NFL Survivor pool picks Week 2

By Adam Burke  ( Managing Editor) 

September 12, 2023 12:30 PM

NFL Survivor picks for Week 2

The term “Survivor” never seemed to ring truer in Week 1 than it did this past week. The Ravens ultimately pulled away from the Texans and won convincingly, but it took a lot of time and it was a 7-6 game at halftime. The bigger scare was pretty terrifying throughout, as the Commanders barely got past the Cardinals by a 20-16 count and trailed 16-10 going into the fourth quarter.

The Vikings did lose and eliminated a big chunk of Survivor pool participants. The Seahawks did a bit of damage as well. “Survive and advance” is the name of the game and for those who did survive, it was a big sigh of relief to make it to Week 2.

Last week’s pick here was the Commanders and they did win, so I’ll keep playing the game. As I mentioned last week, I’ll be following the traditional rules and cross off teams as I use them until I get eliminated. I’ll also be sharing the picks that make sense as considerations, but ultimately settle on one team to be the pick.

I wrote about contest strategies, including Survivor, in our Updated 2023 NFL Betting Guide. Those aren’t the only strategies to employ, but they are at least some different things to think about for this season, especially if you are new to this type of contest.

NFL Survivor Picks to Consider

Dallas Cowboys over New York Jets

If your Survivor contest uses Thanksgiving as its own week, those that are alive in Week 2 have a brutal and difficult choice to make. The Cowboys may not be the best option. The three games on Thanksgiving are Packers/Lions, Commanders/Cowboys, and 49ers/Seahawks. The Cowboys are the easy choice there and maybe the only choice.

Now, of course, we just saw Aaron Rodgers get hurt, so anything can happen and really alter the outcome of a game between now and whatever week you planned to use a team. If Jared Goff or Jordan Love are hurt at that time, the dynamics change. So, that’s the risk you take and the skill (or luck) that comes into Survivor.

If your contest doesn’t use Thanksgiving, the Cowboys are an option this week and also next week at the Cardinals. I’m using the “traditional” rules, which would not have the Circa Million wrinkle of Thanksgiving, but for the sake of argument, let’s increase the degree of difficulty a bit.

San Francisco 49ers over Los Angeles Rams

The Rams really stunned a lot of people with their huge second half against the Seahawks without Cooper Kupp, but this line implies a low-percentage chance of lightning striking twice. San Francisco may have been the most impressive team in Week 1 with that dominant win over the Steelers. The line is reflective of that and the 49ers are one of the biggest favorites on the board.

I’m not enamored with the idea of taking a division road team when I don’t have to and that’s the case here. We’ll have plenty of chances to take the 49ers, which is not always the case for teams in a Survivor setting. I’m mostly mentioning them here because of the line and because Brock Purdy silenced some critics and dissenters with that performance in the Steel City.

Denver Broncos over Washington Commanders

I have to say that I really gave this one a lot of thought. I thought that Russell Wilson did some good things in Week 1, but the Broncos left some points on the board and wound up losing the game. The defense played really well, though, and held the Raiders below five yards per play. The Commanders held themselves below five yards per play against Arizona and barely escaped with that victory.

Heading to altitude for Week 2 is a bit tough for Washington. Sam Howell took a beating at times in the Cardinals game and had to pass concussion tests to come back into action. It also looks like there is a bit of dysfunction between head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Statistically, and by the relatively low spread, Denver may not seem to be an optimal choice here, but I think they are worthy of consideration and might be a play worth taking because there aren’t many other spots to take them.

NFL Survivor Pick for Week 2

Buffalo Bills over Las Vegas Raiders

The Bills are favored by almost double digits against the Raiders. Buffalo did not play well against the Jets and turnovers played a big role, but you have to think Josh Allen plays better in Week 2 after shaking off what looked to be a ton of rust. 

Credit to the Raiders, who did beat the Broncos in Week 1, but they had just 4.7 yards per play in that game. That won’t get it done against Allen & Company, even with that lackluster MNF performance against the Jets.

The Jets have done really well against the Bills in recent seasons, especially against Allen. The Raiders don’t have as many data points for reference and are back on the road for a long trip and an early kickoff here. Also, Jakobi Meyers is in concussion protocol after being the team’s top receiver against Denver. Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs failed to find a lot of unoccupied real estate against the Broncos and the Bills should be able to find similar success.

After some scares last week, I think this is the obvious play, especially because Dallas is compromised if you do have to worry about holidays as a standalone entity.

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