There are millions of people out there who play in NFL survivor pools. These are very popular at work and at sports bars from around the country.
The object is to pick one winner a week and to be the last person standing. Different pools have different rules.
Some will only allow you to pick a team once, while others let you pick a team multiple times. Also, some are single-loss elimination, while others allow you to have multiple losses before you can be eliminated.
I am going to go through every week and list six teams that are worth a look in your survivor pool. I will separate them by Tier 1 (two best options), Tier 2 (3rd & 4th best options), and Tier 3 (5th & 6th best options).
For those of you who can only pick a team once throughout the season, this will give you several different teams to choose from. That’s how most survivor pools work. Good luck this year!
I went 4-2 on my survivor pool picks last week. I lost on the Rams and Jaguars, and won on the Vikings, Ravens, Falcons and Texans. There are five teams who are double-digit favorites this week or close to it to choose from, and those five have all made my top six for Week 16.
As you’ll notice throughout the season, I’ll refer to the point spreads when making my selections because I think this is the best way to do it. The oddsmakers in Vegas are very good at what they do. It’s a good starting point when making your picks as well.
1) New England Patriots – The Patriots need a win here Sunday to stay alive for the No. 2 seed in the AFC. They are one game behind the Texans for that spot, but own the tiebreaker. Look for them to get back on track here against the Buffalo Bills and bounce back from two consecutive losses. Tom Brady is 29-3 straight up in his career agains the Bills, and Bill Belichick is 33-4 in his career as a head coach against them. So the Patriots are 13.5-point favorites this week for good reason.
2) Los Angeles Rams – The Rams hit the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals this week. They have no margin for error any more as the Bears are just one game behind them now for the No. 2 seed and own the tiebreaker over Los Angeles. That’s because the Rams have been upset in back-to-back games by the Bears and Eagles. Now they should refocus and continue making the Arizona Cardinals a punching bag. The Cardinals lost 14-40 at Atlanta last week. The Rams have won their last three meetings with the Cardinals by a combined 99-16 score. It’s fitting that the Rams are 14.5-point favorites in this matchup.
3) Indianapolis Colts – The Colts have been on fire. They have won seven of their last eight games to put themselves in position to make the playoffs. They would be the final wild card team with a win and a Ravens loss to the Chargers. But either way, they need to win to stay alive. They should handle their business as 9.5-point home favorites over the New York Giants this week. This is a Giants team that is coming off an ugly 17-0 shutout home loss to the Titans. And they may be without Odell Beckham again this week. Eli Manning has been horrible, and he doesn’t stand much of a chance of matching Andrew Luck and company score for score in this one.
4) Cleveland Browns – The Browns are rare big favorites this week. They host the Cincinnati Bengals and are 9-point favorites in this divisional showdown. The Browns are 4-1 in their last five games overall and playing as well as they have at any point this century. They should be able to handle the Bengals, who are banged up without their quarterback, several of their top receivers and a couple running backs. They just don’t have many weapons left for backup Jeff Driskel, and they have the worst defense in the NFL. That’s not a good combination.
5) Tennessee Titans – The Titans are 10.5-point home favorites over the Washington Redskins this week. The Titans have won three straight, including back-to-back blowout wins over the Jaguars 33-9 and the Giants 17-0. And they need to win to stay alive in the wild card race as they are tied with the Ravens and Colts at 8-6 for that final wild card spot. The Redskins have been decimated by injuries and have played poorly down the stretch.
6) Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys lost last week to the Colts, which should have them refocused this week. They can clinch the NFC East with a win at home over the inconsistent Tampa Bay Bucs. The Bucs are 1-6 and giving up 37 points per game on the road this season. The Cowboys are 6-1 at home and giving up just 18.3 points per game. I’ll side with the home team here with the much better defense who will be the more motivated squad as well. The Cowboys are 7-point home favorites over the Bucs.