at the box score today, they see a stat line of 22-36 for 328 yards, one touchdown and two picks. That's not a sexy stat line. If Green catches those balls, Dalton may have thrown for 400 yards and two touchdowns. There should be a special stat designated to this happenstance. Let's call it the tip-pick. If you have a better name, please let me know via twitter. I'd love to hear.


Survivor League Strategy

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.

Let's get rid of some more rules. It's survive and advance at this point. There may be 10% of entries remaining.

  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 Browns and the Jets. Try and pick teams you won't use later. For example, the Rams got the Luckless Colts  in Week 1.
  2. Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Some weeks it will be really hard to not pick a divisional game, because there is no better option.
  3. Never pick an underdog.
  4. Rarely, if ever, pick a Thursday night game. Anyone can beat anyone off four days rest. You're better off trying to figure out Johnny Drama's next move.
  5. I will add a fifth rule though and this comes from @MrSeanOC via twitter

After being eliminated by the Ravens and Steelers, I think it's safe to roll with this rule the rest of the way.
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. 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. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE which means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they're mostly always right.

The biggest favorites in Week 6 per sportsbook (home team in caps);

  • BRONCOS -12 vs. Giants
  • FALCONS -11 vs. Dolphins
  • TEXANS -10 vs. Browns
  • REDSKINS -10 vs. 49ers
  • Patriots -9.5 @ JETS
  • RAVENS -7 vs. Bears

If you're reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines were from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.


Top Survivor Picks for Week 6

Can the NFL please mandate a rule that states there should be no NFC North matchups (besides the Packers playing) and no AFC South matchups on national television? Any combination of these teams playing each other; Bears, Lions, Vikings or Colts, Titans, Jaguars, Texans are awful to watch. I can't tell you how much I am dreading Monday night's game between the Colts and Titans. These teams have no appeal.
BRONCOS -11 vs. Giants

This is the Sunday night primetime game. It could very well be over after the first quarter. If the Broncos get out to an early 7-0, the defense will unleash their dynamic pass rush with Von Miller against a team that can't block. The Giants have allowed 13 sacks and 26 quarterback hits.

As for the Giants defense, it was supposed to be their strongest unit. Yet, they can't get off the field on third downs, the money down. They have allowed 42.5 percentage of third down completions. Not good considering Denver is top 10 in third down conversions at 46%. The Broncos also average 143 rushing yards per game, third most in the league. They will be able to control the game and dominate the hopeless Giants.

Another note for Giants fans. This season is over. But don't worry. All of a sudden, the Giants may be able to draft a top of the line quarterback. He can hold a clipboard for a year while Eli deteriorates to a shell of himself. When Eli was drafted, he played the second half of his rookie season while Kurt Warner played the first half until he looked lost.

There are several more options to choose from and I'd go in this order.

TEXANS -10 vs. Browns

The Texans are off a loss to arguably the best team in football, but luckily for them, they get the worst team in football. Kevin Hogan or DeShone Kizer are no match for the Texans. Houston may have lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season, but I have no doubt that DeShaun Watson will continue his torrid play. Houston is averaging 28 points per game, fourth best in the league, while the Brownies are averaging 15 points, third worst. Even if the Texans score 20, that should be enough.

FALCONS -11 vs. Dolphins

How much worse can Jay Cutler play? Through four games, he's averaging a career low 176.5 yards per game and 74.8 passer rating. Keep getting 'dem checks Jay!

Atlanta is off their bye week which should have given Julio Jones time to get healthy. Signs are pointing towards him playing and the Falcons offense should click. All they have to do is score 24 points and that should be good enough. Their last home game they scored 17 points against the Bills, but that will be an anomaly.

Patriots -9.5 @ JETS

New England has 11 days to prepare for this one. Everyone is saying how bad their defense is, but it will eventually be fixed, especially against this Jets offense. While the Jets have won three in a row, they've only averaged 339 yards per game during their win streak. That would put them in the middle of the pack in terms of total offensive output per game. The Jets usually play New England tough in one of their two games, and I don't think it's this one. Also, Tom Brady is dealing with an AC joint sprain. Don't worry. He'll be just fine.


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

RAVENS -7 vs. Bears 

This line is two points too high. Just because the Ravens went out west and handled an E.J. Manuel led Raiders team, they deserve to be favorite by seven! Congratulations on beating Manuel. I need to see more before I put my survivor pool in the hands of Joe Flacco. I've been saying this all season, but the Bears are frisky. Mitchell Trubisky is mobile and can cause the defense some trouble. His mobility and play-action pass will open up the running game for Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. The Ravens have a top of the line defense and this game will be a low scoring affair. I see it as a 16-10 kind of game.

REDSKINS -10 vs. 49ers

Everyone is saying how good the Redskins are and I'm a little nervous they'll come off the bye week flat. The 49ers have been competitive in their last four games. They've lost each of those games by a single possession, and there last two were in overtime. I'm not saying the Niners will win this one, but with all the other favorable games out there, I'd  play it safe and avoid this one.

  • PANTHERS -3 vs. Eagles - It's too bad this is the Thursday night game. I'd rather see these two teams with a full week to prepare.
  • SAINTS -3.5 vs. Lions - You're getting a free half point by going with the Lions. I am still baffled and shocked that the Superdome warrants an extra half point. The Saints have NOT been good in the Superdome the past couple of seasons.
  • JAGUARS -2.5 vs. Rams - The Jags will fall back to Earth against one of the better defenses in the league.
  • Packers -3.5 @ VIKINGS - Divisional game. I also love home underdogs.
  • Bucs -2.5 @ CARDINALS -  Ahhhh! Vegas took notice on how bad the Cards are.
  • CHIEFS -4.5 vs. Steelers - This line is two points too low. After a week of hearing how bad the Steelers offense is and how good the Chiefs are, I'm calling for the upset. The three B's will return to relevance.


More Weekly Lineup Prep