Resources: Yahoo survival pool pick distribution • SurvivorGrid.com
Week 7’s biggest killer: Chicago over Carolina (5.58 percent)
Week 7’s biggest success: Tennessee over Cleveland (40.31 percent)
My picks so far: Buffalo – Oakland – New England — Seattle — Philadelphia — Atlanta (x) — Minnesota
It seems like we’re entering the point of the survival football season where our past is finally catching up with us. That perfect pick for Week 8? Yeah, it isn’t available to you because you used them a few weeks ago.
Take Philadelphia, for example. The Eagles have what looks like one of the easiest layups of the year with the 0-7 San Francisco 49ers coming east for the third time in four weeks. This time with rookie C.J. Beathard running whatever the Niners are trying to call a show. Numberfire lists the 6-1 Eagles as 88 percent favorites to walk away with a win. Easy call, right?
Well, it is. Unless you were among the 31 percent who took the Eagles over the Cardinals in Week 5.
Same goes for the Minnesota Vikings. This Sunday, they’ll travel to London to face the 0-7 Cleveland Browns. Usually I tell people to stay away from the overseas trips, but how can you not pick the Vikings here? Joe Thomas is done for the year, a concussion is keeping Myles Garrett on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean and the Browns are busy playing musical quarterbacks with three guys incapable of carrying a tune, er, team. Pick purple and move on, yes?
Well, not if you were among the 5.5 percent who picked the Vikings over the Ravens last week or the 7.5 percent who picked them over the Bears two weeks before that.
Regrets? You’ve probably got a few. But you can’t dwell over them.
Picking the Eagles or Vikings in Week 5 might’ve saved you from losing with the Steelers that weekend.
And while using the Vikings in Week 7 might’ve been a tad presumptuous, you wouldn’t be feeling that way had those literally-good-for-nothing Browns been able to dispatch 40 percent of the pool by scratching out a few more points to upset the Titans.
But as I’ve said before, this is survival football, where the only pick that ever matters is the one in front of you. If you still have Philadelphia and Minnesota available, you have a decision to make. (I think it’s Minnesota because I’d rather keep the Eagles in my pocket with a few attractive games coming up, starting with Denver in Philly next weekend.)
If you’ve already used them up (I’ve used them both as my picks here), you have to go downstream a bit. Luckily, there are a few good options.
That’s why I think my play is the New Orleans Saints over the Chicago Bears.
The Saints are nine-point favorites at home and are coming off a win at Lambeau over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. Drew Brees has obviously been great in the Superdome and it’s hard to imagine the Bears offense will be able to keep pace with both their lack of receiving talent and the way the coaching staff has restricted Mitchell Trubisky in his first few games. (Forget the training wheels comparison, Mitch has been wearing a navy-colored strait jacket these first few weeks.)
The Bengals also host the Colts at home this week and are an attractive pick. But all things equal, I think we should be at the point where we’re trying to preserve as many Browns opponents as possible, particularly with the two-pick weeks on the horizon. (Cleveland visits Cincinnati in Week 12, two weeks before two picks are required in our $100K contest.)
Other thoughts: It’s probably still a week or two early to come up with a script that takes you to the end of the year, but you should be starting to look ahead and see what routes are available. With the Niners and Browns both in tanking mode for that No. 1 pick, you might want to start seeing how you best fortify your route with their opponents (Browns’ bye comes in Week 9, Niners get a blessed day off in Week 12) … Remember when we thought we were going to ride happy against the Jets and maybe even the Rams all year? Stay flexible, friends … Jay Hart is still our only undefeated expert on the panel below, even though he had to sweat out last week’s Titans-Browns game. As someone who hasn’t picked against the Browns yet, I knew he had little to worry about. It’s been really annoying to see the Browns tease a few major pool disruptions even though we all know they have no shot at pulling off the upset … Frank Schwab is on the hook for this week’s Funishment. He pledges to watch four straight hours of The Big Bang Theory should the Eagles be grounded.
(Ambert Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports graphic)ys