Survivor Clean Slate Week 9: The Broncos Are Your Halloween Nightmare
Unlike last week, most of the Splash Survivor favorites made it through unscathed. But unlike any of the previous 16 times they met, the Broncos toppled the Chiefs in one of the biggest upsets of this NFL season so far, 24-9.
Denver delivered a Halloween scare for more than 5 percent of entries across Splash Survivor contests, perhaps terrorizing most those who picked Kansas City as one of their two Week 8 Splash NFL Survivor Sprint teams – those people probably got their other pick right, but they’re out thanks to the same defense that gave up 70 a month ago holding the reigning Super Bowl champs to nine now. I can’t imagine that pill goes down easily.
If you or a loved one have been personally affected by the Broncos’ first win over the Chiefs since 2015, then the Week 9 Splash NFL Survivor Sprint is here for you. It’s a second chance at redemption and a second chance at $10,000. Be the last one alive, and this whole Chiefs-Broncos fiasco will be a funny joke you laugh about to yourself while you snow angel in your pile of cash.
Your Survivor strategy will impact how you pick in Week 9, plus it’s a totally different game if you’re in a Sprint contest and on the hook for two or still around in an older race and responsible for one. I’ll try my best to give a few of the best options for this week depending on your angle.
The Chiefs’ backers bit the bullet in the most unimaginable of ways. Who would have thought that the Broncos would snap the NFL’s longest-active losing streak against a single opponent while 2-5 and seemingly underwater? Not 5.15 percent of entries in Splash Survivor contests, that’s for sure.
Halloween weekend was unkind to Texans pickers, too. The 2.29 percent of entries that expected Houston to keep Carolina winless whimpered as Panthers kicker Eddy Piñeiro made the game-winning field goal three times in a row to lift his team to the 15-13 triumph. The 49ers were the next-biggest disappointment for Splash Survivor players with 0.59 percent of entries incorrectly predicting San Francisco wouldn’t lose its third-straight game.
If You Want This Week’s Biggest Favorite…
If you have the flexibility and want to go with what the books think, then you want to pick the biggest favorite of the week. Early Week 9 lines indicate that there are two choices for Survivor players who want to take this route: the Saints over the Bears or the Browns over the Cardinals. The teams in both games are separated by 7.5-point spreads.
Arizona has loudly declared itself a contender for the No. 1 pick this season. Losers of their last five, the Cardinals are 1-7 and rank near the bottom of the NFL in almost every major statistical category. They have simply been atrocious. Their quarterback situation could be about to change, though, with Kyler Murray maybe on the mend and available for the clash with Cleveland. It’s possible we’ll see rookie Clayton Tune in the backfield. We know it won’t be Josh Dobbs receiving the snaps – he’s been dealt to the Vikings.
The Browns are coming off of a last-second loss to the Seahawks, but they have generally played well as of late, at least as well as a team with a mess of a quarterback situation can reasonably play. While Cleveland’s offense might have some issues, its defense has remained one of the league’s best since the start of the season. It allows the fewest passing yards per game (163.3) and overall yards per game (260.0) in the NFL, and few teams are as adept at pressuring the quarterback as the Browns.
If this recipe entices you, then have at it. If not, or if you need to make a second selection, you have your pick of another matchup the books have deemed equally as lopsided in the Bears at the Saints.
New Orleans has had its ups and downs so far this campaign, and I imagine the 7.5-point line in its favor has more to do with Chicago than itself. The Bears have been much more down than up by comparison, struggling to muster much positivity at all. They are 2-2 in their last four and have shown brighter signs than in the first weeks of 2023, but Tyson Bagent is set to make his third-straight start in place of Justin Fields, who is week-to-week with a dislocated right thumb. That, coupled with the Bears being pretty bad even with Fields, is why the Saints are favored by more than a touchdown in this one.
Want more reasons? The Saints have forced 13 takeaways this season, which is near the top of the NFL in the right direction. The Bears have turned the ball over 13 times in their eight games, which is near the top of the NFL in the wrong direction. Did I mention that one of the few quarterbacks in the league to have a worse interception percentage than Fields (3.7) is Bagent (3.8)?
If You Want a Value Pick…
Maybe you already used the Browns or Saints. Maybe you don’t trust Cleveland or New Orleans enough to get the job done. Maybe you fell on your head recently and have faith in the Cardinals or Bears. Regardless of why, you want your future to be staked elsewhere.
This week has tighter spreads than Week 8, and it has fewer games to choose from. It’s tough to see a clear value pick, but one place you could look is at the Colts at Panthers pairing.
Carolina did add the inaugural notch of the season to its win column last weekend, and Indianapolis is a flawed team on multiple fronts. But are we buying that the Panthers are a team reborn? Maybe, but their offense didn’t exactly light up the Texans, and they still allowed Houston to go for 110 yards on the ground. The same strength of an outstanding secondary coupled with a lackluster front seven seemed unchanged. The Colts are one of the better running teams in the NFL, and with Jonathan Taylor now in the mix, they have multiple quality backfield weapons in their arsenal.
The Colts have been porous on the defensive end, but are the Panthers in a position to properly exploit that? Bryce Young had the best game of his infant pro career against the Texans, but if you think it was merely a flash in the pan, then the answer to that question is no.
Another angle is to pin your hopes on the Bengals in their date with the Bills. Through four weeks of the season, Joe Burrow looked like a broken version of himself, and the Bengals had little going for them. But that nagging injury is long gone, at least to the naked eye, and Cincinnati is right back to the level it has been for the last couple of years.
Buffalo has not shown the consistency in 2023 that we come to associate them with under the hand of Josh Allen. Despite Allen’s 2.8 interception percentage, his highest in a given season since he was a rookie in 2018, the offense is still working well enough to be in the NFL’s top five in passing yards per game, total yards per game, and points per game. The bigger steps back have come on the defensive side of the ball, and if you believe Burrow and company are really back to their old selves, then the Bengals will capitalize on any available weaknesses.
You can bet there will be some extra steam in this one thanks to the playoff game last January. That could complicate things, and it’s not as though the Bills are incapable of competing with Cincinnati. But if the Bengals have convinced you over the last few weeks that they’re the real deal, then you won’t have a problem backing them to get it done at home this Sunday night.
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