Since we’re just having fun with this whole NFL Survivor Pool Strategy thing, from now on, we’ll give you a new song each week that has something to do with surviving (or staying alive), that you can play as you read through each post.
We’ll start with this classic.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on. First off, much appreciation for all the emails thanking us for our help with your NFL Survivor Pools, but we feel like we should address something.
It’s mostly luck.
Sure, planning ahead and gaining strategy can help. Definitely. But when we wrote our first post on this subject a couple months ago, we gave the week-by-week percentage of staying alive even by taking heavy favorites each week. The odds of still being in it after Week 5 were only 32 percent, so consider yourselves lucky.
Chances are, 80 to 90 percent of your competitors are gone, but does that make you (or us) smarter than them? Probably not.
But anyway, we’re happy to help in any way we can, and we’re glad that you’re grateful.
USING POINT SPREAD PROJECTIONS TO HELP WITH SURVIVOR POOLS
All we’re doing is using Cantor Gaming’s point spreads for every regular-season game, tweaking them based on year-to-date performance after every week to come up with new projected point spreads, and then attempting to have at least a touchdown favorite each week while choosing the most optimal route through the season.
Week 1 pick: Lions over Rams (win, but barely)
Week 2 pick: Bengals over Browns (win)
Week 3 pick: Bears over Rams (win)
Week 4 pick: Ravens over Browns (win)
Week 5 pick: Giants over Browns (win)
So we should send care packages to St. Louis and Cleveland for helping us through the first five weeks.
In Week 6, it’s very slim pickings.
The undefeated Atlanta Falcons are the only team currently favored by more than a touchdown (-9 at home against Oakland), and will therefore be our selection.
But we’re far from overconfident about it.
At 5-0, the Falcons have opened up a mammoth-sized lead in the NFC South, and it’ll get more and more difficult every week for them to stay focused.
Furthermore, Oakland has a propensity for pulling off random upsets on the road. Since 2008, the Raiders have won outright seven times when catching a touchdown or more away from home.
So it’s not exactly an ideal play, but we’ll stick with it anyway in a very difficult week for survivor pools.
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Below, you’ll find the updated week-by-week list of every team projected to be favored by at least a touchdown (or, later in the season, 6 points). As with any Survivor Pool Strategy Guide, the same disclaimer still applies.
Disclaimer: Survivor pools are wildly random, and upsets happen all the time in the NFL. That’s what makes them so fun. The following is merely an attempt to most optimally plan for survivor pools, NOT a foolproof strategy by any means.
A few notes:
- The bolded games are the selections for each particular week.
- Games in red represent a change from the most recent edition of this strategy guide.
- In weeks where more than one game is bolded, both teams are an option, but the one with the asterisk is the most optimal.
- Notice that we saved some of the worst teams on the list (Seahawks, Chargers, Steelers, etc.) for the final few weeks. If you’re still alive by then, you won’t have the greatest teams to choose from, but at least those teams are projected to be significant favorites.
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Already used: Lions, Bengals, Bears, Ravens, Giants
WEEK 6 (1)
Falcons -9 vs. Raiders
WEEK 7 (2)
49ers -8 vs. Seahawks
Patriots -13 vs. Jets
WEEK 8 (3)
Packers -13.5 vs. Jaguars
Patriots -10 vs. Rams (in London)
Steelers -7 vs. Redskins
WEEK 9 (4)
Ravens -7 at Browns
Packers -8 vs. Cardinals
Texans -11 vs. Bills
Chargers -7 vs. Chiefs
WEEK 10 (4)
Patriots -11 vs. Bills
Steelers -8.5 vs. Chiefs
Ravens -10 vs. Raiders
49ers -10.5 vs. Rams
WEEK 11 (4)
Cowboys -8 vs. Browns
Patriots -10 vs. Colts
Texans -14 vs. Jaguars
Falcons -9 vs. Cardinals
WEEK 12 (4)
Eagles -7 vs. Panthers
Steelers -6.5 at Browns
Patriots -7 vs. Jets
WEEK 13 (6)
Broncos -7 vs. Buccaneers
Falcons -7 vs. Saints
Packers -7.5 vs. Vikings
49ers -7 at Rams
Patriots -7 at Dolphins
Texans -9 at Titans
WEEK 14 (3)
49ers -9 vs. Dolphins
Packers -7.5 vs. Lions
Seahawks -5.5 vs. Cardinals
WEEK 15 (4)
Saints -7 vs. Buccaneers
Texans -11.5 vs. Colts
Chargers -6 vs. Panthers*
WEEK 16 (6)
Packers -13.5 vs. Titans
Steelers -6 vs. Bengals
Patriots -8 at Jaguars
Texans -10 vs. Vikings
Broncos -8 vs. Browns
Eagles -7 vs. Redskins
WEEK 17 (WHO CARES)
If you’re still alive by this week, and you haven’t won your Survivor Pool, well, let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.