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). This way, for those of you who can only pick a team once throughout the season, you will have several different teams to choose from.
I am now 59-9 on my Tier 1 and Tier 2 survivor pool choices combined since the start of the 2016 season. I went 6-0 last week with wins on the Raiders, Seahawks, Ravens, Bucs, Panthers and Cardinals. We had to sweat the Seahawks, Panthers and Cardinals, but the other three were blowout winners.
There is only one double-digit favorite in Week 3, and that’s the New England Patriots, who you’ll find in my Top 6 below. This is a much tougher week for survivor players I believe because there are 11 road favorites, and I prefer not taking road teams if I can avoid it.
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.
1) New England Patriots – The New England Patriots are favored by two touchdowns at home against the Texans this week. They are by far the biggest favorite this week and the easiest choice. But they do have some injury issues that are concerning. You have to think they’re going to want to make amends for their home loss to the Chiefs in Week 1. They played well despite the injuries last week at New Orleans. They should get a win here with relative ease.
2) Green Bay Packers – The Packers are 9-point home favorites over the Bengals this week. They have been an epic home team under Aaron Rodgers and should be able to bounce back after a bad loss to the Falcons last week. They have some injury concerns of their own, especially at the skill positions, but the Bengals have yet to score a touchdown through two games. They are an absolute mess right now. I would probably rather use Green Bay at home against Chicago next week, though.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers should make easy work of the Bears on the road this week. They’re 2-0 despite the fact that Le’Veon Bell has yet to get going. Their defense is one of the better units in the league, and the offense will get on track sooner rather than later. The Bears have been hit harder by injuries than anyone, especially at receiver. They are also missing key players in the trenches. They were crushed 29-7 by the Bucs last week. They haven’t been very good at home over the last few years, either. This is a mismatch and the line shows it as the Steelers are 7-point favorites.
4) Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles had their chances last week in Kansas City and easily could be 2-0 right now. This is one of the most improved teams in the NFL, and Carson Wentz is quickly becoming a star. Now the Eagles get to play at home for the first time at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles have a tremendous pass rush that has produced eight sacks already through two games. That’s bad news for a Giants offense that has been terrible through two games largely because they have the worst offensive line situation in the NFL with all of their injuries. The Eagles have the Giants’ number too, winning five of the last six meetings. They are 6-point home favorites this week.
5) Miami Dolphins – If you were ever going to use the Miami Dolphins, this would be the week. I’m not high on Miami this season, but it’s almost a given that the team playing the Jets is going to make my Top 6 every week. The Dolphins are 6-point road favorites here. The one concern is that Miami has been on the road for so long. They were in California for a week before the Chargers game last week. Now they have to fly home to Miami, then take another flight up to New York. That’s a lot of travel in a short amount of time, so preparation could be an issue. But they should be able to just show up and win this game Sunday as 6-point road favorites.
6) Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens seem to be flying under the radar. They only gave up 8 points per game in the preseason, and now they’ve allowed just 7 points per game in the regular season through two weeks. This is probably the best defense in the NFL. The offense has done enough as Joe Flacco has returned from injury and played well. They are only 3.5-point favorites against the Jaguars in London this week, and that number may be a little short. You’ll see the team playing the Jaguars on this list many weeks as well. I think the Ravens get the win at Wembley Stadium Sunday morning.