NFL Week 13 Survivor Picks & Strategies
NFL weekly Survivor picks and strategies provided by Splash Sports Blog.
Favored teams dominated in Week 12 going 12 – 4 straight up and against the spread. Two of the four favored teams that lost were also two of the four most selected teams for remaining survivors. The second most selected team, the Minnesota Vikings, ended contests for 16.0% of remaining survivors while the fourth most selected team, the Detroit Lions, also eliminated 9.3% of remaining contestants on Thanksgiving. The most selected team, the Tennessee Titans were selected by 18.3% of contestants who continue to fade the Panthers and move the chains.
Week 13 does not include any double-digit favorites which is a rarity for this season in the NFL. The teams favored by the most points this week (Miami, Dallas, Jacksonville) are also teams that have already been selected by many of those remaining. Week 13 requires remaining contests to look further down the power rankings and select an average team facing a terrible team that may have already given up on the season (Panthers, Cardinals, Patriots).
As with prior weeks, in the table below, we’ve highlighted games in green (4.5+ point favorites, implied 66%+ win probability) and yellow (3.5 to 4 point favorites, implied 62% to 65.5% win probability) based on the current point spreads for each game of the season. This will continue to change as under or overachieving teams emerge, and injuries inevitably occur but it’s important to continue to use strategy, and reassess and alter as necessary on a weekly basis.
· Kansas City – After falling behind by 14 points early in their Week 12 matchup vs. the Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs finally found a rhythm on offense outscoring the Raiders 31 – 3 the rest of the way and cruising to an easy victory. The most promising part of the Week 12 victory for the Chiefs was the emergence of rookie receiver Rashee Rice. If Patrick Mahomes can add a reliable second weapon behind Travis Kelce in the passing game the Chiefs may once again be the team to beat. In Week 13 the Chiefs travel to Green Bay for a Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau. Coming off a survivor-ruining defeat of the Lions on Thanksgiving last week the Packers suddenly find themselves in the wildcard conversation. With an easy schedule the rest of the way, the Packers still have a good chance to get in with a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday night. Of the five games remaining after the Packers, the Chiefs are not scheduled to play another team with a winning record. If the Chiefs remain on your available team list, save them for one of the upcoming games rather than on the road in a tough place to play.
· Miami – In Week 13 Miami travels to Washington to face a Commanders team who similar to the Dolphins likes to throw the ball on offense and who dissimilarly is not winning a lot of games because of it. Shortly after getting manhandled by Dallas on Thanksgiving, the Commanders decided to move on from defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. This situation doesn’t feel the same as the firing of Josh McDaniels or Matt Canada where deep resentment existed within the locker room for those coaches and their teams came out the next week and played well. It feels more like the first step in the inevitable complete house cleaning under new owner Josh Harris. Don’t expect extra energy or additional success from the Commanders after Ron Rivera takes over the defensive play calling, expect the Dolphins to gain yards at will and to win a lopsided game.
· Dallas – On Thursday Night Football the Dallas Cowboys will host the Seattle Seahawks. Both the Cowboys and Seahawks played on Thanksgiving Day so neither team is facing the typical short rest week for TNF. The Thanksgiving Day games for these teams were polar opposites with the Cowboys drubbing the Commanders at home and the Seahawks absorbing a beating at home from the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys have run it up against easier competition this year as evidenced by their league leading +162 point differential. As recently as three weeks ago the Seahawks would not have been considered easier competition but with Geno Smith at less than 100%, losers of three of their last four and suddenly in more of a fight for the wildcard than the division, the Seahawks could now be qualified as such. It is unlikely many survivor entrants have the Cowboys remaining but with remaining games against the Eagles, Bills, Dolphins and Lions now would be a good time to take them.
· Detroit – Week 12 brought another Thanksgiving home game to Detroit, and another disappointing loss for Lions fans. In a rematch of the Week 4 game in which Detroit dominated the Packers, the roles were reversed with Green Bay electing to receive the kick off, marching straight down the field for a touchdown and never letting their foot off the gas. One poor performance is not cause for concern but for the Lions this was their second straight poor performance against lesser opponents. Jared Goff who was quietly sneaking up the MVP odds board, has reverted to bad turnover Goff, and a defense that started the year strong has been porous of late. This week the Lions face an undermanned and underperforming Saints team. The Saints offense that has been uninspiring all season behind Derek Carr will likely be without their top three wide receivers which will only limit the downfield plays further. The Lions should be able to move the ball and contain a Saints offense that will consist of largely role players at the skill positions. If you weren’t burnt by the Lions last week on Thanksgiving, now is a good week to use them in survivor.
