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NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 6) - Targets and Avoids

The two double-digit favorites, Patriots and Eagles, did their part Sunday cruising to wins. However the Bears “great and vaunted” defense allows yet another game-winning drive, the Broncos Defense stifles the Chargers, and the Chiefs lose outright to the Colts at home knocking tons of entrants out in survivor. I rightly gave out the Patriots and Eagles which were easy plays, I also gave out the Vikings, but missed on the Chiefs and Bears. I did have the Chargers as my top avoid.  I was 2-1 against the spread last week raising my season total to 8-7.

We're five weeks into the season and it’s getting harder and harder to choose what teams to choose. And this week is extremely difficult. Here are the teams that are favored by seven or more, per The Action Network; Patriots -16.5 vs. Giants, Ravens -11 vs. Bengals, and Cowboys -9 at the Jets. It may seem easy this week, but I'm only on one of those teams. I'm sniffing a doomsday-type week.

If you are reading this article on Thursday or later, the lines below are correct as of Wednesday. 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 6

Teams on bye this week are the Bills, Bears, Colts, and Raiders.


Patriots -16.5 vs. Giants

Another week, another time with the Patriots as a double-digit favorite and my top survivor play. If you haven’t taken the Pats, you can’t go wrong using them Thursday night. Bill Belichick owns rookie quarterbacks at home. He’s never even lost to one!

Now, if you’re still in a loser survivor pool where you must pick a loser, the Giants are the easy pick. I even plugged in the Giants in my loser survivor pool while the late games were happening! Daniel Jones looked like a true rookie against the Vikings and now faces the best defense in Foxborough. Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and even Even Engram won't be playing.

Patriots 34 - Giants 10


Chiefs -5 vs. Texans

This is more of a play against Houston than it is a play on KC. Bill O'Brien is the most overrated coach in football. I don't even know how he still has a job. He's too micro-managing, and his play-calling is horrid. Let's not overreact to their "romp" of the Falcons. That game was much closer than the scoreboard showed. A major reason why Houston racked up 592 yards on 8.8 yards per play is because Atlanta is a bottom-ten defense and they are tied for last in sacks. The way to stop Deshaun Watson is to pressure and sack him. The Chiefs aren't the best, but not the worst in the department ranking 19th with 11 sacks.

The way to beat the Chiefs is by running the ball and controlling the clock. The Texans are 10th in running while KC is 30th against the run. But Houston is only 17th in time of possession. That is how Houston can win, but I don't trust their defense. They are 20th in opponent yards per game. They also can't get off the field on third down ranking 25th, which will be an issue facing the third-best team on third down. Now this all is a moot point if Patrick Mahomes is actually hobbled, but I think he's fine. He'll be ready to feast on this bad Houston secondary. The Texans do rank ninth in team sacks, but the Chiefs offensive line has allowed the fifth-fewest sacks and are 19th in quarterback hits allowed.

Chiefs 38 - Texans 20


Top Survivor Picks to Avoid

Ravens -11 vs. Bengals

There are several reasons why I will not pick Baltimore this week. For one, they're very overrated. They beat up on the Dolphins in Week 1, barely beat the Cardinals in Week 2, were handled by the Chiefs in Week 3, were beat up by Cleveland in Week 4, and then this past week, a third-string undrafted rookie quarterback out of Samford named Devlin Hodges almost beat them. Baltimore got lucky to win that game. Hodges played briefly but looked good completing seven of nine passes for 68 yards. And Hodges isn't the only one to have had success in the air against Baltimore, but rather every team. The Ravens are 21th in opponent passing yards per game, 31st in opponent yards per play, and it may get worse this week. Safety Tony Jefferson is out for the year after tearing his ACL Sunday.  Andy Dalton isn't an outstanding quarterback but he won't face pressure (Ravens are 24th in team sacks) and should have time to hit the open man against the depleted Ravens secondary.

The other major issue is Baltimore fares well against bad defenses and Cincy is a bottom five one. Still, I can't lay more than 10 points with a defense as bad as Baltimore's. Additionally, Dalton is 3-2 in Baltimore the last five years and every match-up has been decided by a possession.

Bengals 20 - Ravens 19


Cowboys -9 @ Jets

You're probably thinking I'm crazy avoiding Dallas at the Jets this week. The Cowboys are off consecutive losses to the Saints and Packers (combined record 8-2) that made them look like an average team. They seemed great at first, but they beat up on the Giants, Redskins, and Dolphins (combined record of 2-12). So it would fit the script if the Cowboys just unleash in the Meadowlands Sunday. Not so fast though.

The Jets seem like the worst team, but they've been so ravaged by injury. Quarterback Sam Darnold is finally back this week but it’s unclear if linebacker and quarterback of the defense C.J. Mosley returns. Even without Mosley, the Jets Defense hasn't been as bad as it seems. They're an average one, but can stop the run allowing the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game, 87.5. That is how you beat the Cowboys. You need to stop Ezekiel Elliott and dare Dak Prescott to beat you. In two of the Cowboys three wins, Zeke had at least 100 rushing yards. In their two losses, he had 35 and 62.

