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Football survivor pool strategy/picks, Week 5: All about the Keystone State

We are a quarter of the way through the season. If you’re still alive in your NFL survivor pool, we are here to provide some tips to stay alive in Week 5!

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

We are through the first quarter of the season for 30 of 32 NFL teams, which means we are starting to get a handle on the good and bad teams in the NFL. We get a chance to see two potential good ones on Thursday Night Football as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New England Patriots. The week closes with the Chicago Bears hosting the Minnesota Vikings.

The open of Week 5 means it is time to look at some of the best options for NFL survivor pools. Last week saw several notable upsets, which is likely thinning the ranks of many pools. For those new to this kind of contest, a survivor pool involves picking one team each week that you think will win. If your team wins in Week 1, you can make a pick in Week 2. If your team wins in Week 2, you can make a pick in Week 3, and so on. The catch is that you cannot pick a team twice. You could very well use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but you won’t have access to them later in the year if you’re alive in the closing weeks.

There is plenty of strategy in determining which team you will take each week, and SB Nation is here to help. We have three experts providing rankings for each week, and then some thoughts on weekly strategy. First up, we have a consensus ranking of all 32 teams, and which are most likely to win this week. That is followed by each writer making a pick, some reasoning for the pick, and some alternatives to consider.

Survivor rankings, Week 5

Rank Team Opp. JG SK DG
Rank Team Opp. JG SK DG
1 Pittsburgh vs. JAC 1 1 1
2 Philadelphia vs. ARI 2 2 5
3 New England @ TB 4 3 3
4 Minnesota @ CHI 3 6 2
5 NY Giants vs. LAC 5 4 9
6 Detroit vs. CAR 10 10 4
7 Kansas City @ HOU 6 12 7
8 Seattle @ LAR 9 16 6
9 Oakland vs. BAL 14 8 10
10 Dallas vs. GB 11 9 15
11 Indianapolis vs. SF 12 11 21
12 Cincinnati vs. BUF 22 5 18
13 LA Rams vs. SEA 20 13 12
14 Tennessee @ MIA 16 7 23
15 NY Jets @ CLE 8 15 24
16 Houston vs. KC 23 17 8
17 Buffalo @ CIN 7 24 19
18 Green Bay @ DAL 18 20 14
19 Carolina @ DET 19 19 16
20 Baltimore @ OAK 15 21 20
21 Miami vs. TEN 13 22 22
22 Cleveland vs. NYJ 21 14 25
23 San Francisco @ IND 17 18 26
24 LA Chargers @ NYG 24 25 13
25 Tampa Bay vs. NE 25 26 11
26 Arizona @ PHI 27 27 17
27 Chicago vs. MIN 26 23 27
28 Jacksonville @ PIT 28 28 28
New Orleans

Jeff Goldberg

Best picks: Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles

With Week 5 of the Survivor season upon us, the key word is "Pennsylvania." The state of this week's slate is anything but enticing, with bye weeks starting to complicate matters. So the key to surviving this week is to focus on the Keystone State. The Steelers have always shown themselves to be a better team at home than on the road, and while the Jaguars are clearly an improved team, I'm not sure they're ready to take down the Steelers in Pittsburgh. On the east side of the state, Arizona comes off a brutal overtime game against the 49ers and travels cross country to face the Eagles. I don't know how much future value there is with Philadelphia, so this is as good a spot as any to play the Eagles, especially with the rest of the slate looking so unappealing.

Derek Gordon

Best picks: Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings

It’s almost like the point of this game is that it gets more difficult each week. Having four good teams on bye doesn’t make it any easier. This week, I’m going with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is the second consecutive road game for the Jaguars and Pittsburgh’s defense is good enough to give Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette problems.

I was tempted to pick the Minnesota Vikings to beat the Chicago Bears, but the Vikings are on the road and Sam Bradford isn’t a lock to play. I could see Chicago making the game a low-scoring slog and earning the win at home.

Zachary Senvisky

Best picks: Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots

The Steelers haven't lost to Jacksonville since 2008. They rebounded nicely from their first loss by beating Baltimore in Week 4. Meanwhile, Jacksonville lost to the Jets. I believe that the Steelers defense is going to shut down the Jaguars offense completely. Pittsburgh has allowed the third-fewest points in the league. It's going to be a long day for Blake Bortles and Co.

My secondary picks are Philadelphia and New England. The Eagles haven't been dominating their opponents but they keep winning. Nothing has come easy for Arizona. I can't see the Cardinals putting up enough points to win. New England faces a test on the road in Tampa but should easily win. The Patriots rarely lose two in a row and they're coming off a loss. Tampa just hasn't looked as good as expected. This game would've been more competitive in November or December.