NFL Survivor picks for Week 4
Well, it happened. Three times, actually. Three huge favorites went down in Week 3 and took out large swaths of the Survivor field. The Jaguars wiped out nearly 41% of the field in the Circa Survivor, as contestants were forced to hold back the Cowboys and Chiefs for the holiday weeks. The Ravens also came up short at home against the Colts in overtime.
Sometimes it’s better to just go 1-0 instead of plotting out the path to go 18-0 (or 20-0 for the Circa), but those are two of the contest strategies I talked about coming into the season. The win-now mindset might help you advance, but it might hurt you down the line. Then again, for those that took the Cowboys, they weren’t good enough either, so it was only those who picked the Chiefs that are alive to tell the tale today.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m playing this thing out for real until I can’t anymore, at which point I’ll shuffle all 32 teams back into the hopper. Thus far, the picks have been the Commanders (Week 1), Bills (Week 2), and Chiefs (Week 3). I’m just playing the 18-week game here, since not every reader is part of the Circa or a similar contest.
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NFL Survivor Picks to Consider
It can’t happen again, can it? The Cowboys lost to the Cardinals last week to eliminate a big chunk of Survivor pools. They are back at home this week and are coming off of an embarrassing loss, so we should be a get effort from Dallas at Jerry World.
The Patriots have only mustered 52 points in three games and just 4.7 yards per play. The defense still grades out as a top-five unit, but facing Zach Wilson will do that. That being said, it seems like holding the Dolphins to 24 points is a massive win given what they’ve done in their other two games.
Still, the Cowboys are one of the biggest favorites on the board this week and we’d all like to think that they’re going to get back on track and do what they’re supposed to do against an inferior opponent. They’ve got more time to adjust to the loss of Trevon Diggs this week, which should help the defense tremendously. Week 7 at home against the Rams off of a bye might be a better place to take them if you don’t have to worry about Turkey Day.
Survivor sweats are way more common than they should be, but the Chiefs were about as sweat-free as it gets against the haplessly incompetent Bears. The Chiefs have actually looked really, really good the last two weeks, as they dominated the box score against Jacksonville and then beat the Bears senseless.
The Jets have averaged a whopping 4.2 yards per play, while Kansas City has picked up 5.8. Even the Jets defense ranks 19th in EPA/play, so that unit hasn’t been nearly as strong as expected and won’t be getting a whole lot of help from the offense anytime soon. The Chiefs boast a top-five defense in EPA/play, opponents’ success rate, and should be able to hold or improve those numbers this week against Gang Green.
I’ve already used them, but if you haven’t, this might be the week. The Chiefs do play Denver at home on Thursday in Week 6, so that’s a spot where they may be a bigger favorite than this if you want to hold them back.
You might have the chance to go against Brian Hoyer in this one, as Jimmy Garoppolo started the week in concussion protocol. The Chargers had all sorts of problems with the Vikings in a game that we knew would have a script even a Disney writer high on psychedelics couldn’t come up with, but they survived and advanced.
The Week 1 loss to the Dolphins doesn’t look all that bad now and they’ve moved the football effectively in every game on offense. Backing Brandon Staley seems terrifying, but the Raiders could be very shorthanded and WR Davante Adams already isn’t happy, so that’s an ongoing situation to monitor.
Overall, though, I just mentioned them because of the line and the fact that they aren’t as obvious. The Chargers host the Bears in Week 8 and that will be the spot to deploy them.
It is a short week for the Eagles, but at least they’re at home here against the Commanders. Well, that and they’re playing the Commanders. Washington had a myriad of issues with the Cardinals in Week 1 and I’m really fortunate to have dodged that bullet. Then they beat the Broncos in Week 2 after falling behind by a ton and surviving a two-point conversion attempt. Then they got the doors blown off in Week 3 by Buffalo.
The Eagles are way closer to the Bills than those other two teams, so it stands to reason that Philly would take care of business in this one. Sam Howell has taken a bunch of shots already and Philadelphia’s offense is well-tailored to neutralize the Washington front four by getting the ball out quickly.
As great as the Eagles project to be, finding spots to use them is tricky. Three of the next four games are on the road (Rams Week 5, Jets Week 6, Commanders Week 8), though they’ll be favored in all of them. Week 17 against Arizona at home looks like the sweet spot, if the Eagles are healthy and have something to play for. This might be the spot to take them and save the 49ers.
NFL Survivor Pick for Week 4
Or, we can just go ahead and take the obvious team and hope for a sweat-free Sunday. Arizona’s win over Dallas should serve as a warning shot for the Niners, who are on extra prep and are playing a division game, so I would hope that they’d be fully prepared and invested. I do think Jonathan Gannon has done an incredible job with the Cardinals so far, but it is hard to argue that Kyle Shanahan is one of the top coaches in the NFL and a lot different from Mike McCarthy.
The 49ers defense is fourth in EPA/play and the offense is second in EPA/play. As exciting as Arizona’s win was, their body of work doesn’t rival that, ranking 11th on offense and 20th in defense. Hey, I don’t need San Francisco to cover the spread. I just need them to win the football game. San Francisco is +48 in point differential already and looks to be the best team in the NFL.
Admittedly, I was extremely torn with taking San Francisco over Philadelphia. But, I just think Washington is a better team than Arizona and that scares me enough to go with what I think is the safer play. Since 1989, there have been 23 teams that have lost as a favorite of 14 or more points. There have been 235 that have won, so that’s 91.1%. If this game falls in the 8.9%, so be it.