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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 13) - Targets and Avoids

Week 12 came and went with nary an upset. The biggest upset was the Washington Redskins beating the Lions as 4-point underdogs. The Panthers should have beaten their division rival Saints as 10-point dogs, but Joey Slye missed two extra points and a 28-yard field goal.

Survivor pools are desolate at this point in the year. Some pools have "restarted" or there are second-chance pools. This week there are several games with point-spreads of more than seven; Panthers -10 vs. Redskins, Chiefs -10 vs. Raiders, Eagles -9.5 at Dolphins, Cowboys -7 vs. Bills, and Saints -7 at Falcons. Thankfully, we also have a full slate of games with no more bye weeks anymore.

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.

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Top Survivor Picks for Week 13

Panthers -10 vs. Redskins

When Carolina's offense is clicking, it's really hard to stop. The offense starts with Christian McCaffrey and Washington allows 137 rushing yards per game. The Redskins won't be able to keep pace with Carolina because Dwayne Haskins stinks and they average 13.1 points per game, worst in the league. They are also 29th in yards per play, and dead last in third-down conversion as well as touchdowns in the red zone.

Panthers 38 - Redskins 13


Eagles -9.5 @ Dolphins

The last time you could have picked the Eagles was in Week 5. If you didn't, now is the next best chance. I understand the Eagles offense has been non-existent but they'll be able to run, run and run all over Miami. They rank 31st in opponent rushing yards per game. Also, the Eagles Defense has been phenomenal their last three allowing the ninth-fewest yards yer play in that span. Miami's offense is the worst in the league in yards per play.

Eagles 24 - Dolphins 10


Bears -3 @ Lions

This is the opening game on Thanksgiving Day. Normally, I'd never advise anyone to take a team with an offense that averages 4.4 yards per play (tied for last with the Dolphins) but the Lions are 26th in opponent yards per play. However, the reason I'd take the Bears is that you have the fifth-ranked defense in opponent yards per play going against quarterback David Blough. That's right, Jeff Driskel probably will not play because of a hamstring injury so the undrafted rookie out of Purdue will get his first career start. The Bears Defense featuring Khalil Mack is not one you want to play against in your first start.

Bears 20 - Lions 9


Packers -6.5 vs. Giants

Like I said last week, a team needs two things to beat the Packers, put pressure on Aaron Rodgers, and be able to run the ball. The Giants are 28th in their last three games running the ball. Saquon Barkley has barely been heard from in those three games. In total he has had 88 rushing yards on 44 carries. Additionally, the Giants have recorded just four sacks in their last three games. Aaron Rodgers will have his time to throw against the 26th-ranked passing defense.

I also love the notion of backing a team who are off an embarrassing blowout loss on national television.

Packers 31 - Giants 14


Saints -7 @ Falcons

The Falcons are back to their normal selves after the Buccaneers rolled them Sunday while New Orleans narrowly escaped the Panthers. These two teams played two and a half weeks ago and the Falcons shocked the Saints. No two teams should be playing twice in that short of a span, and now the Saints have tape on what they did wrong and they'll right it Thursday night.

Another key facet to this game is Atlanta's offensive line has allowed the third-most quarterback hits while the Saints pass rush is tied for 10th in sacks.

Saints 31 - Falcons 21


Chiefs -10 vs. Raiders

Andy Reid is 17-3 off a bye in his career. Teams are 10-18 this season off a bye, but Reid has been so good, it shouldn't impact him.

The way to beat KC is to run the ball. Josh Jacobs has been amazing so far, but Oakland has only rushed for 86 yards on average the last three games, way down from their 122 season average. The other big thing with Oakland is Derek Carr in cold weather. He's 2-9 career in games under 50 degrees. Sunday in Kansas City will be a high of 40, low of 27 with swirling winds. Carr is in for a bad game just like the one he had Sunday in cold, windy New York.

Chiefs 31 - Raiders 13


Jets -3.5 vs. Bengals

The Jets are rolling. They've won three in a row and just gave up three points to the Raiders. The Bengals are 0-11, and are now going back to Andy Dalton as their quarterback in favor of Ryan Finley. It really doesn't matter who starts because the Jets Defense is allowing an impressively low 3.9 yards per play through their last three games, tied with 49ers for best in the league. In that span, the Bengals rank 26th. Cincy's offensive line is in the bottom half of the league while the Jets have 13 sacks in the last three games.

Sam Darnold being completely healthy and mono-free has elevated the Jets offense to 10th in the league through the last three games in terms of yards per play. The Bengals Defense is 32nd throughout the year. While the Jets offensive line is bad, the Bengals are 31st in sacks with just 16 the entire season. As I wrote before, the Jets have 13 sacks in the last three games.

Jets 27 - Bengals 16


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Cowboys -7 vs. Bills

The Bills beat up on bad teams, and well the Cowboys do the same. Now both of these good bad teams face-off on Thanksgiving Day. You have the number one team in yards per play with Dallas against the number-three defense in Buffalo. The Bills' defense is also fifth in opponent third-down conversions. I expect a slug-fest and seven points are too much.

Cowboys 23 - Bills 20


The Rest

Colts -2.5 vs. Titans - It seems like every team in the AFC South has a roller-coaster of a season every year. The Titans had a great game Sunday against the Jaguars while the Colts had a bad one last Thursday night in Houston. Time for the Colts to bounce-back while the Titans play a letdown.

Steelers +2 vs. Browns - Devlin Duck Hodges gets the start in a massive revenge game against the Browns. These two teams played two weeks ago and that was when Myles Garrett socked Mason Rudolph with the quarterback's helmet.

Bucs +1 @ Jaguars - I want nothing to do with this game. How can you back either of these teams? Since I pick every game, I'll take Tampa and their high-scoring offense.

49ers +6 @ Ravens - This game should be at 4 p.m. because these are the two hottest teams in football. Six points is too much to give the 49ers and their pass rush.

Rams -3 @ Cardinals - Do I love backing teams off blowout embarrassing losses on national television? Absolutely! The Cardinals are off a bye and this season, teams off a bye are 10-18 straight up. Jared Goff looked awful Monday night but the Cardinals are 30th in opponent yards per play and dead last in opponent passing yards per game.

Broncos +2.5 vs. Chargers - How much worse can it get for the Broncos after their three-point showing Sunday in Buffalo? The Chargers are off a bye and that hasn't favored teams this year as I said in the games above.

Patriots -3 @ Texans - This is the Sunday night game. Bill Belichick will take DeAndre Hopkins out of the game just like the Patriots held Amari Cooper to zero catches Sunday. Deshaun Watson has been sacked eight times in the last three games and I expect New England to get to him. While New England's offense did not look good Sunday, they were without Mohamed Sanu and had a hampered Julian Edelman. But they'll get back to their basics come Sunday by running the ball. The Texans have allowed 168 rushing yards the last three weeks, second-most in the league.

Vikings +3  @ Seahawks - Both secondaries haven't looked good recently. In the last three games, Seattle is allowing 257 yards passing, 25th in the league, while Minnesota is 297 yards, ranking 30th. I expect a high-scoring game and because of that, I'd rather take the points.


Best Bets for Week 13

  • Panthers -10
  • Packers -6.5
  • Rams -3

Last week: 2-1

Season total: 18-17-1

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