For those of us that survived Black Sunday, it’s time to look at the opening lines for Week 3 in an attempt to find the best NFL Survivor Pool picks to help us advance to Week 4. Not every game has a line. There are some injury situations that have caused line release delays, and we still have Jets at Colts tonight on Monday Night Football pending.
One thing that sticks out to me for Week 3 is that there is one massive favorite (New England -13.5 vs. Jacksonville) and then the next largest line is less than a touchdown. So it looks to be a pretty tough week overall (the Bears/Seahawks line has not been released yet, but that will likely also be a double-digit spread). But those of us that survived the bloodbath on Sunday seem to know what we are doing, so we should be able to come up with a good pick if we have already used the Patriots (which is the case for me, unfortunately).
Let’s look at the biggest favorites on the board this week with some analysis and NFL Survivor Pool picks for Week 3:
New England -13.5 vs. Jacksonville: if you still have New England at your disposal, take them and then kick back, crack a beer and relax! Ten-point-or-more NFL favorites lost only twice last season. We had one go down in Week 2 (New Orleans loss to Tampa Bay), so it’s extremely unlikely that we will see two fall in successive weeks. I was really high on Buffalo going into their game against the Patriots on Sunday, but New England looked like they were in playoff form already. The Jags had a nice upset win on Sunday, but this team is totally outclassed here. I would never bet on a large favorite such as this, but all signs point to a blowout victory by the home team here. This is an extremely great option for Week 3 pools.
Houston -6.5 vs. Tampa Bay: An 0-2 team as such a big favorite over a team that just beat the friggin’ Saints on the road? It’s rare that you would see a line like this for a winless team, but the Texans have had a tough schedule to open the season (vs. Kansas City and at Carolina), and this is a better team than that record would indicate. Kudos to Tampa Bay for that win on Sunday. They played their hearts out. However, this is not a good team. I think they beat an overhyped team on Sunday in the bayou, and it’s going to be tough to go on the road here and play a desperate Texans team after coming down off that emotional high from the New Orleans game. Houston looks like a very good pick this week for those that have already used New England.
Green Bay -6.5 vs. Kansas City (Monday Night Football): I believe the Chiefs are a very good football team. I just don’t know what their mindset will be here. They choked their game against Denver away on Thursday. Will they use that loss as motivation and play like a desperate team here or will they still be focused on what could have been? Also Kansas City has essentially a free bye week here as they get a lot of extra time off from the Thursday night game to the Monday night game. Not real confident in the Packers in this spot. I will be tracking the Chiefs this week in practice to try and get an idea of what their mindset is like right now. If they seem to still be hung up on the Denver loss then the Pack could be a good pick here.
Arizona Cardinals -6 vs. San Francisco: The Cardinals have looked great to start the season, and they scored 48 in the Windy City in a rout of Chicago on Sunday. I just don’t love them in this spot, however. This is a division rivalry. These teams split the series last year (although the home team won in both instances). The Niners have owned this series in recent years and have won eight of the last 10 matchups. This is one of the weakest versions of this San Francisco team, but you have the feeling they will give full effort here in the first division game of the season. I am going to have to research this game more before I make my final verdict, but it’s very likely I won’t use Arizona in Week 3.
New York Giants -4 vs. Washington (Thursday Night Football): I like the Giants here and think they win this game. I already bet on them at this opening line. However, I don’t think this is a great Survivor Pool pick for Week 3. This is a division game and rivalry. This is a Thursday game, and with lack of practice time comes unpredictability. Also the Giants are not a very good football team. This is a game you look at in Week 13 when you have used all the good teams. Week 3 is way too early to be thinking of using the Giants in this spot. But I wouldn’t call you crazy if you were to use them this week as their outlook for a win is fairly good.
Seattle vs. Chicago: There is no line here pending the status of Bears QB Jay Cutler and WR Alshon Jeffery. But I wanted to mention this game because this one has a very good chance to have a double-digit spread once the line is released. Seattle has not looked very good to start the season. However, they have had a couple really tough games that have led to this 0-2 record. They played a Rams team that always gets up to play them and then followed that up with a game against arguably the best team in the NFC (Packers). The Hawks will be absolutely desperate here. A 0-3 record is hard to recover from. They should have no problem beating a pretty bad Bears team to get their first win of the season.
Indianapolis at Tennessee: This is another line that’s off the board as of Monday. The Colts have their Week 2 home opener pending against the Jets tonight on Monday Night Football. Tennessee definitely came back down to Earth in Week 2 after their huge Week 1 win at Tampa Bay. They were blown out at a bad Cleveland team on Sunday. The Colts were my top pick for Week 2 Survivor Pools. If they look good tonight and there are no major injuries then they could very well be favored by more than a touchdown here. However, there are some more decent options on the board for Week 3 than to take the Colts on the road in this spot.
Check back throughout the week for more NFL Survivor Pool Week 3 picks and analysis.