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 96-20 on my Tier 1 and Tier 2 survivor pool choices combined since the start of the 2016 season. But I only managed a 4-2 week last week and lost my top choice on the Patriots and my third choice on the Bengals. The Patriots were upset as 11-point favorites by the Dolphins, while the Bengals were upset as 6-point favorites by the Bears.
There are several good options to choose from in Week 15. We have three double-digit home favorites who should all win their games against overmatched opponents. All three home favorites are in the playoff hunt, while all three road teams are out of the playoffs.
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 Orleans Saints – The Saints are the top choice this week. They are the biggest favorites of Week 15 as they are laying 16 points at home to the New York Jets. The Saints are trying to fend off the Panthers and Falcons for first place in the NFC South. They will be motivated, and they’ll also be fresh and ready to go after playing the Falcons last Thursday. The Jets lost the player that has kept them competitive in QB Josh McCown. Now they will start Bryce Petty, who has already proven he’s not an NFL quarterback. The Jets managed just 100 total yards against the Broncos last week and will struggle to do much offensively against the Saints this week.
2) Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are 11-point home favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The Bengals packed it in last week in their 33-7 home loss to the Bears. Don’t expect much resistance from them here Sunday. The Vikings have a lot to play for and want to score a first-round bye, so they won’t be overlooking the Bengals here. Cincinnati has a laundry list of injuries on defense, which was a big reason why they gave up 482 total yards against a bad Bears offense last week. Minnesota wins this one comfortably.
3) Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars are the second-biggest favorites this week as they are -11.5 against the Houston Texans down in Jacksonville. The Texans will be starting third-string quarterback T.J. Yates in this one. They lost 16-26 at home to the 49ers last week, and I don’t expect them to be too competitive here. The Jaguars are still trying to fend off the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South, currently holding a one-game lead but losing the tiebreaker after falling to the Titans in their first meeting. They should be focused, and their defense should get after Yates for four quarters to get them the win.
4) Philadelphia Eagles – Nick Foles threw 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions a few years back for these same Eagles. He has even more talent around him now and should do fine filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. If the Giants were going to show something, it would have been last week against the Cowboys. But they lost that game 30-10 in their first game with an interim head coach. They are a mess in the injury department on both sides of the ball and stand no chance of beating the Eagles Sunday. The Eagles are 7.5-point road favorites in this matchup.
5) Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens are tied with the Bills for the final wild card spot in the AFC, but they are losing the tiebreaker currently, so they are on the outside looking in. That’s why they should come with a focused effort as 7-point road favorites over the 0-13 Cleveland Browns this week. The Ravens are 17-2 SU in their last 19 meetings with the Browns and should find a way to get a win here Sunday give what’s at stake.
6) Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons picked up a huge win over the Saints on Thursday night that puts them in a good position moving forward. Win out and the Falcons will be crowned NFC South champs. That’s why they will remain focused this week, and they will also be the fresher team after playing last Thursday. The Bucs have a ton of injuries and turmoil in their locker room now now in the midst of a 4-9 season. And keep in mind this is a tired team because they never had a bye week this season because their Week 1 game was cancelled. The Falcons have scored 43 and 34 points in winning each of their last two meetings with the Bucs. They should continue to roll as 6-point road favorites here against what is statistically the worst defense in the NFL in Tampa Bay.