NFL Survivor Leagues are something that has picked up in popularity over the decade. It’s because it’s a fun way to gamble, with not a whole lot of thinking involved, and to be honest with you….it SOUNDS like an easy way to make some big money. However, it’s a lot harder than you think. For those of you who don’t know how a survivor league works, let me explain…..
Every week you pick just ONE team that is 100% sure to win their game that week and after you use that team….you can’t use them again the rest of the year.
That’s it. One game. One team. Sure sounds easy, right?
It’s not. The NFL is a league that is built around parity and upsets happen every week. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people eliminated from a survivor league in week one because they picked a SURE FIRE winner only to have it explode in their face. It happens all the time and it’ll probably happen again this week.
That’s where this column comes in handy. Every week I will take a look at the NFL match-ups and I’ll tell you which ones I like the most as it pertains to survivor leagues. I’m here to help you guys win money in your leagues. I do the research so you don’t have to. I know, I know. You can thank me later with your thousands of dollars you win thanks to this column.
Green Bay Packers (0-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0)
Green Bay’s Record in Jacksonville: 2-1
Green Bay’s Record vs. Jacksonville: 3-2
Last meeting: Green Bay def. Jacksonville in Green Bay (24-15) in 2012
Green Bay’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 15th
Jacksonville’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 14th
Green Bay’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 12th
Jacksonville’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 31st
Verdict: Stay away. Stay far away. This game could really go either way and there’s absolutely no way I feel comfortable taking either team.
Buffalo Bills (0-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (0-0)
Buffalo’s Record in Baltimore: 1-3
Buffalo’s Record vs. Baltimore: 3-3
Last meeting: Buffalo def. Baltimore in Buffalo (23-20) in 2013
Buffalo’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 12th
Baltimore’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 25th
Buffalo’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 15th
Baltimore’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 24th
Verdict: This is another game that I don’t feel too comfortable taking either team as I really think it could go either way. If I had to pick a team though, I would take the Ravens. The Bills don’t have the greatest record in Baltimore and they weren’t a very good road team last season. Plus, something tells me John Harbaugh wants to get this season off to a roaring start after last year’s disappointment.
Chicago Bears (0-0) @ Houston Texans (0-0)
Chicago’s Record in Houston: 0-1
Chicago’s Record vs. Houston: 0-3
Last meeting: Houston def. Chicago in Chicago (6-13) in 2012
Chicago’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 23rd
Houston’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 21st
Chicago’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 20th
Houston’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 7th
Verdict: I really like the Texans in this game and would take them comfortably. The Bears have yet to beat the Texans since Houston joined the ranks of the NFL. This is a home game for Houston who should be slightly improved team from what they were a year ago….which was still a playoff team. The Texans are trying to wash away the taste of that awful playoff loss from last season and will look to come out and smash Chicago. The only thing that worries me is Houston is incorporating some new offensive pieces into their system so there is a chance the whole thing explodes in our face. Still, I like Houston in this game comfortably.
Cleveland Browns (0-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (0-0)
Cleveland’s Record in Philadelphia: 14-9
Cleveland’s Record vs. Philadelphia: 31-16-1
Last meeting: Philadelphia def. Cleveland in Cleveland (17-16) in 2012
Cleveland’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 30th
Philly’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 13th
Cleveland’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 29th
Philly’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 28th
Verdict: Stay away. Stay far far away. Most of the time, I would probably lean towards ANY team playing a home game vs. Robert Griffin and the Cleveland Browns, but not this one. RG III vs. Carson Wentz sounds like an interesting match-up from a television perspective, but from a survivor league perspective? YUCK! This game could go either way and could end up being an offensive nightmare. If you feel brave though, pick the Eagles. They are a better overall football team than the Browns, but I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in a new head coach and a rookie QB in week one.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) @ Atlanta Falcons (0-0)
Tampa Bay’s Record in Atlanta: 9-12
Tampa Bay’s Record vs. Atlanta: 23-22
Last meeting: Tampa Bay def. Atlanta in Tampa Bay (23-19) in 2015
Tampa Bay’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 20th
Atlanta’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 21st
Tampa Bay’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 26th
Atlanta’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 14th
Verdict: This is another game that scares me. I usually don’t like to pick divisional games in survivor leagues because when you play a team twice a year every year, anything can happen. Plus, the Bucs and the Falcons are pretty even teams in my eyes. They went 1-1 against each other last season and both games were extremely close and came down to the wire. The first meeting between the two in Atlanta last season actually went to overtime. I’m not touching this game in a survivor league. No sir.
