NFL Week 9 survivor pool picks: 1-7 misleading in Miami
Pickswise’s perfect survivor streak was finally stopped in Week 8, when Mike White led the Jets to a shocking win over the Bengals at the Meadowlands. We’re still going to operate the same way we have, though, not picking teams we’ve already used for our general recommendations and focusing on a week-to-week strategy knowing that good options will continue to present themselves each Sunday throughout the rest of the season.
Who to pick in a Week 9 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: Dallas Cowboys (-410 ML) over Denver Broncos (+310)
The NFC East was downright laughable in 2020. The division was eventually won by the 7-9 Washington Football Team after the Cowboys and Eagles suffered shockingly disappointing campaigns. But Dallas has been the one team in the division to rebound in 2021, and while it remains to be seen if they can actually contend in the playoffs, they certainly look poised to cruise to the division title. Dak Prescott sat out last week, watching backup Cooper Rush put together an excellent performance to give Dallas their 6th straight win, but Prescott is expected to be back under center this week against the Broncos.
Denver, thanks in large part to a friendly first-month schedule, started out 3-0, but then dropped 4 in a row before getting back to .500 with a tight win over Washington last weekend. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier, though, and the defense that Ezekiel Elliott will get to run through isn’t nearly as dangerous as it was just last week now that Von Miller no longer wears a Broncos uniform. If you still have your Cowboys card, this would be a good week to use it to move into Week 10.
RISKY PICK: Miami Dolphins (-290 ML) over Houston Texans (+230)
On the one hand, it certainly feels like a risk to put your survivor pool on the line with a 1-7 team, even if their opponents have the same record. On the other hand, anyone who watches football knows that the Miami Dolphins are better than their poor record, and while they’ll almost certainly miss out on the postseason again this year, they have plenty of positive things to look forward to moving forward, particularly second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Rumors spread throughout the week that the Dolphins could be interested in currently-sidelined Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson to replace, or at least compete with, Tagovailoa. But the front office and coach Brian Flores stood by their man, knowing the team is capable of bigger things than their record would make it seem. That boost of confidence may very well lead to an inspired performance against the team Tagovailoa’s superiors were rumored to be in talks with. Houston, unlike Miami, are no better than their record, so the Dolphins make another good choice this week.
GAME TO AVOID: Kansas City Chiefs (-380 ML) vs Green Bay Packers (+290)
The news that Aaron Rodgers is Covid-19 positive and will miss at least this week’s game against Kansas City came as a shock not just to the NFL, but to the entire sporting world. The Chiefs’ line shifted immediately from -1 to -7.5, which might certainly tempt some survivor players to think about using them this week. But don’t bite. While it’s nearly impossible nowadays to win in the NFL without a good quarterback, Rodgers hasn’t been the sole key to Green Bay’s success in getting to 7-1, and former first-round pick Jordan Love is finally going to get a chance to show what he’s made of.
The Chiefs haven’t looked anything like a team that’s played in the last 2 Super Bowls, despite returning most of the team that did it. Patrick Mahomes has been shaky start after start, and his team could very realistically be 3-5 right now, only returning to .500 after sneaking away with a tight win against the 2-6 Giants last Monday. The Chiefs are a better team than what we’ve seen, and they’re certainly going to peak in the season’s final month. But because of that, they’re best left untouched until then – even with Rodgers out, don’t even think about burning Kansas City against a 7-1 Packers team.
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.