NFL Week 11 survivor pool picks: Fade the Jets given QB mess

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin (37) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.
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Dylan Ruhl

NFL

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I lived in Italy for three years in college and learned the art of sports betting while I was there. Now I’m back in the States, and I want to share all the knowledge I acquired in one of the sports betting capitals of the world. Bills Mafia!!

If you’ve been lucky (or skilled) enough to get this far in your survivor pool, congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated your way through more than half the season, and with 8 more weeks to go and 8 teams left to pick separating you from the ultimate goal, there are still plenty of good options presenting themselves every week. While Pickswise’s streak was stopped in Week 8, we’re still going to play along without repeating any teams we’ve already used for our general picks.

Who to pick in a Week 11 NFL survivor pool

In past years we have given a few different recommendations for games to pick and ones to avoid each week. But survivor pools come in different sizes and the strategy for outlasting your coworkers in an 8-person office pool is vastly different from that of a national pool that hundreds of thousands of Americans can enter before the season starts.

In a smaller pool, particularly early in the season, it’s important to last week-to-week and see if any of your competitors drop before making any risky moves. In a larger pool it’s much more important to try to separate yourself from the pack to gain an edge, as it does you no good to pick the same team as everyone else whether that team wins or loses. So you’ll definitely need to take some more chances early on in order to make a move and better position yourself for the end.

GENERAL PICK: Tennessee Titans (-435 ML) over Houston Texans (+330).

No team in the league has had it better than the Tennessee Titans the last few weeks. If you’d read that on October 31, the day Derrick Henry went down with an injury, you’d have had a hard time believing it, but the Titans have proven throughout November that they’re more than just a one-man team. After their shocking loss to the Jets earlier this season, Tennessee has won 6 straight, clinching tiebreakers over Buffalo and Kansas City, and the top team in the AFC has the easier part of their schedule still to play.

That starts with a home game against the Texans, a team many legitimately thought had a chance to go 0-17 this season. Those hopes were dashed with a Week 1 win over the Jaguars, but Houston has lost 8 straight since then and are clearly playing for draft position. With the Lions, the only other team yet to win 2 games (or in their case, even 1) looking more competitive last week, the Texans have more hope that a potential first round pick could be theirs. Tennessee is a lock this week.

RISKY PICK: Miami Dolphins (-180 ML) over New York Jets (+155).

Joe Flacco, who’s nearly 37 years old and hasn’t started a game all season, will be Robert Saleh’s choice under center this Sunday against the Dolphins. Why Saleh and the Jets feel the need to make the sudden switch to Flacco is somewhat of a mystery – while not ready yet, rookie Zach Wilson is close to a return, and Mike White has done just fine as a fill-in for someone with his lack of experience. The Jets’ problem has been defense – they’ve given up 45 points in back-to-back games, and until the team addresses their true flaws rather than moving around other parts hoping to offset them, nothing will change.

Between injuries and a tough schedule, the Dolphins were somewhat unlucky to start the year 1-7. But we all knew Miami was a better team than that, and they proved that last Thursday night, beating the Ravens for a second straight win. Looking at the Dolphins’ next 4 games, they certainly have the opportunity to make it back to .500 before their final 3 games of the year, and a visit to the dysfunctional Jets should be the next step. If you’ve already used your Titans card, the Dolphins should be your pick.

GAME TO AVOID: Cleveland Browns (-525 ML) vs Detroit Lions (+385).

As 11-point favorites, the Cleveland Browns have as big an edge in the oddsmakers’ view as any team this week. But with the other options available in Week 11, there’s no way you should put your faith in Cleveland after their performance in New England last week. The team was blown out 45-7, and while that first number is certainly the more concerning, it’s the second that might take a couple more weeks to get better. A banged-up Baker Mayfield no longer has Odell Beckham Jr. as a target, he’ll be missing Kareem Hunt for at least another week, and even if Nick Chubb is cleared to play, he’ll be coming off a week in isolation with Covid-19.

The Lions haven’t won a game yet, but they still spoiled plenty of survivor pools last week in the league’s first tie of the season, which Detroit managed against a heavily-favored Pittsburgh. The Lions’ record is somewhat unfair – twice in the first month of the season they felt they’d won games before losing on last-second, soul-crushing field goals. They’re not a good team, but they’re better than their lack of wins would suggest, and you should stay away from Cleveland this week – this one could be closer than the oddsmakers think.

How Does An NFL Survivor Pool Work?

For those of you who have never played survivor or are unfamiliar with how it works, the concept is simple: last as long as you can without incorrectly picking the outcome of a game. You just need to select one game per week, and if you pick the winner correctly you move on to the next week. The ultimate goal is to be the last player standing in your pool.

There’s just one catch: you can only pick each team once per season. This is where strategy comes in; it would be easy enough to pick the Chiefs every week, but you’re only allowed to go with them once and need to find 17 other winners throughout the season to finish a perfect 18-0.

Pickswise is the home of free NFL picks and NFL Odds. Check out the latest prop bets and parlays as well as expert underdog predictions and computer picks.

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