If you are still alive in your Survivor pool at this point, you may want to consider spending a few bucks on a Powerball or Mega Millions ticket. The Jacksonville Jaguars became the latest big favorite to go down, as they lost 13-6 to the Texans in Week 6. That loss wiped out nearly 37% of the remaining contestants in the Circa Survivor Contest and likely a similar rate or more in your pools.
For those that are still alive in Week 6, there are some very attractive options on the card, as there are three teams favored by a touchdown or more. Given the low percentage of people alive in your pool at this point, it may not be worth getting super cute from this point forward. Just ask the people that didn’t take the Bills last week.
GAMES TO CONSIDER
Green Bay Packers (-7) over New York Jets
The Packers are coming off a really disappointing loss to the Giants in London, so you’ve got an angry team against an inferior opponent. The Jets took advantage of Miami’s quarterback injuries to hang a 40-burger and come away with an impressive victory, but some short fields made that game look a lot worse than it was.
Green Bay has some positive regression signs that should come to fruition sooner rather than later with a QB like Aaron Rodgers. The Packers are 13th in yards per play with 5.7, but 26th in percentage of possessions ending with a score. They’re ninth in red zone touchdown percentage and a perfect 6-for-6 in field goals, so it comes down to where the turnovers have taken place. Matt LaFleur is a good head coach and Rodgers is a future Hall of Famer, so those issues should dissipate soon -- maybe even this week.
Los Angeles Rams (-11) over Carolina Panthers
The Rams are likely to face PJ Walker this week and a Panthers team undergoing a lot of transition. The team is reportedly open to a fire sale, including Christian McCaffrey, after firing Matt Rhule on Monday. Carolina is 28th in points per drive and that doesn’t seem like a number likely to go up, though Walker may not be any worse than Baker Mayfield at this point.
The risk here is in backing a Rams team that looks like a shell of what it was last season. The offensive line has been awful and Sean McVay has not been able to crack the code and get things fixed; only the Steelers have averaged fewer yards per play than the Rams and that’s only by decimal points. The Rams have only scored on 31.4% of their possessions.
Fortunately, Los Angeles shouldn’t have to score much to be able to win this game.
San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) over Atlanta Falcons
It will be a little while until you can take the 49ers, who play the Chiefs, Rams and Chargers in the next three games. Honestly, the best place to take them would be on Christmas Eve against the Commanders moving forward, but that’s a long time to wait --and your Survivor pool may be over by then.
In the only game that the 49ers have lost since Week 1, they held the Broncos to just 3.7 yards per play. San Francisco went 1-for-10 on third down in what was Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start and essentially like a second preseason game for him. Easy wins over the Rams and Panthers followed.
San Francisco stayed east at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, so it’s not like they went from Charlotte back to the Bay Area and have a return trip to Atlanta. The 49ers have some injury worries, but they’ve allowed a league-best 4.0 yards per play and opponents have only scored on 21.8% of their possessions, which also leads the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
The Buccaneers took the fourth quarter off against the Falcons, but it was a pretty dominant performance up to that point in building a 21-0 lead. The Bucs were only 2-for-5 in the red zone, which made the game a lot closer than it needed to be, but Brady got a lot of reps in (51 pass attempts), which should help moving forward as the wide receiver corps gets healthier.
Perhaps the most important development of last week was that Leonard Fournette had 139 all-purpose yards and a couple of touchdowns. When the Bucs are going well, Fournette is being productive. Tampa Bay was also 9-for-16 on third down and now faces a Pittsburgh team in disarray. The Steelers D is faltering and the offense is going nowhere fast with Kenny Pickett and a poor offensive line.
The Steelers have allowed the third-most yards in the NFL and are fortunate that opponents have only scored on 36.2% of their possessions. Pittsburgh’s 10 takeaways are the main reason, but we know that Brady and the Bucs take great care of the football. Without T.J. Watt, the Steelers aren’t getting pressure at a high rate, and that should allow Brady to pick them apart to the point where Pickett and the offense can’t keep up.