Survivor Clean Slate Week 8: Seahawks or Bust, Literally
If you didn’t pick the Seahawks in Week 7 Survivor, there’s an outstanding chance that you’re no longer playing. The 46.76 percent of entries that went for Seattle to overcome Arizona have eased to Week 8. Almost everyone else didn’t.
It was an absolutely brutal week in Splash NFL Survivor. The second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, and 11th-most popular selections all went down. That accounts for more than 40 percent of all entries across Splash’s Survivor contests. We haven’t seen a bloodbath like this all season long.
For those of you still standing, we salute you. If ever there was a weed-out week, it was Week 7. Making it through that is an accomplishment in of itself, but an even bigger kudos goes to players who are late in their contests, navigating these waters through calm and storm.
For those of you now wondering what to do this Sunday, don’t fret: the Splash NFL Survivor Sprint is on for players to get back in and for those who want to try their hand at an even greater challenge. A $10 entry gives you a chance at $10,000, but with it being this late in the season, we had to add a wrinkle. Each week, you have to predict two teams to win, not just one.
I’m prepared to give some insight into your upcoming options that could help you make the big decisions Week 8 will ask of you. There are a few angles you could use in your approach, and I’ll do my best to cover them, especially with the two-pick requirement in the Survivor Sprint.
It was a sad weekend for more than two-fifths of all Splash NFL Survivor entries. The Patriots snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bills to find their second win of the season. One-loss San Francisco became two-loss San Francisco in Minnesota. The Raiders couldn’t keep a Justin Fields-less Bears away from their second victory of the campaign. The Rams allowed Kenny Pickett to pass for 230 yards and complete 68 percent of his attempts. And that’s just scratching the surface of the results that shocked the Splash universe.
We were victims, too. The Bills were our Lock of the Week, and that mistake has cost us some cash sent back to those who followed our advice in the Week 7 Survivor Revival contest. Nobody’s perfect. At least, almost nobody’s perfect – somebody has to win each of these contests.
If You Want the Week’s Biggest Favorite…
The biggest line of the week is 9.5 points, and it separates the Dolphins and Patriots in their Sunday showdown at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami is coming off of a loss, and New England is rolling into town off the high of a win, but you wouldn’t know it based on the books.
The ‘Phins fell, 31-17, to the Eagles last Sunday night, while the Patriots picked up their second W of 2023 in a shocker against the Bills, 29-25, in what was the widest line of the Week 7. Now the question is if New England can overcome a similar line up against another familiar foe. If your answer is no, then Miami is there for the taking.
Before their stunning turnaround last week, the Patriots were down in the dumps. They had dropped three in a row, which included losses to the Cowboys and Saints by a combined score of 72-3. Not much was going right for them on either side of the ball. If they revert back to who they were before the Bills came to town, there is virtually no hope for them against the Dolphins.
Even if the Buffalo win is the start of a new chapter for New England, it still might not be enough. Despite the defeat in Philadelphia, Miami still boasts one of the most intimidating offenses in the NFL, with 2,100 passing yards and more than 3,200 total offensive yards through the first seven games of 2023. The Patriots haven’t kept an opponent under 21 points since Week 3 against the Jets, and these Dolphins are no Jets when they have the ball.
Miami got the better of New England in Week 2, 24-17, in the first meeting between these AFC East adversaries. The Dolphins registered four sacks as a defense and forced two turnovers in a game that wasn’t quite as close as the final score implies. The result improved Tua Tagovailoa to 5-0 against the Patriots for his career, and if you pick the Dolphins as your Survivor representative in Week 8, you’ll directly benefit if he grows to 6-0.
If You’ve Used the Dolphins…
Prior to the loss in Philly, Miami was one of few remaining one-loss teams in the NFL. If you are still alive in your Survivor contest, there is a decent chance you have already used the Dolphins. If that’s the case, then they could be playing your local high school: it doesn’t do your chance at survival any good.
There are a few other pairings with stretched lines; the Chiefs, Chargers, Ravens, and Lions are all favored by at least a touchdown in Week 8. Kansas City is as likely to be available to you this late in the game as Miami is, so that decision has probably been made for you. If the Ravens are still free for the taking, their meet up with the Cardinals is ripe for the picking.
Since surprising the Cowboys in Week 3, Arizona has been abysmal. Its average margin of defeat during this four-game drought is 15, and its offense has only managed one touchdown in its last nine quarters of action. That’s not the momentum you want to bring into a meeting with a defense holding opponents to the fewest points per outing of any outfit in pro football (13.9).
