While your nails might not be as long as they were a couple of weeks ago, you managed to put Week 10 in the “W” column. The Green Bay Packers won a surprisingly back-and-forth game 24-20 over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the New Orleans Saints overcame an early 10-0 deficit to comfortably defeat the beleaguered San Francisco 49ers. Last week’s two double-digit favorites had their tense moments, but the heavy chalk prevailed once again.
If you had the audacity to bet against Bill Belichick at home -- and I don’t blame you if you did -- you will have to sit on the sideline for the rest of the season and think about what you’ve done.
While you likely won and advanced to next week in your survivor pool, so did much of the field. But a win this weekend will be a landmark: If you advance, you will have made it all the way to Thanksgiving weekend. Let’s try to make that turkey taste a little better by finding a winner.
Here are my Week 11 NFL survivor pool picks:
Games to consider
Chargers (-10) over Jets
It’s 2020, so it is fitting that a 2-7 team will be a popular and viable survivor option. Going into last week, only two teams had not lost a game by more than seven points. Obviously the 8-0 Steelers were one, and the other was the 2-6 Chargers. That bizarre stat reveals that the Chargers’ talent is undeniable. They have led the Saints, Chiefs and Buccaneers by large margins. While the talent gap is clear when comparing them to this week’s opponent, the Jets, I will pass. Nobody wants to go winless, and the Jets will see this as one of a few realistic opportunities to get off the schneid. I also worry that the Chargers’ compilation of heartbreaking losses will finally, well, break them. The Chargers are vastly superior in talent but might come out flat.
Saints (-7) over Falcons
The lookahead line was -8.5, but with Jameis Winston now in line to start for the Saints, that line will undoubtedly creep below or around a touchdown. Given Winston’s inability to protect the football, it’s hard to turn in this pick with any confidence. The Falcons are better than their putrid record would indicate, and NFC South games are notoriously wonky. A bad Atlanta team marched into New Orleans last year (back when we had full stadiums at sporting events -- remember that?) off a bye and stomped the heavily favored Saints 26-9. Atlanta, again off a bye, will move the ball and put up points. Too risky to trust Winston, so let’s keep searching.
Vikings (-7.5) over Cowboys
I’ve become weary of plugging in “Team X that plays the Jets” or “Team Y that plays the Jaguars.” Let’s introduce “Team Z that plays the Cowboys.” After all, they’ve earned it. I don’t know how many critics Dak Prescott will have after his injury, considering his team looks like it belongs in the XFL without him. Ben DiNucci, Garrett Gilbert, Andy Dalton ... these guys have not dissuaded me from thinking Prescott, like Tony Romo before him, has been propping up a poorly run, dysfunctional franchise. The Vikings are under .500 but have shown signs of improvement the last few weeks. Now they look like the playoff team oddsmakers pegged them as before the season. Coach Mike Zimmer will not take any matchup for granted, much less one against his former team. The Vikings will do what the rest of the league has done most of the season — beat up on the Cowboys. Dallas will not win Sunday and might not win again until September.