After a crazy week one in the world of NFL Survivor Pools that saw a number of people eliminated (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh) and a whole slew of others who were inches away (Indianapolis, New England, Houston) it is time to look at the best matchups for Week 2 and who you should take for your pool. There are a number of factors to consider when making your survivor picks including divisional matchups, line movements, travel, and weather, but ultimately any team can win on any given week and that’s why we watch the game. This list will account for all of the above considerations and follow up with a couple games to stay away from in our “Pool Breakers” section and a couple under the radar games to consider in a pinch in our "Pool Makers" section. Without further ado:
The Patriots survived a scare in Buffalo last week as they needed a last second field goal from Stephen Gostkowski just to get the victory, let alone trying to cover the spread. But this week is very different as they host the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football in Foxboro and after the outing they had in week one you can be sure Belichick, Brady, and especially Stevan Ridley will be looking to bounce back. The Jets squeaked out a win at home over the Bucs but I can’t see that happening in any circumstance in this one. This is about as close to a lock as possible, however you may have used them already in week one and the Thursday night option might be cut off from your pool. Don’t expect another Week 2 debacle a la Arizona last year. Pats cruise.
The Falcons had a tough outing on the road in New Orleans last week but nevertheless they had ample opportunity to leave the Big Easy with a win. Now they home to the Georgia Dome where Matty Ice and the gang seem unbeatable and newcomer Steven Jackson will be playing his former team who seemingly gave up on the veteran in the offseason. Jared Cook had a huge game for the Rams but the Falcons were successful in limiting Jimmy Graham’s production and if they can key in on Cook it’ll force the Rams to look to Tavon Austin and Chris Givens. I expect the Georgia Dome to be electric and I expect the line to shift in favour of the Falcons as the week progresses. Love the Falcons in this spot, but it is using one of the better teams in the NFC early in the year.
Philadelphia started the season off on the right foot by trouncing the Washington Redskins in a game that was much more of a blowout than the final score indicated. Chip Kelly’s offense was fast and furious as indicated by Lesean McCoy’s performance and Michael Vick was effective on the ground and through the air despite getting pressured by the Skins’ front seven. The Chargers meanwhile had the Texans on the ropes before in typical San Diego fashion they choked down the stretch and a field goal with time expiring sealed their fate. This is the Eagles’ home opener and while some aren’t buying into Philly this season I am not one of them as I think they can make some noise in the NFC East. Add in the fact that the Chargers are travelling west to east for a 1:00 Eastern Time game and I can see this getting ugly for the Bolts. Philip Rivers is careless with the football and with the success the Eagles had against RG3 and the Skins last week I think they replicate that effort in a blowout here. Philly might be a sneaky team to use in week two as they may not have many solid matchups later in the season.
The Packers and Redskins are coming off two very different outings in week one but ultimately both teams suffered a loss in their season debuts. However, Green Bay fell to the reigning NFC Champions at Candlestick Park while the Skins lost to the rebuilding Philadelphia Eagles at home on Monday Night Football. Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris were largely ineffective on the ground and if not for a couple garbage time touchdowns the score could have been much worse. The Pack had their chances to beat the Niners but when it comes to comparing them with their week two opponents I don’t think there is one. The Packers are heading back to Lambeau and while some see this as a potential upset game I don’t. Green Bay may be a better bet in later weeks for your survivor pool but to me they’re one of the more secure plays in an otherwise tough week two. The bottom line for me is picturing which of these teams will be 0-2 after this Sunday, and every time the answer lies with the Redskins.
The Ravens will look to bounce back after an abysmal defensive effort in their season opener as they catch the Browns at home in week two. Baltimore conceded seven touchdowns to Peyton Manning and the Broncos as they were thrashed on the road while the Browns were dominated by the Miami Dolphins at the Dog Pound. While divisional matchups aren’t always the best to key in on for survivor pools (hence the absence of the Texans in this list) I think this one is an exception as I look for the Ravens to bounce back in a huge way on both sides of the ball. The Browns secondary and defense as a whole is underrated but if the Dolphins can find success in Cleveland than the Ravens are primed to do the same in Baltimore. Trent Richardson was very quiet in week one and while he may be more effective in this one I look for Elvis Dumervil, and Terrell Suggs to make this one tough outing for the Browns. Brandon Weeden is not even on the same planet as Peyton Manning and the receiving corps of the Browns can’t hold a candle to the Broncos. Look for this one to get ugly early and is a great spot to take the Ravens in your pool.
These are the games I am staying away from as they’re enticing survivor plays but I think could be poised for an upset or are just a bad spot to use a team that could be used in better places later in the season:
A lot of people will be riding the Raiders as it is likely the only shot you’ll to take the Silver and Black this season and have a decent matchup at home against the lowly Jags. However, I have been burned too many times by the Raiders in games that they “should” win and with someone like Maurice Jones-Drew coming in it scares me off. Oakland could very well win by double digits and the sharps seem to like the Raiders but they’re too inconsistent to back for a survivor pick.
This is another contest that falls into the divisional matchup and the best player in the game being on the underdog. There is no question that Adrian Peterson is the focal point of opposing team’s defensive schemes and while Christian Ponder struggles to throw to players on his team week in and week out he has shown some life in big games and this could be one of them. The fact is in Chicago is enticing to a lot of people but I think the Bears can be used in a better position than this once we see growing chemistry with Cutler and his receivers. Staying away from this one.
The Texans are coming off a dramatic come from behind win over the Chargers on Monday night and while they showed their resiliency and competitive nature as one of the Super Bowl favourites you can’t just look past the fact that they were down by double digits for a lot of this game. The Titans shocked the world last week by keeping the Steelers offense in check and doing enough on offense to get the win and yet somehow they’re on the road as near double digit underdogs? While I think the Texans are more than capable of coming out and thrashing the Titans into an oblivion I think it could be closer than people think and is a spot where I’d like to save the Texans when they’re not coming off a short week against a divisional opponent.
These are games not a lot of people will have circled as their survivor pick this week but if you’re looking to take a team in a great spot that you may not be able to use again this season this is it.
The Panthers were a play or two away from upsetting the Super Bowl contending Seattle Seahawks last week but the Seahawks stingy defense proved to the difference. The Bills also had a chance to spoil the party for pool goers as they were a blocked field goal or a swatted pass away from upending the Patriots but both teams enter at 0-1. However, the Panthers have a huge matchup advantage here as they have a mobile quarterback that is dangerous with his arm and is looking to make amends for a lackluster opening week. EJ Manuel looked good at times but the Bills defense was shredded apart by Tom Brady and Co and that was with Ralph Wilson Stadium at full volume. I don’t expect the noise level to be as loud with the Panthers in town and that defense should have a field day with the Bills offense. Sneaky play on Carolina and if you’re in a pinch this is one game I love.
Yes the Chiefs went into Jacksonville and dominated the Jaguars, and yes Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play and the Chiefs are much improved but how is it possible the Cowboys are underdogs in this game? Jamaal Charles is an explosive runner but Dwayne Bowe was held in check by the Jags secondary what is he going to do against the Cowboys? Dallas has a great passing attack, a decent running game, and a defense that can change the course of a game so I don’t see how they’re underdogs here. Might not be the best spot to take Dallas as you can get them as a favourite in a more comfortable spot but if you’re looking to save the big dogs of New England, Denver, San Fran, and Seattle than the Cowboys are worth a look here.
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