As we enter Week 2 in the NFL, I write this from the survivor afterlife, as my bold pick of the Detroit Lions didn’t come through. Per Warren Sharp, since 2006 there had been 782 teams that led by 17 points in the fourth quarter of a game, and only three had lost; the Lions were team No. 4.
The strategy of using “the team playing the Jaguars” went up in smoke early Sunday as well, and Gardner Minshew’s impressive performance may scare off those who look to fade the Jags week in and week out. It’s hard to be historically bad, like some suggested the Jaguars would be, when a team is led by a competent quarterback.
Thankfully, most survivor pools offer the option to re-buy into the contest and make amends for an ill-fated early selection gone wrong. On that optimistic note, we look ahead to Week 2, and attempt to dance through the raindrops en route to eventual survivor glory.
Here are our survivor pool picks for Week 2:
Arizona Cardinals -7 over Washington Football Team
It’s strange to see the Cardinals laying this big of a number. The winner of this game will be 2-0, and come Monday, will be the early surprise story of the league. Arizona is improved and fun, but I don’t trust them yet -- and neither should you. Washington overcame a modest 3.4 yards per play against the Eagles to win going away, a testament to how talented it is on defense. Close game, and a stay-away.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -9 over Carolina Panthers
I was down on the Bucs coming into the year, and higher than most on the Patriots. However, those who are using a Pats win over Miami and a Bucs loss in New Orleans as evidence of anything significant are doing so prematurely. With no preseason and a limited offseason, I will let the new parts jell a little more before I turn in Tom Brady’s new team as my selection. The Bucs are an intriguing option, but let’s look elsewhere.
San Francisco 49ers -7 over New York Jets
Adam Gase may be on a studio show breaking down these games if he’s not on the winning side of some of them soon. The Jets’ performance last Sunday made them look like a serious contender to draft Trevor Lawrence next April, but the 49ers are banged up and will be traveling west to east, playing at 1 p.m. ET. Not only is it not an ideal spot, but the Super Bowl hangover is real, and I’m not sure the defending conference champs are immune. They not only lost to the Cardinals, but blew a 10-0 lead, and still seem to be trying to win around their quarterback as opposed to winning because of him. Thanks, but no thanks.
Tennessee Titans -10 over Jacksonville Jaguars
As impressive as Minshew and the Jags were a week ago, there is still a major gulf in talent between these two squads. Additionally, I’m sure Titans coach Mike Vrabel has some motivational tactics up his sleeve. He can not only point to Jacksonville’s Week 1 upset as a reason for his team to not overlook the opponent, but Vrabel’s team was also beaten soundly last year by the Jags. The 26-3 beating the Titans took early in ‘19 will keep this team focused. Vrabel played most of his career for Bill Belichick, and knows the importance of not overlooking anyone. As crazy as 2020 is, the Jaguars being 2-0 would be about as strange as anything. The Titans win comfortably and improve to 2-0.