There were a few upsets last week that affected Survivor Pool players. The Redskins upset the New York Giants in our nation’s capital in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate. The Jaguars were a popular NFL Survivor Pool pick, but they were edged at home by San Diego. And the Ravens beat the Browns on Monday Night Football on a fluke play at the end of the game. Our top two picks were Kansas City and Houston, and both those teams won without any issues.
Most pools are probably completed by now, but we will continue to provide predictions and analysis throughout the end of the NFL regular season. In this space I will try and look at off-the-radar teams for my picks since most readers have already used the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and the other strong, winning NFL teams out there.
NFL Survivor Pool Picks Week 13
Top Play: Minnesota over Seattle
This is the smallest spread of this week’s games I will feature in this article at “pick’em” at most sportsbooks (“pick’em” means there is no line on the game and if you bet on either team you just need that team to win). Minnesota has been a surprise team this season and they have played a lot of good teams, so there is a chance they might still be available to some Survivor Pool players. Even though this game is “pick’em”, the Vikings have been one of the best plays against the spread this season at 9-2 ATS. They are very underrated by the oddsmakers, so this spread is probably slanted towards the Seahawks to begin with. I certainly thought this spread should be larger. Seattle has been way down this season compared to what we are used to, and now they have lost Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham for the season. The defense isn’t playing as well as they have the last couple years, and Russell Wilson probably isn’t as good of a quarterback as people have pumped him up to be. Minnesota just seems hungry. Seattle seems to have lost that spark. The Vikings need to keep winning if they want to claim the division crown, and they are the clear better team in this matchup.
Pick No. 2: Chicago over San Francisco
We pegged the 49ers as a team to fade in NFL Survivor Pools before the season even started. We didn’t know how great of a fade they would turn out to be. They are 3-8 and might not win another game all season. We pegged them as a 4-12 team, and they might be worse than that. Chicago is a team on the upswing. Jay Cutler has been playing well above expectations at QB, and the team seems to come to play every week. But who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the Niners would be a huge seven-point underdog here? The Bears were supposed to be as bad or worse than San Francisco. But Chicago could and should get to .500 with a win here, and that is what we expect them to do. I would not bet on them laying this many points as the Niners have found a way to keep some games close recently, but with so few options left in Survivor Pools this is as good of a choice as any mainly as a fade of San Francisco and not giving too much credit to Chicago, although I do like the direction this team is moving in. Might we see Chicago and Minnesota battling it out for the NFC North in the next few years? That would be interesting, but I am sure Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay will have something to say about that.
Pick No. 3: Tampa Bay over Atlanta
We are really getting down to the bottom of the barrel for available picks if we are recommending Tampa Bay here in Week 13 as just a two-point favorite at home vs. Atlanta. These are two teams heading in opposite directions, however. The Falcons have lost four straight and five of six. Their only win during that span was 10-7 over a terrible Tennessee team. One of those losses was to this same Tampa Bay team in Atlanta. Tampa Bay has won three of their last five games. Heading into the season I thought this team would be decent. They had a good defense and strong running game with Doug Martin in place. In our eyes it all depended on the progress of Jameis Winston at QB, and he has definitely surpassed expectations thus far. Sometimes the NFL is all about confidence, and the Bucs are playing with lots of it right now while the Falcons aren’t. QB Matt Ryan seems to be regressing week to week even though he has one of the best WRs in the league to throw to in Julio Jones. This would not be my top pick this week, but if the Vikings and Bears aren’t available I would say go with the Bucs here.
Pick No. 4: Washington over Dallas
The Redskins beat Dallas last season in Big D for one of the largest upsets of the season. That one knocked quite a few players out of their Survivor Pools. I wasn’t one of them, however, as I normally try to stay away from picking Dallas at home as they often falter as a betting favorite. But now the roles are reversed in this one as the Skins are a 4.5-point favorite in this Monday Night Football matchup. Of course, Dallas has won only one of their last nine games. They lost Tony Romo again for the season and this team has lost all hope. It just goes to show how important a good QB is in this league as Dallas had every chance to succeed with Romo leading the charge and no hope without him. Washington is now leading the division thanks to winning three of their last five, all at home. We expect them to take care of business this week but would only recommend this team if you have used all the others that came before this one in my article. Sometimes in this rivalry, as last year’s big upset proved, the unexpected can happen.