Survivor Clean Slate Week 11: Bengals Bamboozle
More than 70 percent of Splash Survivor players attached themselves to Dallas or Cincinnati in Week 10. The Cowboys did their job, body slamming the Giants into the earth’s crust, 49-17, much to the pleasure of the 40.67 percent that believed in them before the kick kickoff. Meanwhile, the 30.26 percent who chose to trust the Bengals looked on in horror as the Texans waltzed into Paycor Stadium and snapped the home team’s four-game winning streak, 30-27.
It was one of the most devastating defeats of this season for Splash Survivor participants. It’s especially impactful given how late it came in the campaign, undoubtedly crushing many contenders who were in contention for their contest’s grand prize. But it was far from the only hiccup in Week 10 – if you made it through to Week 11, then you truly deserve to be one step closer to the cash.
If you were a victim of what the Texans did to the Bengals or fell on the wrong side of any of the other outcomes of the week, then you might think your Survivor journey has come to a close. It doesn’t have to, though: this is why we have the Week 11 Splash NFL Survivor Sprint available. If a grand prize of $6,000 piques your interest, then check it out. But know that this time around, entries are asked to make three picks each week, upping the ante to see who can survive to the end of this proverbial 100-yard dash.
Depending on which Survivor contest you’re in and how you like to play, your picks for Week 11 will be affected. That’s why my clean slate guide offers multiple options based on your goals for this week.
But first, we must pay our respects. The Bengals were by far the biggest casualty, with more than 30 percent of Splash Survivor entries meeting their maker upon C.J. Stroud orchestrating yet another game-winning drive. It’s not every week that one result rips through so much of the Survivor population. And now their watch is ended.
So too has it ended for pickers of the Bills, Falcons, Patriots, Ravens, and Jets. Buffalo had 7.23 percent of Survivor entries backing it at home against the Broncos, but the team’s woes continued as it dropped its first home game of the campaign, 24-22, on Monday night. Another 2.69 percent of entries disappeared upon Arizona’s 25-23 upending of Atlanta, and 2.03 percent of entries bit the dust thanks to the Patriots falling, 10-6, to the Colts in Frankfurt, Germany. The Ravens and Jets losses eliminated a combined 2.69 percent of entries across Splash Survivor contests.
If You Want This Week’s Biggest Favorites…
Early lines indicate that there are two teams favored by the same spread of 10.5 points: the Cowboys and 49ers.
For the second week in a row, Dallas is expected to mop the floor with its opposition. This Sunday, the Cowboys go to Charlotte to take on the one-win Panthers, and ESPN’s FPI gives the visitors an 84.3 percent chance at improving their season record to 7-3.
It’s a fairly straightforward situation: one of the NFL’s best versus one of the NFL’s worst. Other than when defending against the pass, the Panthers are near the bottom of the league in every other major statistical category. The team’s offense has struggled to put points on the board. There isn’t very much good happening in Charlotte right now.
The Cowboys are in the opposite position. They are still in the mix for the NFC East crown, and they’re on track to make the playoffs for the third season in a row. There is a good reason why this line is so large.
If Dallas doesn’t compel you or the team isn’t available for you, then the 49ers offer something similar. They are also 10.5-point favorites in Week 11 as they welcome the 4-5 Bucs to the Bay Area. The Niners were under pressure in Week 10 after dropping three straight, with critics coming out of the woodwork to declare them as frauds. They responded with a resounding trouncing of the AFC South-leading Jaguars, 34-3, and that performance seems to have convinced the books more than any of the previous three.
Tampa Bay has one of the worst ground attacks in the NFL, sitting second-to-last in rushing yards per game (78.1) and dead last in rushing yards before contact (416). It has one of the most blitz-happy defenses in the league with a 37.9 blitz percentage, but it ranks in the middle of the NFL in hurry percentage (7.2), quarterback knockdowns per pass attempt (8.8), and quarterback pressures (21.9). What its defense does do a great job of is forcing turnovers, but San Francisco is one of the league’s best at taking care of the football.
