[sc name=”Author Seth I Finkelstein”]
The stunners continued this past Sunday. None bigger than the Giants dominating the Broncos in Denver. I could not have been more wrong about it, and neither could the public. The line opened at about 9.5/10 in favor of Denver and closed at 13.5. Nobody believed in the Giants, but they finally came out and played the way they were expected to before the year.
The Giants and Dolphins knocked out half of remaining survivor pools. The carnage doesn’t stop. Underdogs are 17 games above .500 this year, 53-36-1.
Let’s get right to the madness.
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Observations from Last Week
- The Falcons can’t close teams out. They couldn’t hold a 17-0 lead at home to a team that is offensively inept. But, hey, 28-3.
- Aaron Rodgers is out, but Brett Hundley isn’t as bad as he was on Sunday. He is an intriguing prospect, one that could surprise many. But he’s no Rodgers. The Packers are toast.
- The Niners continue to lose in gut wrenching, but perfect fashion. They’re competitive but bad enough to get a top pick.
- The Raiders are in free-fall and now have a must win at home Thursday night against the Chiefs.
- The Steelers continued their erratic season with a win in Kansas City.
- The Chargers won another close one. On a field goal. Ultimate shocker.
- The Ravens are awful. I’m done with them.
- Blake Bortles is horrid. He could not make a throw yesterday.
Rant of the Week
The coaching in Kansas City was awful beyond awful on Sunday. Let’s start with Mike Tomlin. The Steelers started at their own 1-yard line and marched all the way down the field to the Chiefs two. Throughout the game, Le’Veon Bell was constantly gaining yards and the offensive line was getting great push. This tweet encapsulates it all.
Steelers spoiled what should have been a 99-yard TD drive by lining up 3 times in shotgun on first at 2. 2 inc pass and -4 yard loss on run
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) October 15, 2017
Then midway through the 3rd, Steelers are up 12-3 with 4th and 2 from the Chiefs’ 35. Your defense has been dominating all game. You don’t trust your field goal kicker to make a 52-yarder? Fine. Bell and the offensive line were getting traction all game, but yet you decide to punt?! On the punt, the Chiefs luckily were called for holding so it was a 30-yard net gain. But go for the kill. You’re playing in Arrowhead Stadium, one of the hardest places to play and against an undefeated team. Go for the knockout.
Now let’s get to Andy Reid. We all know he can’t manage the clock. He called a timeout with 2:05 remaining. He doesn’t learn. But that’s not the gist of this rant. Up until the 4th quarter, the Chiefs hadn’t sustained a drive longer than 10 yards. Kansas City finally went on a long drive that started from their own 10. Chiefs were down 12-3 and points were clearly a value in this game. It’s the beginning of the 4th quarter and you’re down TWO possessions. It’s 4th and 2 from Steelers’ four. I’m all about being gutsy and going for it, but not in this game. Not right now. You need a field goal and a touchdown to win this game, but what does Reid do? He goes for it. This is what Reid had to say after the game,
“I do what my gut tells me to do. I thought that was the right thing to do.”
So if your gut told you to go for it on 4th down from your own 35, do you go for it then?
The Chiefs ended up losing 19-13. If they would’ve kicked a field goal, they would have been able to kick a field goal on the final drive and head to overtime. They also would have had the lead 13-12 after they scored a touchdown with six to go. Andy Reid for you.
Survivor League Strategy
For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools, it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. But you cannot use that team ever again. There is no point spread involved.
It’s survive and advance at this point. There may be 10% of entries remaining.
Try to save the top teams for the end of the season. You do not want to be alive in Week 10 choosing between the Browns and the Jets. Try and pick teams you won’t use later. For example, the Rams got the Luckless Colts in Week 1.
- Try to avoid divisional rivalry games also. Anything can happen with a rivalry game. Some weeks it will be really hard to not pick a divisional game, because there is no better option.
- Never pick an underdog.
Rarely, if ever, pick a Thursday night game. Anyone can beat anyone off four days rest. You’re better off trying to figure out Johnny Drama’s next move.
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE which means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they’re mostly always right.