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) @ Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Minnesota’s Record in Tennessee: 1-3
Minnesota’s Record vs. Tennessee: 8-4
Last meeting: Minnesota def. Tennessee in Minnesota (30-7) in 2012
Minnesota’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 16th
Tennessee’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 28th
Minnesota’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 5th
Tennessee’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 27th
Verdict: This game is a hard one to pick. Had the Vikings still had Teddy Bridgewater, I think they win comfortably in Tennessee. However, they don’t have Bridgewater and instead they have a 51-year old Shaun Hill going up against a defense that should be improved from last season and that scares me a little. I think the Titans offense is going to have a hard time scoring against the Vikings defense in what will likely be a low-scoring affair. There’s no way I can pick this game in a survivor league though as something tells me it’s going to come down to a field goal.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) vs. New York Jets (0-0)
Cincinnati’s Record in New York: 2-12
Cincinnati’s Record vs. New York: 8-15
Last meeting: Cincinnati def. New York in Cincinnati (49-9) in 2013
Cincinnati’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 7th
New York’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 11th
Cincinnati’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 2nd
New York’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 9th
Verdict: This might surprise some people, but I kind of like the Jets in this one in a sneaky survivor pick. Even though I’m extremely high on the Bengals this year (I have them as an 11-5 playoff team), they don’t have the best of luck against the Jets on the road (2-12 all-time). New York was a sneaky good team last season and they just missed out on the playoffs. Todd Bowles is going to have his guys ready to go in what could end up being a potential playoff preview. This isn’t my most confident pick, but if you’re looking to nail a potential surprise pick on opening weekend….you could do worse than picking the Jets.
Oakland Raiders (0-0) @ New Orleans Saints (0-0)
Oakland’s Record in New Orleans: 2-3-1
Oakland’s Record vs. New Orleans: 5-6-1
Last meeting: New Orleans def. Oakland in Oakland (38-17) in 2012
Oakland’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 17th
New Orleans’ Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 8th
Oakland’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 22nd
New Orleans’ Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 32nd
San Diego Chargers (0-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)
San Diego’s Record in Kansas City: 22-33
San Diego’s Record vs. Kansas City: 54-56-1
Last meeting: Kansas City def. San Diego in Kansas City (10-3) in 2015
San Diego’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 26th
Kansas City’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 9th
San Diego’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 21st
Kansas City’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 3rd
Verdict: Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t like picking division games as they are usually close and can go either way. However, if you are tempted to pick one this week, Kansas City is a tempting choice over the Chargers. The Chiefs have a better roster than the Chargers. They are extremely better coached and it’s a home game for the Chiefs. The Chargers offense has been anemic in Arrowhead the last two meetings and I don’t have whole lot of confidence in them going in this week and lighting up the scoreboard….which is exactly what you need to do to beat Kansas City. I like the Chiefs in this game, but use them at your own risk.
Miami Dolphins (0-0) @ Seattle Seahawks (0-0)
Miami’s Record in Seattle: 3-2
Miami’s Record vs. Seattle: 8-3
Last meeting: Miami def. Seattle in Miami (24-21) in 2012
Miami’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 27th
Seattle’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 4th
Miami’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 19th
Seattle’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 1st
Verdict: Easily the strongest survivor pick of the week. Not only do the Seahawks have a much better roster than the Dolphins, but Miami has to travel all the way cross-country to play in a tough environment. If you’re looking to make sure you last at least through the first week of your survivor pool, you pick the Seahawks and don’t even think twice about it.