The 49ers smothered the Jags from the get-go last weekend. Jacksonville’s drives concluded chronologically with a punt, another punt, another punt, a fumble, a field goal, an interception, a second fumble, a second interception, a fourth punt, and a fifth punt before finally its misery was done.
San Francisco tops ESPN’s Football Power Index at the moment while Tampa Bay comes in at 19. If you’re a believer in such things and buy what the books are selling on how uneven this pairing is, then go with the 49ers in Survivor this week.
If You Want This Week’s Next-Biggest Favorites…
It seems that lopsided lines are all the rage these days. Including the Cowboys and 49ers’ games, eight of Week 11’s 14 showdowns have spreads of 5.5 points or more, and five of them have spreads of 9.5 points or more. If you want to go for favorites, then this is your week.
The other big favorites of the week are the Dolphins, Commanders, and Lions. Miami is a 10-point favorite for its clash with the Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday. Given Las Vegas’s 1-4 road record, Miami’s undefeated 4-0 mark at home, and the explosiveness the Dolphins possess on offense, it makes sense. It doesn’t hurt that the ‘Phins are coming off a bye week, too. The Raiders are 2-0 since firing Josh McDaniels and giving Antonio Pierce the interim tag, but those wins were over the Giants and Jets – the Dolphins present a very different challenge.
The Commanders have the Giants coming to town, and their spread matches Miami’s. New York is woeful, and that’s putting it mildly. With a hopeless quarterback situation, the Giants are in freefall, and the books don’t think that stops in Landover. Meanwhile, Washington has shown signs of a team that can play competent football. The Commanders have a knack for staying in games until the very end, and while they normally find themselves frowning rather than smiling at the final whistle, it says something that even against teams like the Eagles and Seahawks, they can keep up. The Giants won the first coming-together, 14-7, on Oct. 22, but that was with Tyrod Taylor receiving snaps. It’s tough to argue that New York isn’t worse now than it was then.
This Sunday, the Bears go to Ford Field for a divisional dance with the Lions, and early lines indicate that the home team deserves 9.5 points of favoritism. Chicago is coming off of a win – its third of the season and only by three points over the only remaining one-win outfit in the league – but that’s not doing much to persuade the books. The Lions have been winners in six of their last seven and haven’t lost at home since Week 2. The expectation is that they will make it seven successes in their last eight in their first tussle of the season with the Bears.
If You Want a Value Pick…
There are so many games with big spreads this week for Survivor players to choose from, but maybe you don’t want to or can’t pick any of them. Maybe you’re playing in a Survivor Sprint contest and need more teams in your corner to get through the week. Maybe you just love to read my writing. No matter your purpose for pursuing this portion, everyone appreciates good value.
One lesson of Week 10 was that the Cardinals with Kyler Murray is a different proposition than without. He’s not lining up on the defensive line, so he can’t single-handedly will Arizona out of the league’s basement, but the Falcons learned the hard way that the contemporary Cardinals are more formidable than when Murray was sidelined. But unfortunately for the Cardinals, their next task is the Texans.
Houston is one of the great surprises of this 2023 season, and its Week 10 win in Cincinnati was a serious statement. Stroud continues to build his credentials for Rookie of the Year with weapons like Tank Dell and Noah Brown coming into their own with him. The Texans – Stroud in particular – take fantastic care of the ball and are tied for the second-fewest overall turnovers and fewest interceptions among the NFL’s 32. Their defense is one of the best at pressuring the quarterback, ranking in the league’s top 10 in hurry percentage (11.0), quarterback knockdowns per pass attempt (10.2), and quarterback pressures (25.9). Jonathan Greenard, Sheldon Rankins, Will Anderson Jr., and more are wreaking havoc in opposing backfields on a weekly basis.
There is a lot to like about Houston right now, and for as much as Murray helps the Cardinals not be a complete and total pushover, he can’t alchemize a pass rush. Given how many matchups this week have huge lines, this one might slip a bit under the radar among Splash Survivor players.
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