Best Week 16 NFL survivor pool picks

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Many times this NFL season we’ve recapped the previous week while lamenting the lack of upsets. But the predictability vanished Sunday, along with Jets fans’ hopes of drafting Trevor Lawrence first overall (maybe). Hopefully a few of the 16 Circa survivor contestants who turned in the Rams as their selection for Week 15 hedged by taking the Jets + 17. The Jets were as high as + 1300 on the moneyline as they not only stunned the Rams but pushed them behind the Seahawks in the NFC West. However, being the fifth seed may be a better fate than being the third seed, considering the No. 5 seed will draw the NFC East champs while the No. 3 seed will likely play the Bucs.

Will Week 16 bring more madness? Let’s look at who’s left and find a winner for the penultimate week of the season.

Here are my Week 16 NFL survivor pool picks:

Games To Consider

Saints (-7) over Vikings: A Christmas special, I’m sure Sean Payton and the Saints would love to stuff the Vikings’ stocking with a loss that would eliminate them from playoff contention. The Vikings ended the Saints’ season two of the last three years in the playoffs, both in devastating walk-off fashion. The Saints can return the favor Friday and will likely gain a measure of revenge against a team that has major flaws in all three phases. Drew Brees returned Sunday against the Chiefs and did not look good early but settled in as the game progressed. He will have a comfortable opponent this week, as the Vikings are near the bottom of the league at pressuring the quarterback and are nurturing a young secondary. Many of you might have used the Saints by now, but if not, they are a viable option.

Bears (-6) over Jaguars: One has to wonder if the champagne is still flowing in the Jacksonville front office after the Jets’ victory Sunday propelled the Jaguars into the pole position in the Lawrence sweepstakes. On one hand, there’s no way they can win and spoil their shot at this transcendent quarterback, right? On the other hand, coach Doug Marrone will almost certainly not be back, and Gardner Minshew is playing for a job and an eventual contract. Think he wants to play poorly just so his team can upgrade at his position? It’s a fascinating thought exercise to debate to what extent teams tank. I know this: The Jaguars are limited in talent but played the Browns to a two-point game, the Packers to a four-point game and took the Vikings to overtime. They have played hard -- though not always well -- all year and will do so again Sunday. Maybe Lawrence ends up in New York after all?

Browns (-9.5) over Jets: In “Major League 2,” Cleveland manager Lou Brown gathers his struggling team the day after a win and sarcastically tells them: “We won a game yesterday. If we win today, that’s called two in a row. And if we win again tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.” Not sure whether Adam Gase has seen the movie, but it would be a fitting speech for his squad after Sunday’s stunning win over the Rams. This game can be looked at two ways. The Jets will be satisfied to avoid the stink of 0-16 and will not have the same fire this week. Or they’ve gotten off the schneid and will relax and play free and easy against the Browns. Either way, the more talented Browns should prevail, and this game might clinch Cleveland a playoff spot (!!!) if it wins. 

The Pick

Texans (-10) over Bengals: Not surprising to see a 4-10 team in a game with a double-digit spread ... except the four-win team is favored because, well, 2020. The Bengals were a horrible team propped up by electric rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. That electricity was zapped a month ago when Burrow injured his knee against Washington. Since then the Bengals have been a punching bag and are headed for (yet another) top-five pick, even with Monday night’s impressive win. The Texans have lost a number of Deshaun Watson’s top weapons in recent weeks, including dynamic playmaker Will Fuller. Similar to the Bengals with Burrow, the Texans are a poor team with a simply outstanding player at the most important position. For all their shortcomings and mediocrity, the Texans are still far superior to these dreadful Bengals, who are simply playing without a professional-caliber quarterback. For those who didn’t use the Texans in either matchup against the Jaguars, this will be a popular play and one that should get you safely into the final week of your survivor pool.

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