“Go with the team against Jacksonville,” is the phrase I hear more often than not from others who play survival football, but every team gets a bye, and this week just happens to be Jacksonville’s. Uh oh. What are all those crazy people going to do, having to pick a team other than the one that is about to beat up on those lowly Jaguars? Maybe they’ll read my blog to find an alternative, or they’ll just switch to whatever team happens to be playing Tampa Bay this week. Which would be Seattle, and if Seattle is still available in your survival league, you’re a better person than I am. Otherwise, you’ve got some tough decisions to make, and don’t overlook Houston.
Now, about last week. For the first time all year I picked a team from the Thursday game as my survival team, and Carolina came through for me, keeping my record perfect at 8-0. It also afforded me the chance to relax on Sunday (well, as relaxing as it could be considering I still had six fantasy football leagues all jockeying for position). But I picked Carolina because they fit my paradigm of the team with the greatest possibility of winning from the teams I had remaining to me. And here is how I’ve done so far…
Week One: Indianapolis – WON.
Week Two: New England – WON.
Week Three: Seattle – WON.
Week Four: Kansas City – WON.
Week Five: St. Louis – WON.
Week Six: Denver – WON.
Week Seven: Green Bay – WON.
Week Eight: Carolina – WON.
With several of the “obvious” teams on bye this week (Denver, Detroit), and even more that I would pick if I hadn’t already chosen them so far this year (Carolina, New England), you’d think it would be a stretch to come up with a pick this week, but it’s not. In fact, even if no one was on a bye, and even if I had Carolina and New England available to me, I would make the same pick I’m making, because the team with the biggest possibility of winning is Cincinnati. Now, after taking all year to choose a Thursday night team, I’m doing it back to back, but it’s just coincidence. As is the fact that the Bengals sport a black and orange uniform and they’ll be playing on Halloween.
Cincinnati is on fire, and the reason is Andy Dalton. He has supplemented his passing to include others in addition to A.J. Green, and it is paying dividends these last three weeks. Facing a Miami defense that has folded to the likes of Buffalo and New England the past two weeks, and having a revived running attack with Giovani Bernard, the Bengals are a force to be reckoned with this week and for the rest of the season. And remember, I don’t “save” teams for later, so I’m going with the Bengals this week.
Now if you’ve already picked the Bengals in your survival league, you wouldn’t go wrong picking Indianapolis @ Houston, Green Bay hosting Chicago, or New Orleans @ the Jets. Avoid Dallas like the plague, even though a ton of people will be picking them this week. Tony Romo has regressed in recent weeks, they’re coming off a humiliating loss, and they’re playing a Vikings team that just hung 31 points on Green Bay. Dallas doesn’t win the shootouts (think Denver, think Detroit), and I think Ponder might be back. Beware.