NFL Survivor picks for Week 3
Week 3 of the NFL season could bring some sweat-free Survivor picks. It could also bring the kind of result that wipes out a large chunk of participants. With double-digit favorites on the card, it seems like an obvious choice can be made and all doubt can be removed. Of course, we all know better than to take something like that for granted, right?
The Cowboys and the Chiefs will be the first official double-digit favorites of the season at the closing line. The 49ers may stay that way on Thursday Night Football. Jacksonville might get there as well, but the Jaguars are currently only -9.5 against the Texans. Per the Killer Sports database, there were 30 double-digit favorites last season. They went 27-3 SU, though they did go 11-19 ATS, so you could get a sweat, but you are very likely to get a victory and move on.
The losers? The Buccaneers in Week 7 against the Panthers, the Bills in Week 9 against the Jets, and the Eagles in Week 10 against the Commanders. Will disaster be averted this week or will your Survivor pool look a lot different going into Week 4?
As mentioned in the last two editions, I’m playing this according to the rules until I lose. So far, the official picks have been the Washington Commanders in Week 1 and the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.
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NFL Survivor Picks to Consider
The Cowboys had very little trouble last week with the Jets, so it stands to reason that they won’t have much trouble with the Cardinals. Arizona head coach Jonathan Gannon did concoct a defensive scheme against Dallas four times as the defensive coordinator of the Eagles. Back in 2021, the Cowboys scored 41 points in the first game and 51 in the second game. In 2022, Dallas was held to 17 points in the first meeting without Dak Prescott, but scored 40 points in the second one.
While the Cardinals have played extremely hard and maybe should be 2-0 instead of 0-2, Gannon does not have nearly the talent level that he had in Philly. Add in the appearance of Budda Baker on the IR and the task of slowing down Prescott and the Cowboys offense becomes even tougher.
Dallas is a great pick for anybody without the Thanksgiving wrinkle. Sure, you have to have enough 1-0 weeks for it to matter, but the Cowboys look like the best of the Turkey Day/Black Friday choices at home against the Commanders. Even though my weekly article is not bound by that rule, some contestants are, including those in the Circa Million, so I’ll leave Dallas to the side. If you don’t have that wrinkle and didn’t use them last week against the Jets, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking them here.
Based on the spread, this game has to at least be a consideration, but the Ravens are coming off of a division game against the Bengals and are still dealing with a lot of injuries. That being said, the Colts have seen Anthony Richardson leave each of their first two games and he’s in concussion protocol heading into this one.
The Colts beat the Texans last week and the game wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated, but this is a big step up in class. The Ravens have only allowed 4.3 yards per play through two games and have outgained the opposition by a full yard per play.
Looking at the big picture, is there a better spot to take Baltimore? The Ravens are on the road against Arizona in Week 8, where they will be favored, but maybe not by more than a touchdown. Things could look even bleaker for the Browns by Week 10, but that seems like a dicey spot to wait on. The Ravens do play the Rams in Week 14 coming off of a bye for an early kickoff with an LA team that could be picked apart by trades and trying for Caleb Williams by then.
The optimal spot to take Baltimore was probably in Week 1 against Houston. This may be the second-best spot.
Full disclosure, I left off 49ers over Giants because it’s on Thursday night and would be irrelevant for readers after that point. I could certainly understand taking them, but the Dolphins are a perfectly viable option this week against the Broncos. Denver jumped out to a big lead at home against the Commanders and lost the game to fall to 0-2. Squandering opportunities in the Mile High City is not great.
Sunday’s weather forecast in Miami calls for a chance of rain with temperatures in the upper 80s and a heat index in the mid-90s. That seems suboptimal for Denver. Of course, the more suboptimal element for the Broncos has been the play of Russell Wilson and Sean Payton looks like an angry father whose son just backed into the neighbor’s mailbox every time the camera finds him.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are humming along offensively like a well-oiled machine. In Week 1, it was the passing game. In Week 2, it was the running game. The Dolphins have gained a full yard per play more than any other team.
If the Dolphins become one of the league’s best teams, this will not be the last chance to use them. In fact, I’d prefer waiting until Week 6 when they host Carolina to deploy them, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about them here.
Honorable Mention: The Jaguars are obviously another team to think about this week, but, man, that offense looks out of sorts. Trevor Lawrence isn't creating much down the field and the running game has averaged 3.4 yards per carry. I'd rather wait until they get it going and find a week with fewer choices to sneak them through.
NFL Survivor Pick for Week 3
KISS, while not only a bad-ass band, is also an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Well, this is about as simple as it gets. I also think this is a perfect time to use the Chiefs because they don’t look great, but the Bears look about as bad as any NFL team has looked through two weeks in recent memory.
If Kansas City ends up not reaching expectations or even being mediocre, you will be hard-pressed to find chances to use them down the line. The Week 6 game against Denver is on a short week and maybe that’s a good spot. Maybe Week 4 on the road at the Jets is a good spot, but that’s still a good Jets defense and it is a road game, but the 49ers over the Cardinals will be a ridiculously popular (and probably proper) pick that week. As I mentioned, I’m seeing Week 6 as the one to use the Dolphins.
The Chiefs only scored 17 points last week, but they were clear box score winners against the Jaguars with two more yards per play (6.2 to 4.2). Kansas City also had three kneel downs beginning at the one-yard-line to end the game.
The Bears have allowed six yards per play and the Chiefs are still a top-five offense in that department. Chicago has managed just 4.5 yards per play on offense. It seems like it will be difficult for the Bears to keep up if the Chiefs start converting their yardage into points.
I’ll roll with the Chiefs in Week 3.