NFL Survivor Tips for the Back Half, Marathon or Sprint
We are halfway through the 18-week NFL regular season. If you’re still alive in your NFL Survivor contest, then congratulations! By this point, you’ve probably had a close call or two, but it doesn’t matter. Survive and advance is the name of the game, and the finish line is inching closer and closer.
Not all of you utilized the same strategy to get here. You all have different tolerances to risk, different ways you like to evaluate football teams, and different situations in your contests. One size does not fit all in Survivor.
But odds are, if you’re still standing by Week 10, then you’ve used the Chiefs and Eagles of the world. Up to nine teams are no longer available to you, severely limiting your once-plentiful pick of the litter. Unless you’ve had a methodical, mapped-out game plan that brought you here, you have to switch up your approach the later the season goes. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
If you are not among the elite whose feet remain firmly planted, my condolences. Your Survivor journey doesn’t have to end until next fall, though the contest you can enter now has another layer. Our Week 10 Splash NFL Survivor Sprint is open to the public, and if you can be responsible for the last entry unscathed, you will enjoy an $8,000 bump to your bank account. The catch? You have to pick two winners correctly each week to stay in, not only one. It’s a sprint, not a marathon.
Regardless of the spot you find yourself in, there are some guiding lights that can help you make your high-pressure predictions over the coming weeks, and they go deeper than “Eagles good” and “Panthers bad,” no matter how true those statements may be.
The Bills Home vs Away
At this juncture of the campaign, the Bills are yet to drop a game in Orchard Park, boasting a 4-0 mark that includes triumphs over the Dolphins and Bucs. Buffalo is also 1-4 in contests outside of its friendly confines with defeats to the Jets and Patriots in the mix.
Josh Allen’s stat lines are equally as opposite based on game location. At home, the quarterback has tossed for 1,446 yards and 13 touchdowns, has a completion percentage of 75.0, has thrown three interceptions, and has a rating of 117.5. Not in Buffalo, he’s put up 977 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, a 67.1 completion percentage, and chucked six picks. His road rating is 79.3.
This can’t be a coincidence at this point. While making your picks, keep in mind the power of the Bills at home and the lack thereof of the Bills when forced to leave Upstate New York for the rest of this season.
The Bills also have real injury problems, particularly on defense. Even with two winnable home games in Week 10 and Week 11 against the Broncos and Jets, respectively, I don’t know if I would risk it all on Buffalo. In the two weeks that follow, though, the Bills go to Philadelphia and Kansas City back-to-back. The team would need to undergo a serious overhaul of how it plays away from home to be the best in either of those games.
Baltimore After Bye Weeks
Since John Harbaugh became the Ravens head coach in 2008, the team is 13-4 in games after a bye week. That 76.5-win percentage is the third-best in the league over the last 15 years. Baltimore’s bye week is set for Week 13. In Week 14, the Rams come to town. We’ll see where the Rams are as a team come mid-December, but as of right now, they’re losers of their last three, and Matthew Stafford’s health is in question. It seems like a juicy matchup for a defensive juggernaut that’s historically successful after bye weeks.
Given that the Ravens are one of the best teams in football, you may have used them already. If you did, then this doesn’t make a difference for you. But if you haven’t, it might be worth holding out on picking them until Week 14 rolls around. That is, if you make it that far.
Offensive Giants Offense
The Giants had one of the worst offenses in the NFL before Daniel Jones went down with what we now know is a torn ACL. They remained one of the worst offenses in the league while under the guise of backup Tyrod Taylor. After a rib injury sent him to the IR, the contemporary Tommy DeVito-led Giants offense is soundly sunk to the sandy floor of pro football.
Saquon Barkley is good. That begins and ends the list of positives this offense has going for it right now. The Giants are dead last in the league in passing yards per game (155.0), total yards gained per game (268.9), and points per game (11.2). New York has scored more than 16 points only once this entire season, and that was in Week 2 against 1-8 Arizona.
The point is, these guys aren’t scoring too many points from here on out. For as long as DeVito is the one receiving snaps, it’s tough to see the Giants enjoying much happiness. Even if someone else was in his position, it wouldn’t help that much – this offense did a plenty impotent prior to Jones’s departure. Poor Saquon.
While staking your Survivor survival on New York isn’t something I’d advise, do check out their schedule for the reverse reason and scout a tasty opportunity to bet against the Giants.
Bears Bonanza, But Not with Positivity
Ah, the Chicago Bears. Much to the chagrin of Chicago, few franchises in the modern NFL rival their ineptitude. But for Survivor players, it’s a useful fact made even more useful by their upcoming schedule.
In Week 10, Soldier Field will be the site of a Thursday night fight for first-pick rights as the one-win Panthers travel to Lake Michigan to see who’s worse. Pick a winner in that one at your own peril. More interestingly, Chicago’s contests afterward are at Detroit in Week 11, at Minnesota in Week 12, Detroit at home in Week 14, and at Cleveland in Week 15.
The Lions have been one of the best teams in the NFL this season and are aiming for an NFC North title. The Vikings are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now and are aiming for the NFC North title. The Browns have one of the best defenses in the NFL and are aiming for the AFC North title.
Hopefully, the Lions, Vikings, and Browns are all still available for you to choose from. Odds are, you have at least one of them left. You may want to save that team until their ballet with the Bears.
The Bengals Are Back
Cincinnati was terrible through the first four games of the season. Joe Burrow was a shell of his normal self and visibly battling a lingering leg injury that impacted his ability to throw the ball downfield. That seeped into the rest of the team, particularly on offense, and the team was as anemic as they come.
In Week 5, Burrow was given a heaping dose of the best medicine in the NFL: the Arizona Cardinals. He threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns in by far his premier performance of the season up to that point. He’s been nothing short of outstanding since.
Burrow is all the way back. Whatever was ailing him is long gone, and the Bengals as a whole have reacted in kind. We’re now seeing the same Bengals that played in the last two AFC Championship Games, and given recent history, we can expect that to continue so long as Burrow maintains his fitness.
It’s possible that you’ve already used the Bengals if you’re alive in a Survivor marathon, but sprinters probably still have them at their fingertips. The only “easy” game left on Cincinnati’s schedule is its Week 14 home date with the Colts. But given the run this franchise has been on over the last few years, it should win more of its remaining nine outings than not.
Risk It for the Biscuit
It’s too late to play it safe if you’re one of the few still standings in a Survivor contest. Depending on the matchups and how your competitors pick, it may be in your best interest to go for an underdog that others are underestimating.
Think about it this way: let’s say you’re in a Survivor contest with 100 people, and 90 of them pick Team A. You and nine others pick Team B. If Team A wins, which it is more than likely to do, then you will be eliminated, but if Team B pulls off the upset, you’ve greatly boosted your odds of being the last person standing. Conversely, had you played it safe with Team A, you’d still be in the game but with 90 others and little ground gained.
If you can find a week where you feel good about an unpopular pick, don’t feel obligated to go with the crowd. Going against the grain in Survivor can yield massive results, especially in the final stages.
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