Detroit Lions (0-0) @ Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Detroit’s Record in Indianapolis: 9-11-1
Detroit’s Record vs. Indianapolis: 18-21-2
Last meeting: Indianapolis def. Detroit in Indianapolis (35-33) in 2012
Detroit’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 18th
Indianapolis’ Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 24th
Detroit’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 23rd
Indianapolis’ Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 25th
Verdict: There’s no way I’m touching this game. These two teams were both so inconsistent last season that we have no idea what to expect from either one. While I would tend to lead towards picking the Colts to win, the Lions were surprisingly one of the best teams in the NFL to end the season last year (they went 6-2 in their final 8 games) and if that momentum continues….it wouldn’t surprise me to see them come away with a road win in week one. Either way, I’m staying away.
New York Giants (0-0) @ Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
New York’s Record in Dallas: 20-34
New York’s Record vs. Dallas: 43-62-2
Last meeting: New York def. Dallas in New York (27-20) in 2015
New York’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 6th
Dallas’ Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 31st
New York’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 30th
Dallas’ Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 16th
Verdict: A divisional game featuring a new QB (Dak Prescott) facing a new re-built defense. No thank you. Like my good ol’ friend Wyclef Jean once said….”anything can happen”.
New England Patriots (0-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-0)
New England’s Record in Arizona: 4-4
New England’s Record vs. Arizona: 6-7
Last meeting: Arizona def. New England in New England (20-18) in 2012
New England’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 3th
Arizona’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 2nd
New England’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 10th
Arizona’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 7th
Verdict: Probably the game of the week in the NFL outside of Carolina vs. Denver, but there’s no way you even look at this one in a survivor league. Unless you have massive balls of course. If you have big balls, then I would take Arizona going up against a guy who has to travel cross-country and is starting in his first NFL game against a good defense. Personally, I think you’re crazy if you touch this one though.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) vs. Washington Redskins (0-0)
Pittsburgh’s Record in Washington: 12-20-3
Pittsburgh’s Record vs. Washington: 32-42-3
Last meeting: Pittsburgh def. Washington in Pittsburgh (27-12) in 2012
Pittsburgh’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 4th
Washington’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 10th
Pittsburgh’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 11th
Washington’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 17th
Verdict: Absolutely no way I’m touching a game that features two playoff teams from last season in week one action. While I personally feel like the Steelers are a much better team than the Redskins, I can’t take them comfortably with it a being road game for them. If you’re feeling brave though and want to live dangerously in the first week, take the Steelers. The Steelers are 5-0 against Washington in their last 5 meetings and the Redskins haven’t come away with a win in this series since 1991.
Los Angeles Rams (0-0) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-0)
Los Angeles’ Record in San Francisco: 32-33-1
Los Angeles’ Record vs. San Francisco: 64-65-3
Last meeting: San Francisco def. Los Angeles in San Francisco (19-16) in 2016
Los Angeles’ Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 29th
San Francisco’s Offensive Ranking (for 2015): 32nd
Los Angeles’ Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 13th
San Francisco’s Defensive Ranking (for 2015): 18th
Verdict: Are you freaking nuts? Seriously? There’s no way you bet this game in any form. Actually, you probably shouldn’t even watch it. WHAT THE HELL IS IT DOING ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?!?!?!?!
And there’s your line-up of games to choose from for week one. And just for fun, THE Ultimate Sports Blog’s own football experts will play along each week and provide our own picks to see who takes home the trophy. Here are our picks for this week……
Jeremy Lambert: Seattle over Miami
Steve Cook: Houston over Chicago
Dustin James: Seattle over Miami
Good luck this week….and see you in week two, if you survive.