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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 10) - Targets and Avoids

Week 9 was one of the rare weeks where every single home team, bar the Jaguars in London, not only won on the Sunday slate but covered as well. As for survivor pools, the 49ers, Bills, and Cowboys won without much of a sweat. The Seahawks just got by the Buccaneers, and had Seattle lost, then a third of remaining survivor pools would have been eliminated. The Packers losing to the Chargers did a little damage, but not as much had Seattle lost.

This week we have three big favorites; Saints -13 vs. Falcons, Colts -10.5 vs. Dolphins and Ravens -10 @ Bengals. Two of those games are divisional bouts which usually makes me nervous but we'll get to those below.

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 Broncos, Eagles, Jaguars, Patriots, Redskins, and Texans.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Top Survivor Picks for Week 10

Saints -13 vs. Falcons

Both teams are off a bye and going in completely opposite directions. The Saints have not lost since Week 2 against the Rams, while the Falcons haven't won since Week 2. It's shocking Dan Quinn is still coaching the Falcons and it seems likely he'll ride out the season at this point. Nonetheless, I don't care if Matt Ryan or Matt Schaub are quarterbacking this team because it doesn't matter. The Falcons issues reside in their defense; 24th in opponent yards per play, dead last in opponent third-down conversion percentage, 31st in opponent red zone scoring, last in sacks, and tied for last in forcing turnovers.

The Saints are a very smart team that doesn't make mistakes, with the second-fewest giveaways in the league this season. I think the only way Atlanta covers is a backdoor touchdown. Even that though, won't be enough to ruin survivor pools.

Saints 31 - Falcons 14


Ravens -10 @ Bengals

There is no reason the Ravens should lose this game to Ryan Finley and the Bengals. The only reason they could lose is they overlook this game because of their enormous win against the Patriots last Sunday night. The letdown potential is real and that's why I think Cincy could at least cover.

The Ravens Defense is nothing to brag about as they're 24th in opponent yards per play, but they should have their way for the large part against this rookie quarterback.

Ravens 23 - Bengals 16


Colts -10.5 vs. Dolphins

Whether Jacoby Brissett plays or not will make no difference to who wins this game, with his presence or absence likely to only affect only the point spread. Miami just had their big victory of the season, and they very well may not win a game again this season, which ownership will be totally fine with. Even when tanking, you don't want to go win-less because then you go down an infamy. Anyway, the Colts Defense is the reason they'll win. Their last three games; they rank 12th in opponent yards per play, fifth in getting off the field on third-downs and fifth in opponent touchdowns in the red zone.

Another reason why it doesn't matter if Brissett or Brian Hoyer starts is that the Colts will run the ball. They're ninth in rushing yards per game while the Dolphins are 31st in stopping the run, and allow 150 yards on the ground per game on average.

Colts 24 - Dolphins 10


Chiefs -3.5 vs. Titans

I said it last week but Tennessee really struggles to score. They rank 26th in points per game with 18.7 while KC averages 28, ranking sixth. If Patrick Mahomes is back, the Chiefs offense becomes nearly impossible to stop. The Titans Defense is generally pretty good, but no team can stop the Chiefs offense at full strength.

I also wrote last week that the Titans struggle to protect the quarterback (they rank last in sacks and 30th in quarterback hits allowed). Well Ryan Tannehill got sacked four times Sunday. The Chiefs Defense isn't the best but they do at least get to the quarterback, ranking seventh in sacks, and get stops when they need to. This line is too low.

Chiefs 35 - Titans 17


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Bucs -4.5 vs. Cardinals

Tampa may be a team you're considering using this week, but it'd be wise to avoid them. These teams have the exact same number of yards per play and are similar in the rest of the stats I look at. The one thing that stood out to me while handicapping it, is Tampa and Arizona both have allowed the same amount of sacks, 30, but Tampa has allowed 17 more QB hits. On the defensive side, Arizona is 12th in sacks while Tampa is 23rd. Combne that with both teams turnover differential, Tampa -5 & Arizona +3, and those stats could be the difference in this one. I also like that the Cardinals had three more days to prepare.

Cardinals 34 - Bucs 30


Packers -5 vs. Panthers

These teams are virtually dead even in statistical rankings, except for Carolina ranking dead last in allowing touchdowns in the red zone. However, the Panthers have the most team sacks and I think their constant pressure will get to Aaron Rodgers.