The biggest favorites in Week 7 per sportsbook (home team in caps):
- Titans -6 @ BROWNS
- Saints -6 @ PACKERS
- Cowboys -6 @ 49ERS
- Seahawks -5.5 @ GIANTS
- VIKINGS -5.5 vs. Ravens
- STEELERS -5.5 vs. Bengals
This is crazy. Not one team is favored by more than a touchdown. The parity is real.
Teams on bye: Lions, Texans.
If you’re reading this article on Thursday or later, these lines were from Tuesday. Check the current spreads and see how the line moved.
Top Survivor Picks for Week 7
VIKINGS -5.5 vs. Ravens
I am so sick of the Ravens. Joe Flacco is averaging 167 yards passing per game, that’s good for bottom five in the NFL. They travel to Minnesota where it is extremely tough to play. In four home games this season, the Vikings have allowed an average of 15 points. While the Ravens average 130 yards on the ground, the Vikings yield 78 yards rushing yards per game, top five in the NFL.
The Vikings will control the clock with a top-10 rushing attack, 117 yards, against one of the worst defenses in football, the Ravens allow 140 yards rushing. The Vikings also average 23 points at home, which should be plenty to beat a team that averages 1.5 touchdowns per game.
Cowboys -6 @ 49ERS
This is a must-win for Dallas. They are off a bye with a 2-3 record and have a deadly schedule coming up; @Redskins, vs. Chiefs, @Falcons, vs. Eagles, vs. Chargers. They can not afford to lose to a winless team and go 2-4. If they lose this week, they are not making the playoffs. Ezekiel Elliot will be playing so the Cowboys offense should roll.
The Cowboys’ defense has a surprisingly good pass rush. Did you know DeMarcus Lawrence is the sacks leader with 8.5? The Niners offensive line has given up the 6th most quarterback hits and 10th most sacks. Most games are won at the offensive line and this game should be no different. The Cowboys will get back to controlling the clock and win this one handily.
Top Survivor Picks to Avoid
Titans -6 @ BROWNS
I have no idea what to make of the Titans this season. They give up 57 points to the Texans and lose to the Dolphins, but were able to handle the Seahawks. The biggest issue I have with them is their red zone offense. I didn’t watch a second of that gruesome Monday night game against the Colts, but their kicker made six field goals. Gross. They are 25th in the league in red zone scoring, even the Brownies are better, 20th.
Cleveland can’t be much worse than they’ve been the past couple weeks. They’ve played three at home and have been competitive in two of them. The Browns will cover this spread, and it will be very close.
Saints -6 @ PACKERS
How can you trust the Saints on the road on grass? Especially in Lambeau. And to be favorite by six points. That’s a ton. Everyone is all in on the Saints after their last three games, but I’m not buying it. I’ve seen it so often the last several years, just when you get suckered in by New Orleans, they hurt you. Nobody believes in Green Bay with Rodgers out. This game looks way too easy. But I think everyone steps up with Rodgers out. This game will be close.
Just remember, this is the year of the underdog, the home underdog to be more specific.
- Chiefs -3 @ RAIDERS- Must win game for the Raiders on Thursday night football. I’ll go with the Chiefs.
- Jaguars -3 @ COLTS- What an awful game. Stay away from this.
- DOLPHINS -3 vs. Jets- Another divisional battle. Line should be 4.5 or 5. I like the Fins.
- Panthers -3.5 @ BEARS- Carolina had 10 days to prepare for this while Chicago is coming off a huge high after their win in Baltimore. Panthers and the points.
- Rams -3.5 vs. Cardinals- This game is in London and starts at 1 eastern. Never touch a London game.
- STEELERS -5.5 vs. Bengals- This is the best rivalry in football now. This will be a hard hitting game and I can’t wait to watch Vontaze Burfict. What crazy thing will he do? With rivalry games like these, the best move is to stay away.
- Seahawks -5.5 @ GIANTS- Seattle of a bye against the rejuvenated Giants. This is usually when Seattle flips their switch.
- CHARGERS -1 vs. Broncos- I have no idea what to make of either of these teams. They have been so erratic.
- PATRIOTS -3.5 vs. Falcons- A Super Bowl rematch on Sunday Night Football. And Vegas is only giving the Pats a half-point extra at home. I’m all over that.
- EAGLES -4.5 vs. Redskins- Arguably two of the best teams face-off on Monday Night Football. Kirk Cousins has been great in primetime thus far, but will Carson Wentz be ready for the biggest stage?