Chicagoland native recently relocated to San Diego, California. Been out here since February 2015 and have come to the conclusion that the west coast time zone is amazing for sports fans! No game is too late. I envision the perfect football season ahead: waking up by 10am, start sippin on bloodies on the couch, planted drinking IPA's by the Sunday night game and passed out by 9:30 with plenty of rest for Monday!
Atlanta is a city full of losers who will never win at anything. Seriously, is there another city so synonymous with choking? Ya got the Braves of the 90's that couldn't win shit with arguably the 3 best pitchers of their era, the Hawks who once signed Joe Johnson to a max contract, and the biggest joke of them all, the Falcons who just blew a 17-point halftime lead to a Jay Cutler led Dolphins team at home. Last week's Las Vegas sports book's wet dream ended many survivor pools nationwide and widdled mine down to the final 62.
This week's column is gonna be short and sweet since I have lost my lust for life after the Falcon implosion. Very tough slate of games on the week 7 schedule, with not a single team favored by 7 or more. The safest pick in my opinion is the Dallas Cowboys traveling to a winless 49ers team who will be given 3rd round pick QB C.J. Beathard his first career NFL start. The Boys need a win bad to keep pace with the surging Eagles. I expect them to beat the 9er's like an Ezekiel Elliot ex-girlfriend.
And the winner for the 2017 NFL Survivor killer goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last week they laid an egg at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, driven by a 5 interception day from Ben Roethlisberger. In doing so they claimed another 127 victims in my pool and got the remaining entrants down to 157 from the original 1008 at the beginning of the season. When you pair this game with their week 3 loss to the Bears, I think it's safe to say nobody will be a bigger disappointment this season. I had high points on them in my confidence pools but fortunately for myself I went with the Eagles last week who crushed the Cardinals 34-7.
This week sees 3 teams favored by over 10 points and another 3 favored by over a touchdown. So basically, take a dart and throw it at the schedule and you should make it through this week safely. For me I was split between the 3 favored by 10, the Broncos, Texans, and Falcons. The Broncos coming out of the bye week with the best secondary in the league playing against the Giants who last week lost their top 3 receivers to injury and have no ability to run the ball, are the lock of the century. Go ahead and pick that if you want to feel warm and fuzzy. I however started looking further down the schedule and see other opportunities for a Broncos selection in later weeks. The same is true for the Texans, plus there is the added wild card of a winless Browns team fielding a new starting QB in this game. Who knew a failing Notre Dame QB would continue to fail on last year’s worst NFL team.
This brings me to my survivor selection, the Atlanta Falcons. So far this year the Falcons look poised to return to the Super Bowl and avenge last year’s second half blunder. When I look at the Falcons schedule this game is by far their easiest match-up and their remaining schedule sees all their tougher match-ups at home and quote un-quote easy games on the road. Coming out of their own bye week, I see them making easy work of the offensively inept Dolphins at home. Basically, score 20 points and the Dolphins will have no shot.
Last week was a tale of two halves. The first saw me with my head in my hands cursing my reluctance to select the Packers in their beat down of the Bears, while watching the Seahawks trail the Colts 15-10 at the half. Then alas the third quarter started and the Hawks began laying a beat down of their own en route to a 46-18 victory. Others were not so lucky, with 196 more people being eliminated in week 4. The 3 biggest disappointments came at the hands of Atlanta, Dallas, and New England.
Week 5 might be the hardest week to pick all season. All the bad teams play each other (Jets/Browns), and all the best teams have tough match-ups, are on bye, or on the road. The weeks biggest favorite is the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Steelers are the team I feel most confident in this week, and they actually haven't been that impressive this season yet. Unfortunately for me, I already used the Steelers up in a week 1 victory.
So, I have to go with my second choice, the Philadelphia Eagles at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles have looked impressive all season long and have their only loss coming at the hands of the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in week 2 (27-20). The Cardinals, on the other hand, look to be a team one season prior to a rebuild. While this game will feature Arizona's biggest strength (their passing game) going against the Eagles biggest weakness (their secondary), I still see the Eagles pulling this one off to add to their nice lead in the NFC East. Is there such a thing as making them beat us on the ground? Because at just 2.65 YPR the Cardinals will need 5 downs to get a 1st.
As predicted, last week was a doozy for confidence pool picks. Point totals usually reserved for bye week wins were taking down pools everywhere. There were multiple touchdown favorites outright losing and others narrowly escaping with victories. I'm looking at you New England. Too much Stress! Sadly the Pittsburgh Steelers let me and their country down with their on-field display against the Chicago Bears, leaving me with only one remaining entry to the survivor pool. Fortunately 91 other members picked the Steelers and a total of 218 entries were eliminated by the time the games were over. The Dolphins flop against the New York Jets was the next biggest killer, claiming 71 entries.
That brings me to the Green Bay Packers. They trailed the Bengals 21-7 at halftime and required extra time to come back and win by a field goal 27-24 as 227 survivor entrants collectively let out their breaths. Initially the Packers are who I was looking at picking this week as they host the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football as a touchdown favorite. But I actually think the Bears might be a better team than the Bengals. And who am I kidding, I will be watching this game at a Chicago sports bar in San Diego with my fellow ex-Illini. I can't be in there cheering the Packers like some turncoat.
That brings me to this week’s pick, the Seattle Seahawks. They opened up as the weeks biggest favorite at -13.5 against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. The Colts offense performed better than I thought capable last week with Andrew Luck out. But, let’s remember it was vs the Browns and they barely hung on to the victory. The Seahawks have struggled on offense so far, especially establishing a running game. This week they will get both of those things corrected and continue the years-long tradition of running backs beating up the Colts defense.
My final suggestion would be to avoid the Arizona Cardinals. They could be widely picked as 8.5 point favorites against the 9'ers, but I think the Cardinals are done. The team missed their window and will be in rebuild mode this offseason. San Francisco is on a long week and Arizona on a short one, be careful of the upset.
Fantasy football is a passion shared by many - we hope to provide you with insightful articles that help with tough decisions during the season, as well as beer to drink, tv to watch and recipes to make. Good luck! -drinkfive.com