There were a couple moderate upsets in Week 7 that probably affected most Survivor Pools.
Last week had a couple close calls, but it is very likely not many people were knocked out in original or second-chance Survivor Pools. The biggest of those was Philly coughing up a big fourth-quarter lead at home to lose to Carolina. The Super Bowl hangover is real, folks! Houston also upset Jacksonville in a game I suggested to stay away from. There were a couple other close calls, but most of the bigger favorites won.
This is a tricky week with the list of pickable teams dwindling, the byes, and also a lack of favorites on the odds board for Week 8. As I do every week, I will look at the favorites (mainly those laying 3.5 or more points) then I will give my three top picks at the end of the article.
Week 8 NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Opening Line Report
Houston -7.5 vs. Miami: I normally stay away from Thursday games since the short week of preparation can be a burden on the favorite. The home teams do normally play well in these early-week matchups, but still try and avoid them, at least early in the season. The Texans have won four straight, but QB Deshaun Watson is dealing with a partially collapsed lung and will be nowhere near 100 percent. This Miami team is dealing with a lot of drama right now. But I just don’t see how the oddsmakers make this more than a touchdown spread and am seriously considering betting the Dolphins. With Watson’s health in question and some inconsistent play this season, I think it’s best to stay away from Houston for Week 8 NFL Survivor Pool picks.
Philadelphia -3.5 at Jacksonville (London Game): I never use international games for my Survivor Pool picks. I don’t trust a favorite to perform at their best with all the travel and break from routine. With the way Philly choked on Sunday, I have very little faith in them now, and ditto can be said for the floundering Jags. I have no interest in this game from a betting perspective or a Survivor Pool one. Maybe I will flip a coin for my pick in pick’em pools, but I will probably just grab the hook on the Jags if it’s available in my pools.
Pittsburgh -8 vs. Cleveland: This spread is close to what the Texans are laying, but I like the Steelers a lot more than Houston this week. This is a divisional matchup, however, which is one strike against them. But Pittsburgh has been playing a lot better since these teams tied in Week 1. Cleveland came into the season with some momentum, but they have looked more like what we expect from this team the last few weeks. They have played in OT a lot this season, and that is a lot of extra football, which can wear a team down. I think the Steelers will play much better here than they did in the first matchup, and I think they are a viable Survivor Pool option for Week 8.
Kansas City -10 vs. Denver: Everyone is expecting the Chiefs to come back to earth lately, but every week they prove the doubters wrong. Even though they lost in New England, their game against Denver was probably the worst they played this season. They needed almost a miracle comeback to win that one. Denver gave them a lot of problems, but they were on the road for that matchup and this one is in Arrowhead, where the Chiefs have one of the best home-field advantages in all of football. I can see this game as a blowout or a close Chiefs win, but I don’t see them losing this game.
Chicago -7 vs. NY Jets: This one looks pretty decent to me, although it would not be my top choice by any means. I think the Bears will have a sense of desperation here after losing their last two games. But they didn’t embarrass themselves in either, and they had a chance to tie it up late Sunday vs. New England but fell just short. New York hasn’t played well on the road since the season opener, and QB Sam Darnold is still getting his feet wet as signal caller. I think this will be a low-scoring game, and it might be closer than the line would indicate, but I do see the Bears pulling this one out.
Cincinnati -4.5 vs. Tampa Bay: The Bengals were exposed on Sunday at the Chiefs. This team is good enough to fight for a playoff spot but not a real contender. They face a Tampa Bay team, however, that is decimated by injuries on the defensive side of the ball (they were not good fully healthy). Andy Dalton and Co. should have a field day and be able to put up a big number on offense. Not sure if their defense will be able to keep the Bucs off the scoreboard, however. This one is a pass for me. But if I had used the other teams I have ranked higher this week then I wouldn’t be too hesitant to take Cincy this week.
LA Rams -9.5 vs. Green Bay: I think the Packers will be ultra-motivated in this game. This team has been inconsistent, but Aaron Rodgers gives them a chance every week, against any team. Most everyone I know has taken the Rams already for their Survivor Pool. So, this game is not even a worry for most. I have no real reasoning behind it, but I think Green Bay has the chance to pull the upset this week. Los Angeles isn’t going to win every game, of course, and this could be one of the one or two losses on their schedule this season.
New England -14 at Buffalo: This is a matchup of possibly the worst team in the league against maybe the best. I normally stay away from road teams for Survivor Pools, but this will be my top pick this week. Like many others, I have stayed away from New England after their rough start. But they are playing as well as ever lately, and they know they need to rack up the wins with Kansas City ahead of them in the conference standings. I don’t think they want to go to Arrowhead for the conference championship game.
Week 8 NFL Survivor Pool Picks Top 3 Picks:
No. 1 New England
No. 2 Pittsburgh
No. 3 Kansas City