NFL Survivor Pool: Week 1
Football is back BABY!!!!! Tie your shoes and strap on your helmet because it’s time to welcome you back for another year of Survivor. Every week I will try and guide you through the gauntlet of the NFL season to see if we can avoid the weekly landmines in the NFL schedule and survive the entire season again.
HOW TO PLAY SURVIVOR
Every week you must pick one NFL team to win their respective game on the schedule straight-up. If the team you selected wins, you continue to play the following week. If your team loses, you're eliminated. This process continues onward until there is only one soul Survivor left.
Here's the catch, you can only pick each team just once. So the further along you go, the fewer teams you have to choose from, which makes things difficult in a hurry.
There are two main strategies for Survivor. One is just picking the most favored team of the week available, which usually tends to be the most popular pick for the week. The other strategy is being calculated and picking a lower favored team, hoping that the popular selection for the week gets upset, clearing the way for victory. This second option requires you to project and prepare accordingly.
WHO TO PICK FOR WEEK 1
Unlike last year, this season, some preseason games let us all get a little taste of what will lie ahead. Although most starters barely played, it was nice to see them get some reps before the season's commencement so that they don’t head into the season without taking any hits from opponents. So now, let’s take a look at the Week 1 slate.
NFL Week 1 Schedule
Cowboys at Buccaneers: Buccaneers -7.5
Steelers at Bills: Bills -6.5
Jets at Panthers: Panthers -5
Jaguars at Texans: Texans +5
Cardinals at Titans: Titans -3
Chargers at Washington: Washington +1
Eagles at Falcons: Falcons -3.5
Seahawks at Colts: Colts +2.5
Vikings at Bengals: Bengals +3.5
49ers at Lions: Lions +7.5
Browns at Chiefs: Chiefs -6
Dolphins at Patriots: Patriots -3
Broncos at Giants: Giants +2.5
Packers at Saints: Saints +3
Bears at Rams: Rams -7
Ravens at Raiders: Raiders +4
Who knows what to expect for Week 1 but looking over the schedule, here are some possible options for us this week: the Buccaneers at home favored by -7.5 over the Cowboys, the Bills at home favored by -6.5 over the Steelers, the Panthers at home favored by -5 over the Jets, the 49ers on the road favored +7.5 over the Lions, the Chiefs at home favored by -6 over the Browns, and the Rams at home favored by -7 over the Bears.
Three games have a team favored by seven or more points. The Buccaneers kick-off the season on Thursday night at home, getting their championship rings so expect the team to be hyped up for the contest. The only worry about this game is that the Cowboys have the firepower on offense to pull off an upset, so this game may be one to pass on this week. Next, we have the favored 49ers on the road facing the new-look Lions. This game could be an option as many of the Lions are projected to be a bottom feeder this season. I tend to fade road favorites if possible, but this one is an intriguing option. The third game pits the Rams at home on Sunday night, favored by a touchdown against the Bears. Coach Sean McVay has been itching to let his new quarterback take the wheel of this offense, and now Matthew Stafford gets to do so in primetime. The Rams defense is no joke, and they will be gunning to make Andy Dalton uncomfortable in the pocket. This contest is definitely one to consider and might be a popular pick this week.
The next batch of games have teams favored by under seven, so these match-ups need to be analyzed further. First, we have the Bills facing the Steelers at Orchard Park. This game looks to me like a nail-biter written all over it. These two playoff contenders will go toe-to-toe until the final whistle. For me, this one is an easy pass because I don’t need an ulcer while watching this game, hoping for the Bills to eke out a win. Next, in Kansas City, the Chiefs face-off against the up incoming Browns. The Browns have a strong pass rush and a solid defense that could make things interesting for Mahomes and his crew. The Chiefs should win this one, but I’d rather keep the Chiefs in my back pocket for another week later in the season.
At last, we come to the most intriguing game for Week 1 in my book, and that is the Panthers at home against the Jets. I know what you're saying; this looks like one to stay away from but here me out. First of all, the Panthers have Christian McCaffrey on their side, so they are already ahead right there. Next, we have the Sam Darnold revenge game narrative. The Jets gave up on the former first-rounder this past offseason as they wanted to head in another direction and traded Darnold to the Panthers. So Darnold's wound is still fresh in his mind, and he is ready to make them pay. Furthermore, Darnold’s weapons are top-shelf with former teammate Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, hotshot rookie Terrace Marshall Jr., and McCaffrey. That is a pretty sweet list of weaponry right there. The only thing that tempers my enthusiasm for the Panthers is new Jets head coach Robert Saleh, a defensive mastermind who will have the Jets ready to play. This game is definitely one to contemplate using.
Two teams really stick out to me for Week 1. If you want to play it safe, the Rams over the Bears are a very nice option. However, if you are thinking of strategy-wise and want to hold the Rams later, the Panthers over the Jets are also an excellent pick. After mulling these two games over, ultimately, I decided to play it safe and pick the Rams over the Bears for Week 1.
If you would like to discuss this further or have any fantasy questions, you can reach out to me on Twitter at @smooth1074. I wish you all luck this weekend and hope you can survive week 1.