The 2016 football season is upon us, and that means all sorts of options for exercising our skill as football prognosticators. People will take part in fantasy football and pick 'em contests, but Survivor pools are growing in popularity. For those new to the 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 use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but that precludes you from using them later in the season.
There is plenty of strategy in determining which team you will take each week, and SB Nation is here to help. We have 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 is most likely to win this week. That is followed by each writer making a pick, some reasoning for the pick, and then some alternatives to consider.
|1||New England||@ CLE||2||1||1||1||1|
|3||Green Bay||vs. NYG||3||8||3||5||2|
|11||Los Angeles||vs. BUF||9||12||12||12||12|
|20||San Francisco||vs. ARI||22||18||20||17||21|
|21||San Diego||@ OAK||19||20||21||21||22|
|23||Tampa Bay||@ CAR||18||23||22||27||15|
|25||NY Giants||@ GB||26||21||18||24||27|
|27||NY Jets||@ PIT||28||27||19||25||26|
New England Patriots over Cleveland Browns: Sooner or later I was going to pick the Patriots and this week seems about as good as any. Brady is back and the Browns are still the Browns. This is also the only game I have any confidence in whatsoever. There are a lot of evenly matched games this week (Vikings vs. Houston, Raiders vs. San Diego) so I'm going with the safest option on the board. I just have to hope Cleveland doesn’t pull off the upset and bring forth the end times.
Pittsburgh Steelers over New York Jets: Everyone will pick the Patriots so my pick this week to switch it up is the Pittsburgh Steelers over the New York Jets. The Steelers just dismantled the Kansas City Chiefs, 43-13, who picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick SIX TIMES two weeks ago. Fitz went out this week against Seattle and threw three more interceptions, so I’m expecting the trend to continue. If Matt Forte is limited in this game, I think the Jets will have a really long night against a Pittsburgh offense that is clicking on all cylinders with Le’Veon Bell back in the lineup.
Philadelphia Eagles over Detroit Lions: The Tom Brady Revenge Tour begins this week in Cleveland, and that makes the Patriots the chalkiest chalk that ever chalked in a survivor pool. The only question here is whether you feel the Patriots have enough future value that they are worth fading this week. It's a legit question, because there are several solid candidates to pick from in Week 5. Pittsburgh at home against the Jets feels like a lock, as does Minnesota at home against the Texans, featuring the Brock Osweiler Interception Experience. Perhaps the most intriguing pick is the Eagles, coming off a bye and on the road against a dismal Lions team. Unlike the Pats, Steelers, and Vikings, the Eagles are not loaded with future value and so far, at least, Carson Wentz and the Philly defense look legit. It will be hard to pass on the Pats, but going with a Pittsburgh or Philadelphia now could set you up for a Pats-hammer later in the year when options get limited for everyone else.
Pittsburgh Steelers over New York Jets: Picking the New England Patriots to beat the Cleveland Browns in Tom Brady's first game of 2016 just seems too easy (or a trap). So that is why picking the Steelers to defeat the Jets this week seems like the safest choice. As scary as it is, Pittsburgh is really starting to catch fire with all their offensive pieces back in the lineup. They get to face off against the dumpster fire known as the New York Jets on Sunday. New York gave up 31 points to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, so there is no telling how many points the Steelers could end up putting on the scoreboard when the day is all said and done (maybe 50?).
New England Patriots over Cleveland Browns: Tom Brady will be starting at quarterback and that should spark the Patriots offense. Cleveland has not looked like a complete mess, but they're not anywhere close to the caliber of the Patriots. New England is favored by double digits on the road. The Patriots defense will confuse Cody Kessler and that will result in some turnovers. My secondary picks would be Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Both teams are home favorites and are facing teams in the midst of losing streaks. Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger will light up the defensive coverages of the Giants and Jets respectively.