Survival Mode: Week 2

a5981c36a6e85658a32008b20c414e55Wow. That’s about all I can say when the Seattle Seahawks almost lost. At home. Against the Miami Dolphins. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as I checked the updates on my computer, with the Dolphins up 10-6 late in the 4th Quarter. The team with the biggest possibility was staring defeat in the eye… and then they remembered they’re the Seattle Seahawks, and they couldn’t lose. Not at home. Not to the Miami Dolphins.

Whew. And I’m perfect through one week. One game I don’t have to worry about this week — the Seahawks vs. Rams competition from Los Angeles, because I’m certainly not going to pick the Rams in Survival, and I can no longer pick the Seahawks this season. Last week was a good window into how difficult it truly is to remain perfect in Survival, so if you went with the Seahawks like me you were rewarded with a second shot this week.

The team with the second biggest possibility of victory — the Cardinals — were defeated and sent a lot of Survivalists tumbling off the cliff like so many lemmings. So where do we go from here if you’ve survived, or if you’re still in it even after picking a dud (in double elimination contests)? As with the first week, go with the team that has the highest probability of victory. I always start with the home teams, because home teams inherently have a higher probability of victory. Here are the possibilities this week:

Cleveland Browns (vs. Baltimore)
Detroit Lions (vs. Tennessee)

New England Patriots (vs. Miami)
NY Giants (vs. New Orleans)

Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cincinnati)
Washington Redskins (vs. Dallas)
Carolina Panthers (vs. San Francisco)

Houston Texans (vs. Kansas City)

Arizona Cardinals (vs. Tampa Bay)

Denver Broncos (vs. Indianapolis)
Oakland Raiders (vs. Atlanta)

San Diego Chargers (vs. Jacksonville)

Minnesota Vikings (vs. Green Bay)
Chicago Bears (vs. Philadelphia)

Then I eliminate teams that are playing divisional matchups (because divisional rivalries can often skew the results of games, regardless of records or who the “better team” is). Out of the remaining home teams, only the Broncos, the Cardinals, the Texans, and the Panthers went to the playoffs last year. This early in the season, I look at that continuity, so my pick will come from one of those teams.

I make it a rule never to pick a team with a losing record if I can help it, which eliminates both the Panthers and the Cardinals, leaving me with a rejuvenated Houston squad and the defending Super Bowl champions, who still sport the best defense in the league. They looked great against Cam Newton once again in the first game of the season, and I like their chances against Andrew Luck and his disintegrating offensive line in this one.

Pick: Denver Broncos.

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