Survival Mode: Week 4

11933449_gThree weeks in, and still perfect in Survival, which as you know is not the easiest competition in the world, especially in today’s NFL. The Seahawks, the Broncos, and the Chiefs have kept me in good stead, but even my second selections each week have won so far. Of course things get tougher from here.

Now I no longer have the services of the aforementioned teams, but I’m sticking to my basic rules when it comes to Survival:

  • Pick the team that has the biggest possibility of victory.
  • Avoid the timeless tactic of “saving teams” (not picking a team because you want to choose them later in the season). You might not get to that point if you try and save them now.
  • Do your best to pick home teams.
  • Beware “trap games” (when a matchup looks too good to be true. It often is).
  • Never wait until the last minute to make your selection.

I know, this kind of qualifies as last minute to some, but making that decision a full day ahead is what I mean. When you are still waffling and it’s 12:55 on Sunday afternoon, that’s when you have a problem, and when you’re most vulnerable to letting something other than a solid plan determine your decision. Also, this week we have a London game, so even though the Jaguars are “at home,” it’s not a true home game. Luckily it’s also a divisional game so we can avoid it anyway.

With those rules in mind, here are my options this week…

ATLANTA (vs. Carolina)
CHICAGO (vs. Detroit)
NEW ENGLAND (vs. Buffalo)
NY JETS (vs. Seattle)
WASHINGTON (vs. Cleveland)
BALTIMORE (vs. Oakland)
HOUSTON (vs. Tennessee)
TAMPA BAY (vs. Denver)
ARIZONA (vs. LA Rams)
SAN DIEGO (vs. New Orleans)
SAN FRANCISCO (vs. Dallas)
PITTSBURGH (vs. Kansas City)
MINNESOTA (vs. NY Giants)

Eliminating divisional games cuts that list down a bit, because divisional games are always more of a tossup. The teams know each other too well, and nothing would surprise me, in any of these divisional games. None of my three winners are at home this week, so I don’t have to eliminate them from the equation. Next, I take out teams with losing records. I can’t trust a team that has lost more than it has won, regardless of what team it is.

That leaves me with three teams that have the best chance at winning this week, according to my metrics: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota. Both the Ravens and the Vikings are undefeated on the season, while the Steelers have the one loss (albeit a huge one to the Eagles last week). The Ravens (a surprise undefeated team) plays an underachieving (so far) Raiders team that could explode at any moment. The Steelers face a Chiefs team that just forced Ryan Fitzpatrick into throwing 6 interceptions, and the Vikings take on a 2-1 Giants team on Monday night.

Who do I trust more from these three? Actually, I trust all three to take care of business, but the Vikings defense has been absolutely dominant through the first three games, and I don’t see that changing against a turnover prone Eli Manning.

Pick: MINNESOTA.

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