· Jacksonville – In Week 13 the Jacksonville Jaguars face a team you didn’t expect to ever pick against in survivor when the season began, the Cincinnati Bengals. A situation like this underscores how survivor contests evolve throughout the season as things change. There is no bigger change in the NFL than an injury to a star starting quarterback. In the case of the Bengals, the season ending loss of Joe Burrow is also effectively season ending for the Bengals. It’s only been one game but if Zac Taylor intends to use the same game plan with Jake Browning as he did with Joe Burrow, the Bengals are a candidate to pick against every week. Coming off allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to surpass 400 yards on offense for the first time in 59 games, the challenge only gets larger for the Bengals as the Jaguars’ passing attack can run it up on bad defenses. If you’re not saving the Jaguars for either of their Week 16 or Week 17 matchups with the Buccaneers or Panthers, this is a good week to use them.
· Pittsburgh – A week after firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Steelers gained more than 400 yards on offense, a feat they had not accomplished since Big Ben was throwing to Antonio Brown. In Week 13 Pittsburgh draws another defense that has shown little to no ability to slow down opposing offenses in the Arizona Cardinals. It’s difficult to gauge if it was a one game aberration or if the Steelers and Kenny Pickett will continue to find success under new play caller Mike Sullivan. Despite the return of Kyler Murray, the Cardinals haven’t looked much better on offense and are still well positioned to potentially get the first overall pick in next year’s draft. With the unknowns surrounding the sustainability of the Steelers offensive change it’s likely better to wait an additional week and take the Steelers when the Patriots come to town in Week 14.
· LA Rams – In Week 13 the Los Angeles Rams are at home to face the Cleveland Browns and in what should never be said in 2023, potentially Joe Flacco. With Deshaun Watson out for the year, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson in concussion protocol, the Browns quarterback play has gone from bad, to worse to now maybe worst yet. Joe Flacco was not a mobile quarterback in his glory days, nearing 39 years of age it’s hard believe an NFL team is going to put him under center to start a game. As bad as the Browns offense will look with Joe Flacco at quarterback, the Browns defense may be without its unquestioned leader, Myles Garrett or at the very least with a slowed down version of his dominant self. In Week 12 the Rams once again looked dynamic on offense with the return of Kyren Williams at running back and a healthy Matt Stafford. Wait for the lineup to be set closer to kickoff but if the Browns intend to play with Joe Flacco and without Myles Garret, select the Rams with confidence.
· LA Chargers – The Los Angeles Chargers continue to find ways to lose, but a week after losing a close game to one the NFL’s best teams in the Baltimore Ravens the Chargers travel to New England to take on the disaster that is the Patriots. It is not clear who will start at quarterback on Sunday for the Patriots but at this point it doesn’t matter. Mac Jones is playing without confidence and while Bailey Zappe seems to have plenty of it, he shouldn’t. In the past two weeks the Patriots have held their opponents to 10 points and still lost both games, which is the only two times that has happened in the NFL all season. Those two offences were the Washington Commanders and the Tommy Devito Giants. As inconsistent as the Chargers are, Justin Herbert is a giant step above recent Patriots’ competition and the Chargers will certainly score more than 10 points. Will the Patriots with any combination of Jones or Zappe score enough to keep pace with the Chargers? No. Pick the Chargers with confidence.
· Tampa Bay – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not a good football team, in Week 13 they face the worst football team in the NFL in the Carolina Panthers. After another ugly loss in Week 12, the Frank Reich era came to an end in Carolina, as Reich was fired after only eleven games. The firing of Reich could provide temporary motivation for the league worst Panthers this week. There have already been two examples of this this season, the Raiders after firing Josh McDaniels, and the Steelers after firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada last week. Without the shake up, continuing to fade the Panthers would be a solid selection, with a potentially rejuvenated Panthers team under a new coach the Buccaneers are not a safe pick in survivor this week.
Yellow: Pick with Caution
· Houston – In Week 13 the Texans welcome the Denver Broncos to Houston for a matchup with significant playoff implications. After last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 6 – 5 Texans hopes of a divisional title have diminished significantly and the more likely path to the playoffs is a wildcard berth. The Broncos, winners of five straight games also sit at 6 – 5, and with little chance to catch the Chiefs, are also fighting for a wildcard spot. After a disastrous start to the season, Sean Payton is once again proving why he is considered among the top coaches in the NFL. The Broncos have been buoyed by a league best 16 forced turnovers during their five-game win streak which is not sustainable and makes their win streak potentially misleading. A match up with rookie sensation CJ Stroud in Week 13 will be a good test for the Broncos resurgent defense, if they’re unable to slow down the rookie signal caller Sean Payton may have to adjust his conservative game plan that he’s employed over the recent winning streak. While the Texans are explosive on offense Week 13 of a survivor contest is not the time to pick against a team on a five-game win streak with one of the best coaches in the NFL. Avoid the Texans this week.
Red: Pick at own Risk
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