You can't fairly evaluate the Jets offense because they're down to their third string, and like I keep saying, been decimated by injuries. The offense looked good in the preseason when Darnold was fully healthy. That's not a good way to evaluate any offense, but Darnold has talent and he gets to put that on display Sunday. The Cowboys are a tough defense to get a gauge on because they crushed the bad teams, but the Packers offense was clicking Sunday. I'l go out on a limb and take the Jets in an upset.

Jets 23 - Cowboys 19


Redskins -3.5 @ Dolphins

Some people may think Washington is a good play this week because they are playing Miami. Both of these teams are awful. Miami has actually been playing a little bit better each week and are off a bye week. Now, neither are remotely good at all. They are both bottom five in nearly every stat I look at. The Dolphins win this because the Skins are a dumpster fire. They fired Jay Gruden Monday and teams are 9-14 in the game after losing their head coach.

Also, wiseguys are on the Fins.

Dolphins 23 - Redskins 21


Chargers -6.5 vs. Steelers

How much worse can get for Pittsburgh? Terrible injury luck. Unlucky breaks. They could be 3-2 if not for awful game-deciding turnovers against the 49ers and Ravens. The good news is they play a virtual home game in Los Angeles. Steelers fan travel and the Chargers rental stadium always has more of the visitors fans.

As for the game, the Chargers have struggled recently losing to the Lions, Texans, and Broncos. Those are games they should have won, but of course the Chargers did Charger things. Their offense has not looked good and that will be an issue against an underrated defense. It seems like Pittsburgh has struggled on that side of the ball, but when you look at the numbers, the Steelers are eighth in opponent yards per play, third in red zone defense, and third in sacks.

I also think Devlin Hodges will have time to pass because the Chargers are 15th in sacks while Pittsburgh has allowed the second fewest sacks and quarterback hits.

Last week I said Vegas installed the Chargers as a 6.5-point favorite in the late window when there were only two games, meaning they wanted you to tease the Chargers. They lost outright. Vegas is trying to have you tease the Chargers again and they'll lose again.

Steelers 24 - Chargers 20


The Rest

Panthers -2 vs. Bucs (in London) - Better get your excuses ready for the wife/girlfriend because this game kicks off a 12+ hour day of football. This may not seem so appealing of a standalone game but Christian McCaffrey is playing and that makes this a must-watch. It’ll be really interesting to see how he fares against this second-ranked rush defense. McCaffrey’s only bad game has come against Tampa in Week 2 when he was bottled up for 37 yards on 16 carries and held to two receptions for 16 yards. He’s been otherworldly in his other four games. But in that Week 2 game, Cam Newton was the quarterback and he could not throw. Now with Kyle Allen, they’re 3-0 and he is actually keeping defenses out of the box with his threat of passing. Here are both their stats this season.

Newton: 56 percent completion rate, 6.43 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns, one interception

Allen: 66 percent completion rate, 7.49 yards per attempt, five touchdowns, no interceptions

Kyle Allen is better for this team, right now. I think him being able to throw will open up running lanes for McCaffrey.

Browns +1 vs. Seahawks - Seattle will be on 10 days rest while Cleveland is on a short week after getting romped on national television in San Francisco. A major key to this game will be red zone scoring; Seattle is first while Cleveland's defense is 30th. The only reason I'm taking Cleveland is because I always like to take a team that was embarrassed on national television.

Jaguars -1 vs. Saints - Both of these teams have been hot of late with backup quarterbacks. Both of these defenses are above average. I view the Saints a point better on a neutral field which means I think the Jags should be favored by two. Sharps are on the Jags too.

Eagles +3 @ Vikings - Everyone is back on the Vikings bandwagon after they crushed the Giants, but they're such an up-and-down team. Philly pretty much had the week off playing the Jets. I'm really excited for this one. I wouldn't bet it, but if I had to, I'd take Philly.

Rams -3.5 vs. 49ers - The Niners are off an enormous blowout on national television that showed the world they are to be taken for real. Now they head to LA on a short week for a divisional bout against the Rams who will have an extra four days to prepare. Jared Goff really isn't that bad and the Rams will bounce back.

Falcons -2.5 @ Cardinals - Arizona is off a win while the Falcons are looking to end their three-game losing streak. This is going to be a high-scoring game and the Falcons will come away with it.

Broncos -2.5 vs. Titans - It'll be interesting to see how Denver plays off their first win of the season. Luckily for them, the Titans don't have any semblance of an offense. That plays into Denver's strategy of slowing the game down, running the ball, and playing good defense.

Packers -4.5 vs. Lions - Green Bay is an incredible first quarter team as they're third in points with 8.6. What's even crazier is the defense is tied for first allowing 0.6 points. So if you're to bet this game, just bet Green Bay first quarter and first half.


Best Bets for Week 6

  • Patriots -16.5
  • Bengals +11
  • Rams -4.5

Last week: 2-1

Season total: 8-7

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