Welcome back for Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season. We saw a few surprising upsets last week, with the Kansas City Chiefs stunning the New England Patriots, and the Jacksonville Jaguars having no trouble with the Houston Texans. Of course, we also had some not-so-surprising expectations, with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers both dropping their season openers.
The return of Week 2 means it is time to look at some of the best options for NFL survivor pools. For those new to this kind of contest, a survivor pool involves picking one team each week that you think will win. If your team wins in Week 1, you can make a pick in Week 2. If your team wins in Week 2, you can make a pick in Week 3, and so on. The catch is that you cannot pick a team twice. You could very well use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but you won’t have access to them later in the year if you’re alive in the closing weeks.
There is plenty of strategy in determining which team you will take each week, and SB Nation is here to help. We have three experts providing rankings for each week, and then some thoughts on weekly strategy. First up, we have a consensus ranking of all 32 teams, and which are most likely to win this week. That is followed by each writer making a pick, some reasoning for the pick, and some alternatives to consider.
Best picks: Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens
Week 2 of Survivor continues our theme of targeting teams that play the worst of the worst. This year, the two teams who meet that criteria are the Jets and Colts. But we offer a disclaimer on both of those situations this week: The Colts are playing Arizona, and while there’s no denying how badly the Colts played last week against the Rams, I think we need to see the post-DJ Cardinals in action before we put our survivor hopes on them. As for the Jets, they travel to the Black Hole to face the Raiders, and while that is about the surest thing on the schedule this week, the Raiders will likely be a supremely popular choice.
If I were to go a contrarian route (if it can be called that, it will also be a popular play, I suspect), I would go with the Ravens against the Browns. Yes, Cleveland played Pittsburgh tough last week at home, and division games are always tricky, but I can’t see DeShone Kizer winning on the road against the Ravens defense. So Raiders or Ravens for me in Week 2.
Best picks: Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks
I went with Atlanta last week and dang near got bounced thanks to the Chicago Bears. I’m going back to picking a home team with the Oakland Raiders taking on the New York Jets. The Raiders offense looks like it could be one of the best in the league and the traveling Jets aren’t a strong bet to keep it close.
If you aren’t averse to picking road teams, Arizona looked bad against the Lions, but I’m hoping they pull it together against the Andrew Luck-less Colts. Arizona should be able to put up a ton of points against a defense that made Jared Goff look like he was Joe Montana.
Seattle is also a good bet with the 49ers not being a good football team and all. They are one of the safer options this early in the season.
Best picks: Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens
My survivor pick for Week 2 is Seattle. The Seahawks come home to face San Francisco. San Francisco hasn’t beaten Seattle since 2013. As well, Seattle always plays like a different team in front of the 12th man. Despite Seattle’s struggles on offense, I’m sure the defense can easily carry them to a win. My secondary picks would be Oakland and Baltimore. Oakland looked great in Week 1 and played excellent football on both sides of the ball. Baltimore faces Cleveland. The Ravens looked much better than expected in Week 1. No upsets happening to these three teams, their opponents are too weak to take them down on the road.