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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 16) - Targets and Avoids


The Atlanta Falcons delivered the biggest blow in Week 15 to whatever remains of survivor pools with a last-second win against the 49ers as 10-point road dogs. Just more than six percent of entrants took the Niners on Run Your Pool's site-wide distribution pick. That's because San Fran was the sixth-most selected team. There was only one other big upset, the Jaguars as seven-point dogs in Oakland.

Looking ahead to Week 16, Thursday games are over but we get three Saturday games. All three figure to be good games. One of those games will have survivor implications while the other three big ones go on Sunday.

Teams I pick against the spread will be italicized, with my three best bets at the bottom of the column. When I say the stats I look at, I'm referring to yards per play, third-down conversions, and red-zone touchdown scoring. I also look at sacks and turnovers.

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Top Survivor Picks for Week 16

Broncos -6.5 vs. Lions

How in the world is David Blough going to muster more than 14 points in Denver against that pass rush? He had a nice game against Chicago on Thanksgiving but since then, his yards per attempt have been 5.13 and 6.05. That's really bad. Detroit also can't run the ball averaging 73 yards the last three games, 28th in the league. Drew Lock will be able to rip apart the anemic Lions secondary as Detroit has allowed 337 passing yards per game the last three, dead last in the league.

Broncos 24 - Lions 9

 

49ers -6.5 vs. Rams

The Saturday nightcap has big playoff implications for the 49ers. They need to win to stay alive in the hunt for the No. 1 seed. I usually get scared off from lines like this because Vegas is begging you to throw a 6.5-point favorite in a tease, but the Niners are too good to get tripped up. The recipe to beat the Rams is to pressure Jared Goff. The Niners have one of the best pass rushes in football. It hasn't been so good of late, but off a bad loss to Atlanta and in needing a win to stay alive for the NFC West title, San Fran should respond. The Niners offense has averaged 152 yards per game the last three weeks, fifth in the league, while the Rams have allowed 148 rushing yards in that span, 30th in the league. Running the ball will open up the passing game for Jimmy Garoppolo.

49ers 31 - Rams 17

 

Saints -3 vs. Titans

How will New Orleans fare in the chilly Nashville weather? Well, Sunday in Nashville has a high of 56 and low of 40. The Saints have only played three games in temperatures below 48 degrees since 2015. In Week 10, 2017, they crushed Buffalo 47-10. Week 10, 2018, they destroyed the Bengals 51-14 and then Week 15 of that year, beat the Panthers 12-9. This team can go on the road and be their dominant selves. I also believe the Titans' magic has run out.

Saints 28 - Titans 21

 

Seahawks -9.5 vs. Cardinals

On Run Your Pool as of Monday, Seattle is being picked at a 24 percent rate. It's easy to see why with them being near double-digit favorites. However, divisional games are usually tight because the teams are so familiar with each other. The over/under is set at 50 so expect a high-scoring game. Both teams are top 10 in rushing the last three weeks but also bottom 10 in stopping the run. Both teams are also bottom 10 in that span against the pass. When it's expected to be a high-scoring game, take the points.

Seahawks 33 - Cardinals 27

 

Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Steelers -3 @ Jets

How can you trust a Steelers team that's averaging 17.7 points per game the last three weeks? They have a great defense but the Jets also have a very good one. These teams are so similar but the Jets have the quarterback edge with Sam Darnold. Like I said last week with the Steelers, first to 17 wins.

Jets 17 - Steelers 13

 

Colts -6.5 vs. Panthers

Both teams started off the season playing really well but the Colts have dropped six of their last seven while the Panthers have lost six in a row. Carolina has decided to go with rookie quarterback Will Grier. Indy's season ended Monday night after their blowout loss to the Saints. Both teams are bad in the stats I look at so this line shouldn't be 6.5 but rather 3.

Panthers 26 - Colts 21

 

Falcons -7 vs. Jaguars

Both teams are coming off big road upsets in the Bay Area last week. There is letdown potential here for both teams which is why I think the line should be closer to four. Atlanta has the statistical advantage but Jacksonville will control the line of scrimmage. The Falcons have allowed the second-most quarterback hits this season while Jacksonville is tied for the fifth-most sacks.

Jaguars 23 - Falcons 17

 

Chargers -6 vs. Raiders

Both teams are equally bad and I'm not sure why this line is six considering there will be tons more Raiders fan at this game than Chargers fans. However, in the last three games, the Chargers are second in yards per play while Oakland is 15th. Defensively, LA is third and Oakland is 27th. That's a major edge, but Oakland should still cover.

Chargers 24 - Raiders 20

 

Patriots -6.5 vs. Bills

The second game of the Saturday slate is an AFC East battle. The Bills narrowly lost to New England in Week 4. But Buffalo has the recipe to beat the Patriots; they can pressure Tom Brady and also have a dual-threat quarterback in Josh Allen. The Patriots have struggled to stop dual-threats in recent weeks (Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson). This is going to be a low-scoring defensive game and 6.5 seems way too many to lay.

Patriots 20 - Bills 16

 

Ravens -10 @ Browns

I don't think I've went with the Ravens against the spread all year and I'm too stubborn to change that now. Baltimore hasn't lost since Week 4 when they got destroyed by Cleveland at home. They will probably have revenge on their minds. However, if Cleveland's skill players like Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt come to play, they'll be able to move the ball on the Ravens. The Jets were able to last Thursday night.

Ravens 34 - Browns 27

 

The Rest

Bucs +3 vs. Texans - This is the first of the Saturday slate. Houston has won three of their last four, but their defense has struggled statistically. Through their last three games, their defense ranks 28th in yards per play, last in third-down conversions and last in red-zone touchdowns. Their defense has been bad and they don't get to the quarterback with only six sacks in the last three games. Jameis Winston leads the league in passing yards and in the last two weeks has thrown for 914 yards, eight touchdowns, and four interceptions. Even without Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Winston will continue to sling it.

Dolphins -1 vs. Bengals - What is there to say about this game between two of the worst teams in football. You're better off not having any action on this.

Redskins -2.5 vs. Giants - This game has major draft implications because both teams will be in the hunt for Chase Young with both teams already drafting a quarterback this past draft. The Giants played their Super Bowl this past Sunday sending Eli Manning off with a win. I think they're done now.

Cowboys -2.5 @ Eagles - If Dallas wins they clinch the NFC East, if Philly wins they need to beat the Giants in Week 17 to win the division. The Cowboys are so much more talented than Philly and the Eagles are hampered by injuries.

Chiefs -5 @ Bears - KC's offense has been clicking, their defense is really improving and I don't see how Chicago will be able to keep pace with them on Sunday night.

Vikings -4.5 vs. Packers - I've been waiting for this game for a couple weeks. Finally, a team that can expose the overrated 11-3 Packers. Minnesota possesses the formula to beat Green Bay; pressuring Aaron Rodgers and running the ball. I'm nervous about the running game for the Vikings with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison banged up but the Packers rank 24th throughout the season stopping the run. Kirk Cousins will finally get his first win on Monday Night Football.

 

Best Bets for Week 16

  • Broncos -6.5
  • 49ers -6.5
  • Vikings -4.5

Last week: 1-2

Season total: 21-22-2

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