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It's finally back! Football is finally back and now I don't have worry about what I'll be watching on Sunday for the next five months.

I always try to figure out what the most exciting part of the year is - right before the NCAA Tournament, or now? It's a tough one, but I'd have to say right now. What a feeling it is with fantasy football coming up and survivor pools.

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.

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Survivor League Strategy

I tried an interesting tactic this year. I tried planning out who I would pick each week, but got stuck at Week 3. How do you pick between the Jets and Dolphins and Colts and Browns? So after Week 3 I stopped. This is a week to week competition, but there are several rules to follow.

  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 get the Luckless Colts this Sunday in LA.
  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.


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, but that means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they're mostly always right.

The biggest favorites in Week 1 per sportsbook (home team in caps);  BILLS -9.5 vs. Jets; PATRIOTS -9 vs. Chiefs; Steelers, -9 @ BROWNS; Falcons -7 @ BEARS; Panthers -6 @ 49ERS.

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 One

This week is ALWAYS the hardest week. We have no prior history with any of these teams (no I don't care for pre-season). Some will surprise and some will bust. It's impossible to tell.

I will not be picking the Patriots this week or Steelers. I want to hold on to those two teams for a much later week.


 Rams -3.5 vs. Colts

Somehow this line has stuck at three and a half since Andrew Luck was ruled out. I don't understand how the Rams are only a half point better than the Colts without their best player on a neutral field. I think this line will probably go to at least five by kickoff when the public finally realizes Scott Tolzien is the starting quarterback.

The Colts organization should be ashamed of themselves. They ruined Luck. They never gave him any help on the offensive line and therefore he was continually knocked on the ground. The Colts spent money on Frank Gore and Andre Johnson when they desperately needed offensive line help and defensive help. Luck is injured because of ex-GM Ryan Grigson's incompetence and Jim Irsay's ineptitude.

With Luck being out here's a perfect nugget for this game fromthe IndyStar- "The offensive line is banged up, and without the downfield threat of Luck-to-Hilton to worry about, teams will likely stack the box and dare Tolzien beat them."

The Rams have an above average defense with a good home crowd. As much as it was fun to laugh at Jared Goff last year, I think he takes a big step forward with the help of their new head coach Sean McVay. He has good weapons around him, Todd Gurley, newly acquired Sammy Watkins, and training camp sensation Cooper Kupp. You won't get a chance like this to pick the St. Louis Rams again.


Panthers -6 @ 49ers

Cam Newton vs. Brian Hoyer. I'll be honest, I had to google who the 49ers quarterback is, that's how bad they are. The Panthers will have a bounce back year after missing the playoffs last year. The 49ers have ZERO appeal and no weapons that could challenge Cam Newton's torrid offense. Christian McCaffrey returns to his college town, and I think he'll put on a big show in his first game. I always get scared of picking teams on the road, but Newton is an MVP and the Panthers' defense is no joke. They will stifle whatever the 49ers do on offense, which I expect to be nothing.


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid 

Bills -9.5 vs. Jets

Everyone is saying how bad the Jets will be. The offense will be atrocious, but the defense is a prideful bunch. They can play. Their first round pick Jamal Adams is going to be a star. Their defensive line has pro-bowlers Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams and their linebacking corps should get better behind Darron Lee. The Jets' defense will get them to four wins, but I hope not. They'll have just enough wins to finish outside the top three and not be able to draft Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen (I'm a Jets fan if you can't tell).

The Bills have NO business being nine and a half point favorites over anyone, even the Jets. This game is divisional game and the Jets usually play the Bills tough. Seam McDermott is making his coaching debut and I'm not sure what kind of play calling I'll be seeing so that scares me. The battle I can't wait to watch is the Bills offensive line that paved the way for the number one rushing attack last year against the Jets d-line. If the Jets d-line gets the early push up front, that'll force the Bills to throw the ball. I don't trust Tyrod Taylor to throw the ball out especially after he just got out of concussion protocol. He isn't the best thrower to begin with. The Bills played well last season when they got out ahead, but struggled when they got behind.

The Jets will have to score 16-20 points to win this game, but I think their defense can hold the Bills under 16. I'd definitely take the Jets with the points.


Falcons -7 @ Bears

I think the Falcons take a GIANT step backwards and miss the playoffs entirely. I'll even go out and say they won't finish .500 or above. You don't blow a Super Bowl like that and be the same team the year after. They had a whole offseason to read about the 28-3 memes and listen to everyone mock them. Matt Ryan will revert to the inconsistent  player who he was for majority of his career.

Can Mike Glennon shock the world and knock out 30% of the survivor pool in week one? It may seem far fetched, but I have a good feeling about Da Bears.


More Week 1 Lineup Prep