Another reason why I am taking the Panthers in my loser pool is because Christian McCaffrey is terrifying to bet against. He can break off long touchdown runs at any point and change the game. The Packers are currently allowing an average of 128 yards on the ground, which ranks 24th. This game could be a high-scoring one and I don't trust the Packers Defense.

Panthers 30 - Packers 28


The Rest

Chargers -1 @ Raiders - This is the Thursday night game. The Chargers are 4-5 and Raiders 4-4. The loser of this game will have their playoff hopes severely impacted. I really like how both of these teams have been playing recently, but the Chargers have a historical trend of surging in the second half of the year. They're getting healthy again and very well may have turned their season around with Sunday's win against Green Bay.

Browns -3 vs. Bills - This is one of the weirdest lines I've ever encountered. Cleveland stands at 2-6 while the Bills are 6-2. The Browns can't get out of their own way, and quite frankly the team is just a mess. Buffalo is doing what they should be doing and beating up on the bad teams. So, how is Cleveland a standard three-point favorite here? Vegas is begging you to take the Bills and the points which means you should take the Browns.

As for the stats, these teams are pretty even. Cleveland is so desperate for the win here while Buffalo has played a very easy schedule and hasn't really been tested. It's not like the Bills will blow the Browns out because they only average 19.8 points per game while Cleveland averages 19. I'm still alive in a loser pool and I am going to take the Bills. I'm still shocked at this spread.

Jets +2.5 vs. Giants - This is such a miserable game between two horrendous teams. You should have no money depending on this game.

Lions +2.5 @ Bears - The Bears have become a very similar team to what they used to be in the early 2000's, no offense but a great defense. Tough to pick them laying any points.

Steelers +4 vs. Rams - I'm going against one of my favorite gambling trends; road favorite off a bye, which did win last week with the Cowboys. The trend now moves to 63-25 since 2002. In case you missed my column last week, here's the logic behind taking a road favorite off a bye from RJ Bell on the Against All Odds podcast with Cousin Sal at the 47:35 mark.

"The team that's traveling is clearly better. Because you can't be favored on the road unless you're clearly better. But because you're clearly better, you have the distractions on the road. You might be looking ahead. You might be a little beat up from last week. Whatever it is, it's going to cause you not to play your best game; you're more susceptible to a team you think you should easily beat, even more susceptible on the road. That's why road favorites are so dangerous. Well, when you have a bye, all that stuff goes out the window. If you haven't played for two weeks, you're not going to look ahead. You're going to be focused on that team. You're not going to be tired. All the things that make traveling tough, you have that total focus."

But I'm going to go against it because this game is a late-game in Pittsburgh and Jared Goff struggles mightily in the cold. The weather in Pittsburgh on Sunday is going to a high of 48 and low of 34. Since this game is 4:25 p.m. and it will be dark already, let's assume temperature dips to 40 degrees by kickoff. Goff has played in three games below 40 degrees.

Date       Time Opp Week  Result  Cmp  Att Cmp%  Yds    TD   Int  Sk   Yds Rate Roof     Temperature
2017-12-24  1:00 TEN   16 W 27-23   22   39 56.4  286    4    0    1   15 113.8 outdoors  39.0
2018-10-14  4:05 DEN    6 W 23-20   14   28 50.0  174    0    1    5   27  54.8 outdoors  25.0
2018-12-09  8:20 CHI   14  L 6-15   21   45 46.7  162    0    4    3   25  18.9 outdoors  29.0

Provided by View Original Table

The game in Tennessee was in Week 17, 2016. That's when Todd Gurley went off and took a screen-pass about 75 yards for a touchdown. That helped boost his stats. But look at those other two games. Goff was born and bred in California and is not used/does not like the cold. The Bears Defense last year crushed him and made him look so bad in the cold. The Steelers Defense is a good one and I think he struggles mightily yet again in this weather.

Vikings +3 @ Cowboys - Dallas is a good bad team. They beat up on bad teams and struggle against good ones. However, Kirk Cousins also struggles mightily in prime-time games (6-14 record). I like the Vikings though because I think Mike Zimmer will have Dak Prescott confused all night.

Seahawks +6 @ 49ers - What a Monday night football game this will be. This line feels a point too high, but I think Seattle will at least cover thanks to a Russell Wilson garbage-time touchdown. Wilson just never gives up and Seattle seems to always score in garbage time.


Best Bets for Week 10

  • Chiefs -3.5
  • Browns -3
  • Bengals +10 (I'm only including this because I give three picks per week but if I didn't have to, this wouldn't be a best bet. I like Cincy only because of the home dog getting 10).

Last week: 3-0

Season total: 15-12

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