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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 7) - Targets and Avoids

Another week, more upsets. The Cowboys, Chiefs and Chargers all went down knocking out about 15-20 percent of remaining entrants in survivor pools, including myself. The Baltimore and New England wins were never in doubt, but the Redskins and Packers just barely squeaked out wins.

If you've made it this far, you've done a job well done. While it has felt easier this year with some massive favorites, underdogs are on the prowl going 54-35-2 against the spread (60.7 percent). That just shows how close these NFL games are, and how well the dogs are playing. This week there is one enormous home favorite, two heavy favorites, and the rest are projected to be tight games.

If you are reading this article on Thursday or later, the lines below are correct as of Wednesday. The teams I like against the spread will be italicized, with my three best bets against the spread able to be found on the bottom of the column. Teams on bye this week are the Browns, Bucs, Panthers and Steelers.

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Top Survivor Picks for Week 7

Bills -17 vs. Dolphins

This will be the only time you'll be able to use Buffalo. Their defense will throttle Miami. There is not much else needed to be said about this game.

Bills 24 - Dolphins 3


49ers -10 vs. Redskins

Washington ran the ball well last week (33 attempts for 145 yards), whereas they threw 25 times for 166 yards. I assume they'll take a similar approach against the Niners, but San Francisco is sixth in opponent rushing yards per game. I do think the Redskins will come through with a backdoor cover though.

49ers 20 - Redskins 10


Patriots -9.5 @ Jets

This game will be a close one with the rejuvenated Jets at home on Monday night. I expect a low-scoring game, which gives the Jets a decent shot.

Patriots 17 - Jets 13


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Packers -5.5 vs. Raiders

This line opened at seven and has been bet down to 5.5, which is surprising because the Packers are usually a public team especially when playing in Lambeau. But Green Bay is overrated and had no business beating the Lions on Monday night. Their offense is in the bottom half of yards per play (18th) -  and their defense, which looked really good early, is ranked 18th and they've allowed 6.5 yards the last three games (third most). They also are really struggling to keep the chains moving on third downs ranking 27th. It is important to note that Oakland's defense ranks in the bottom half of the league according to the stats I looked at. But, they are off a bye so they will be fresh.

The Raiders offense is fairly good ranking 13th in yard per play, eighth in third-down conversion percentage, and 13th in the red zone. They also are ninth in controlling the clock, meaning they'll keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

Finally, Vegas is begging you to put the Packers in a teaser, which means they think Oakland has a legitimate shot to win.

Raiders 27 - Packers 24


Chiefs -3 @ Broncos

It's fairly obvious how to beat the Chiefs; run the ball and control the clock. The Broncos are 14th in rushing yards per game and 15th in yards per attempt (Indy and Houston were both top-five in yards per game). Denver is 20th in time of possession. Are those stats good enough to beat KC? I'd lean yes. Patrick Mahomes' ankle is still an issue, and the Broncos Defense is finally living up to their preseason hype allowing 13 points against in the last three games.

Chiefs 23 - Broncos 21


Jaguars -3.5 @ Bengals

Jacksonville may seem like a sneaky survivor play against the winless Bengals, but it's tough to back a team that averages 19.5 points per game (23rd in the league). The Bengals Defense is not good, but they rank seventh in red zone defense. That's huge against a Jaguars team that ranks 29th in red zone touchdown percentage. I think that makes the difference.

Bengals 17 - Jaguars 16


The Rest

Rams -3 @ Falcons - I still haven't given up on the Rams, and if there's one team to play when the offense is seemingly broken, it's Atlanta. They are 27th in opponent yards per play, 27th in opponent passing yards (331 yards allowed in the last three games), 32nd in opponent third-down conversion percentage, and 31st in red zone defense. The Rams will find their offensive mojo again.

Vikings -1 @ Lions - This will be a close one, and Detroit hasn't been able to close out close games. Ultimately Minnesota's offense (third in yards per play) will be too much for Detroit.

Colts -1 vs. Texans - Houston seems to be back on track after a huge win in Kansas City, but I don't trust them. The Colts are a really physical team and will be fresh off the bye.

Giants -3 vs. Cardinals - These teams are literally dead even. It's unknown if Saquon Barkley or Even Engram will be back - but either way, this is an early 1 PM start on the East Coast for a West Coast team.

Titans -2 vs. Chargers - This line opened at pick'em - and despite 68 percent of the bets coming on the Chargers, the line has shifted to Titans -2 which means the smart/sharp/wiseguy money is all on Tennessee.

Saints +3 @ Bears - New Orleans can win with scoring, or win ugly in a tight-defensive battle. The Saints have more play-makers on offense, and how can you trust Mitch Trubisky on offense? Plus, the Bears "vaunted" defense has allowed too many game-winning touchdown drives.

Seahawks -3.5 vs. Ravens - I'm scared of the hook here with the half point, but the Ravens will finally be tested Sunday afternoon and the league will finally see how bad their defense is. They rank 30th in opponent yards per play and Russell Wilson will expose them.

Eagles +3 @ Cowboys - The way to beat Philly is by throwing downfield like Kirk Cousins did to them on Sunday. Dak Prescott has not looked like he could do that of late.


Best Bets for Week 7

  • Raiders +5.5
  • Rams -3
  • Eagles +3

Last week: 2-1

Season total: 10-8

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