The Ravens are winners of their last two, most recently demolishing the Lions in impressive fashion. Lamar Jackson was at his best against Detroit, tossing for 357 yards and three touchdowns while succeeding on 21 of his 27 pass attempts, plus rushed for a score in the 38-6 rout. The Ravens stonewalled a Lions offense that is in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring offense and didn’t let it hit paydirt until a garbage time fourth quarter scamper. If Baltimore repeats this performance again in Glendale, there is zero chance whatsoever for a home side that packs much less punch than the ’23 Lions.
If You Want a Value Pick…
The Texans go to Charlotte on Sunday to take on a Panthers team still searching for its first success of the season. The visitors are only a 3-point favorite, indicating that the books have some trepidation going all-in on Houston despite the lackluster displays Carolina has put on six times in a row.
Houston has been impressive lately, going 3-1 in its last four, with wins at the Jaguars and at home against the Steelers and Saints. C.J. Stroud is showing why the Texans took him with the No. 2 overall pick, and the defense has taken big strides from where it was last year; Houston is allowing almost six fewer points per game so far in 2023 compared to in 2022, and what was the worst run defense in the league last year is now comfortably average.
The 2023 Panthers share more similarities with the 2022 Texans than the modern Texans do. Other than its stingy secondary, there isn’t much that Carolina does well. Its rookie quarterback hasn’t offered the same poise in his first pro-go-around that Stroud has, and its front seven couldn’t stop a pillow fight.
Another avenue to ponder for value is the Falcons in their road date at Tennessee. The Titans are in sell-off mode nearing the trade deadline set for Tuesday, Oct. 31. They shipped off Kevin Byard to the Eagles already, and rumors are swirling that Derrick Henry could be the next one to walk out the door. Whether the running back is still a Titan come Sunday or not, these are not usually indicators of imminent success.
Meanwhile, Atlanta is in a decent spot, leading the NFC South at 4-3 with wins in two of its last three outings. The Falcons do have some drama surrounding them with the NFL asking questions about the team not reporting Bijan Robinson’s illness prior to their matchup with the Bucs in Week 7. But the worst that comes of that, if anything, should be a fine, not anything that will impact how the team performs on the field in the near future.
The Falcons have one of the meanest defenses in the NFL, holding opponents to 285.4 yards per game, the third-fewest in the league. Their ground game has been strong with rookie Robinson and Tyler Allgeier carrying the load behind an impressive offensive line. They’re not Super Bowl contenders, but there are things to like about this Atlanta squad. The Titans being among the worst in the NFL at getting to the quarterback should help the road team this weekend, too.
This one has a 2.5-point spread in favor of the Falcons in the lead-up. A close game would not shock me, but if you are looking for value in a pick that might not be as popular as some others when deciding your two teams for Week 8, Atlanta deserves consideration.
Steer Clear of…
With the Survivor Sprint asking for two picks instead of one, it’s important that you decide which games you do not want to touch, even if you might think one side has an edge on paper.
We will be treated to an all-New York matchup at MetLife this Sunday that will technically be a Giants home game. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets have shown that they are nothing to overlook, particularly on defense. The last time we saw them, they held the high-flying Eagles to 14 points and forced four turnovers, willing the Jets over the line for the seismic upset. No team has scored more than 21 against the Jets through six games, and the Giants offense is not likely the one that will change that.
It's been a disastrous start for the G-Men in 2023. High hopes have been dashed before the midway point of the season as they sit at 2-5 and struggle to put points on the board. New York’s 12.1 points per game is the fewest of anyone in the league by a comfortable margin.
But the defense has been a different story for the Giants, at least for the last couple of weeks. In their last two games against the Bills and Commanders, New York has given up a grand total of 21 points and 570 yards while forcing three takeaways in all, a massive improvement from the mudslide it was allowing through the first five times it took the field. The G-Men aren’t missed tackles like they were in the earlier portion of the campaign, and they spent the contest against the Commanders in the backfield with six sacks on Sam Howell, outdoing the five sacks they had in total the rest of the season.
Neither team has much of an offense to speak of. This should be a low-scoring, smashmouth affair aided by the location these franchises share. The Jets are 3-point favorites, and understandably so. I do think that the Jets are better and more likely to win, but depressed scoring increases variability. There is a good chance that one or two mistakes will be the difference maker in this one, and even if you have a hunch on who will be smiling come the final whistle, I would steer clear for variance’s sake.
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