We all know the rules of a Survivor Pool. Make a correct pick and survive until the next week. An incorrect pick eliminates you from the pool for the remainder of the season. One of the trickiest weeks in a NFL Survivor Pool is Week 1. It’s truly a shame to join a Survivor Pool with all the excitement of the new NFL Season and get knocked out in Week 1.
Let’s take a quick look back to Week 1 of the 2014 season when the home team lost six times. If you read our articles here at SurvivorPoolPicks.com you will learn that we encourage you to select a home team whenever possible. This formula is not foolproof, and it’s important to note why. The Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, who were both notable playoff teams, lost at home, while teams with high expectations in 2014 and notorious home-field advantage like the St Louis Rams, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs, also lost at home.
The remaining team who lost at home was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is very important to pay attention to as the Bucs were a team entering the 2014 Season with a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and a new quarterback. As fans it’s very exciting to have a new coach and sign star players. However, even though players in the NFL are professionals it takes time for teams to gel and learn new systems. This combination can lead to a lot of uncertainty on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
So let’s look at some situations where a new coach could create havoc for your early-season Survivor Pool picks.
We can start in the AFC East, where the Buffalo Bills made headlines with the announcement of new head coach Rex Ryan, the trade for LeSean McCoy and the signing of Percy Harvin. The Bills have yet to name a starting QB.
The New York Jets tried their best to keep up with Buffalo by hiring a new coaching staff, led by head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. The Jets also made a splash by trading for journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, star WR Brandon Marshall and 2013 rookie sensation RB Zac Stacy. The Jets also have not named a starting QB.
Other teams with new coaches include the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, while the Cleveland Browns, St Louis Rams, and Philadelphia Eagles will have different starting QBs to start the Season in 2015. The Tennessee Titans drafted Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft, and he could be the Week 1 starter, while the recent suspension of Tom Brady in New England puts the starting QB for that team into question to start the season.
Of all the teams mentioned, the Patriots, Bills, Texans, Jets, Rams, Broncos, and 49ers all play at home and represent a risky play in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL Season.
The other five teams that lost at home had issues that could be traced back to the preseason. The Ravens were surrounded by the Ray Rice off-field domestic abuse allegations and had not yet learned the fate of their star player.
The remaining four teams losing at home would not have been a surprise if you watched and paid attention to the preseason games. During the preseason it’s not important if the team wins but rather it’s crucial to determine how that team is playing, especially when their starting unit is on the field.
The Cowboys had not yet established themselves as a run-dominant team and had huge question marks on the defensive side of the football. The Bears preseason was filled with Jay Cutler interceptions and poor defensive play, which carried over to the regular season and eventually led to big changes in Chicago. The Rams and Chiefs both showed offensive inconsistencies in the preseason that showed up in Week 1.
In the preseason teams will normally play a base defense or try different blitz packages. You will be able to see how strong a team’s defensive line and secondary are playing. On the offensive side, Week 2 and Week 3 of the NFL Preseason in when teams like to play the projected starters longer periods of time and are great games to watch to see if a team is in synch offensively. Pay close attention to Week 4 of the preseason as some coaches will play their starters. This is a great indicator of a team that’s not ready for Week 1.
If you don’t have time to watch the preseason games, make sure you come back here to SurvivorPoolPicks.com, and we will be sure to tell you what teams are ready for the start of the 2015 NFL season.