Halfway home! Somehow (and quite sadly), we are on the back nine of the NFL season. It feels like just moments ago we were sitting down to watch the Texans and Chiefs in the Thursday night opener. But for the purposes of survivor contests, the closer you can navigate toward the finish line means fewer competitors -- and fewer correct picks needed until victory. Week 8 went back to business as usual, meaning a couple of big surprises as the Bengals and Vikings eliminated those who were confident enough to pick against them.
Which team should you pick in Week 9 to avoid a similar fate?
Here are my Week 9 NFL survivor pools plays:
Teams to consider
Tennessee Titans (-7) over Chicago Bears
Sneaky potential play on the Titans, which are one of the more heavily favored teams this week. It’s fairly strange to see a 5-3 team (formerly 5-1) like the Bears as a touchdown underdog to a team like the Titans, who are coming off a loss and struggle on defense. Surely the Titans will be focused, but how much can we trust a team that just lost convincingly to the Bengals? If you have no better options, maybe you can get away with fading a Bears team that has crashed after a hot -- but fluky -- start. Somewhat tempting, but let’s pass.
Kansas City Chiefs (-12) over Carolina Panthers
You know the rule: You can pick the Chiefs any week, and it’s usually a worthy choice. They are as good as they are fun, and they will likely win comfortably again Sunday. Having used them last week, I am obligated to look elsewhere, as I’m sure many contestants will have to do as well. If not, maybe it’s still best to save them for future weeks.
New England Patriots (-7.5) over New York Jets
Any team playing the Jets has been a pretty good team to back. (Perfect, actually). New England is certainly an intriguing option, but only because of its opponent. They suited up six wide receivers last week, and all were undrafted. The Patriots will likely win this game because ... they’re not the Jets? But with the state of New England’s offense, expect this game to be close and ugly. Pass.
Pittsburgh Steelers (no line) over Dallas Cowboys
If you watched the Cowboys play the Eagles on Sunday night, a) I’m sorry, b) you’re never getting those three hours of your life back and c) you know this is the correct play. Letdown spot or not, the Steelers (7-0) might score more points than the Cowboys will gain yards. The decimated offense of America’s Team had a hard time moving the football past the line of scrimmage Sunday and will now face the most ferocious defensive line in the league. This one looked to be a ratings monster when the schedule was released, but it will be a snoozer and an easy victory for survivor players. Pick the Steelers and start to look ahead to Week 10.