Survivor pools: Best picks for Week 5 NFL games

By Adam Burke  ( 

October 5, 2022 10:34 AM

Imagine a week in which the Jacksonville Jaguars might be the most popular NFL Survivor pick. Not only would that have been unthinkable for several years running, but it still takes a lot of getting used to in 2022. A lot of things are different around the league these days, along with the number of stunning outright upsets that we’ve seen early in the season. Survivor players may finally get a respite this week.

There were eight games with lookahead lines of at least -6, which is the first time this season that we’ve seen so many big discrepancies between teams. That means a lot of strategy comes into play this week in terms of the teams that you want to use and those that you want to save.

Here are the top options for Week 5.


Buffalo Bills (-14) over Pittsburgh Steelers

How can you not think long and hard about taking the Bills in this spot? This is the largest favorite role of the season and quite possibly the largest that Buffalo will have. The only logical reason to stay off the Bills is a really good one: There are a lot of other teams that you can take this week to save Buffalo for a more difficult set of games.

If you are in the Circa Survivor or your contest follows those rules, the Bills are one of six teams in action on Thanksgiving and they take on the Lions, where they’ll be a sizable road favorite. They’ll also be big favorites against the Jets twice and at the Bears on Christmas Eve. -- and nice favorites over the Browns at home. This looks like a complete “gimme” and a free space on Survivor bingo to advance to the next week, but the equity in saving Buffalo with so many other options may outweigh taking the easy way out.

That is definitely easier said than done with Kenny Pickett’s first NFL start coming off of three interceptions in relief of Mitch Trubisky, but you have to keep in mind that you are playing to go 18-0 and saving the Bills adds equity to your entry.

New Orleans Saints (-6) over Seattle Seahawks

You’ve already read this point from me, but you must pick at least 18 of the 32 NFL teams to win Survivor most seasons. This year may be different with large swaths of the field eliminated due to early-season upsets, but there are going to be times when you have to take a decent team against a bad team because you can’t take all of the best teams.

This could be one of those spots. The Saints likely won’t be a bigger favorite than this moving forward, with the exception of the Dec. 18 game against the Falcons. Seattle is in a back-to-back road spot with games in Detroit and New Orleans, so this is a terrible spot. One obvious concern is that the Saints just played in London last week, but they are the better team and this is likely to be their highest or second-highest pregame win probability.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8) over Atlanta Falcons

I started this article by talking about how insane it feels to be seriously looking at the Jaguars. Now imagine a scenario in which you genuinely don’t feel comfortable backing Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Survivor. This is clearly not the same Tampa Bay team. They’ve been hurt badly by injuries at wide receiver and on the offensive line, and Brady is starting to look his age.

There are other favorite roles on the horizon that may interest you. The Falcons look much improved and the Bucs still have two games left with Carolina and will also be a big favorite in Munich against Seattle in Week 10. That also gives you the luxury to wait for some of the skill guys to return and the offensive line to stabilize. As over a touchdown favorite, the Bucs warranted a mention, but I don’t think this is the week to take them.


Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5) over Houston Texans

The Jaguars got humbled a little bit last week by the Eagles. The game ended 29-21, but was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. Jacksonville mustered just 4.8 yards per play, ran 31 fewer plays and got outgained by over 180 yards. Frankly, that makes them a perfect candidate for a bounce back against the Texans.

Jacksonville lost four fumbles and had an interception against Philadelphia. Three of those four fumbles resulted in short touchdown drives for the Eagles. The interception took place in the red zone when the Jaguars were trailing 20-14. This very easily could have been a different game with some better bounces and a little more good fortune. Up until this game, the Jaguars had played really well in their first three games.

The Texans are the only winless team remaining in the NFL. They’ve been one of the worst rushing defenses this season and have allowed 15 opponents’ trips into the red zone. This is the third road game in four weeks for Houston if you’re into situational spots and also just the second home game for the Jaguars. Jacksonville was + 8 in turnover margin prior to the bad fumble luck last week. The Jaguars are a much more complete team and this is the best opportunity to take this team for the foreseeable future.

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A Numbers Game: An easy place to get a leg up for new bettors is just shopping futures prices. It is easy to find major differences often. i.e. Virginia 30-1 vs 16-1. View more tips.

Follow The Money: Bet as early as possible when bowl lines come out. Lines can move more than a TD in 2-3 weeks before a game. View more tips.

Gill Alexander: Seahawks -7 vs Browns.  View more picks.

Wes Reynolds: Jets +3 at Vikings.  View more picks.