NFL Survivor Pool: Week 3 Tips, Strategy, Predictions

Doc MosemanCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2011

FOXBORO, MA -  SEPTEMBER 18:   Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The first week of the season was a tough one for people in survivor pools, but the second week was far more straight forward and easier to survive. Hopefully you are still going strong and ready to make more successful NFL survivor pool picks this week. Here’s a look at the highs and lows of the card this week from a survivor pool perspective, along with some advice and strategy for Week 3.


The heavy favorites

There are three teams favored by at least nine points this week: New England over Buffalo, San Diego over Kansas City and Pittsburgh over Indianapolis. The group of heavy favorites is far more attractive this week than it has been the first two weeks.

Two of these games could very confidently be picked. The Steelers played extremely well in their second game after an ugly opener, and they seem to be in form. They travel to play an Indianapolis team that has huge issues on both sides of the ball. How bad are the Colts? They just made Cleveland look good. Pittsburgh is going to be able to expose the Colts’ woes on both offense and defense, and it is going to win easily. The Steelers would be a safe pick here.

So would San Diego. The Chargers got exposed by the Patriots last week, but they are back at home now and are playing the worst team in the NFL—by far—through two weeks in the Chiefs. Kansas City is incredibly bad right now, and it comes into this one without its star running back or its quarterback’s favorite target. This team may be able to stop the bleeding eventually, but not this week.

The team I would be far less eager to use this week is New England. The Patriots have been the best team in the league so far—at least offensively—but they are on the road at a very feisty Buffalo team that is bursting with confidence. New England will likely win, but that outcome is far less certain than the other two games, and the Pats would be better to save for later weeks.


Games of interest

Beyond those three heavy favorites here are some interesting games to look at—or avoid:


Denver at Tennessee

You could make a strong argument for the Titans in this spot. The Broncos have not been particularly strong in either of their games, and they have obvious problems in several positions.

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has settled in reasonably well for the Titans, and the team clearly has confidence in him. Tennessee is at home and the home crowd will be excited after last week.

There are definitely safer picks, but if you are in the mood to gamble to save safer teams for later, this is a game to look at.


Detroit at Minnesota

The Lions have long been a team of interest to survivor pool players, but mostly as one that is great to pick against. This year, though, they are playing as well as any team on both sides of the ball so far. I expect their balloon to burst at some point, but not yet.

Minnesota has all sorts of issues, and Donovan McNabb is clearly not the answer he was hoped to be for the Vikings. Detroit would be a pick I would be happy with.


New York Giants at Philadelphia

The temptation here will be to pick the Giants if Michael Vick isn’t cleared to play. I think that would be a mistake.

Eli Manning has been far from good thus far, and he is up against a strong defense here. Mike Kafka is no Vick, but he looked confident in his relief appearance and looked more than capable of managing a game.

In short, the Eagles can realistically have a good shot of winning this game no matter who is starting for them. I’d skip this one.


Baltimore at St. Louis

I had such high hopes for the Rams coming into the season, but a combination of youth, injuries and bad luck has put them in a deep hole already. It should get even deeper here.

Baltimore had a lousy game last week, but that should be a wake-up call, and I expect them to be much better this week. I would trust the Ravens here. Of course, I trusted them last week as well and that sure didn’t work out.


Arizona at Seattle

The Cards would be another team to take a reasonable gamble on here potentially.

The Seahawks have looked really lousy, and despite their strength at home they have a whole lot of issues.

The Cards are positioned to take advantage of some of those issues, and their offense has been solid. It’s definitely a gamble, but it could pay off for you.


Our official NFL Survivor Pool picks article will be available on Doc’s Sports homepage on Thursday this week.