The NFL moves into Week 6 of the 2017 season, with a fun Thursday Night Football matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles. The week closes with a much more questionable matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans.
The open of Week 5 means it is time to look at some of the best options for NFL survivor pools. Last week saw a popular pick in the Pittsburgh Steelers get knocked off by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars defense is really solid, and showed it in dominating Ben Roethlisberger. This likely thinned the ranks of many 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: Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Washington, Atlanta Falcons
I talk about it all the time in Survivor: It’s just as much about picking the bad teams as it is picking the good ones. The New York Giants are a bad team. Really bad. And they’ll never be worse than they are this weekend, with their entire starting receiver corps either out for the season (Beckham, Marshall) or badly hobbled and unlikely to play Sunday (Shepard). Now they’re losing key guys on the other side of the passing game, as Dominique Rogers-Cromartie apparently walked out on the team and has been suspended. This is a hot mess, and now they go to Denver coming off a bye and wow, this might be the surest thing in NFL history. Unless you want to save Denver for a future week, go all in, because there’s almost no chance they can lose this game.
The other top target this week is Houston, playing at home against the Browns. I like the switch from DeShone Kizer to Kevin Hogan, but whatever improvement the Browns make on offense — and no matter how decimated the Texans are on defense — it won’t be near enough to match the DeShaun Watson Experience in Houston. Again, the only case for not going with the Texans is their future value.
Two more teams that should take care of business this week are Washington at home against the 49ers and Atlanta at home against Jay Cutler and the offensively-anemic Dolphins. .
Best picks: Houston Texans, Denver Broncos
The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a great pick last week, but that was before Ben Roethlisberger was possessed by the ghost of Matt Schaub and proceeded to throw 5 interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns.
This week, I’m going with the Houston Texans to best the Cleveland Browns who just made a change at quarterback. Yes, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus are out for the season, but it’s the Browns! If that pick doesn’t tickle your fancy then take a look at the Broncos who take on the New York Giants in Denver. No OBJ, no Brandon Marshall and most likely no Sterling Shepard leaves Eli Manning with very few weapons on an offense that has struggled all season.