The 2021-22 NFL season kicks off on September 9 and with full attendance expected in most stadiums, the level of anticipation for Week 1 is high, especially for those who enjoy wagering on pro football.
Now that online sportsbooks are spreading across the United States, NFL betting is more popular than ever. But there are also additional, equally exciting ways to make money on the most popular sports league in America. And one of the most common ways to make weekly picks is via an NFL survivor pool.
PlayPicks is here to break down the schedule each week to bring you weekly NFL survivor pool picks that will help you stay alive for a deep run.
2021 NFL Survivor Pool Rules
For those new to survivor pools, the format is simple: Pick an NFL team to win each week, advance if they win. The last person standing wins the prize. The catch is: you can only select each team once throughout the course of a season.
In this article, we will offer multiple survivor selections for each week. First, our “lock” pick will represent the safest and most obvious pick for the week. The “thrifty” pick offers a riskier option that will allow a survivor player to save certain teams for late in the season.
Lastly, we offer a “land mine” pick, which includes potentially popular team to stay away from. In the NFL, the defecation will always hit the oscillation at some point, and thousands of survivors will be knocked out when a supposed favorite falls to an unlikely underdog.
You can also use advice from this article to place Week 2 NFL picks on sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings. DraftKings also offers a free-to-play survivor pool, which allows you to test your skills without spending any of your own money!
NFL Week 2 Survivor Pool Picks
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns () – Sunday, Sept. 19 (1 p.m. ET)
Cleveland controlled the action in Kansas City on Sunday before Patrick Mahomes pulled off yet another miraculous comeback to give the Chiefs a seventh straight Week 1 win. So the Browns come into their home opener with added motivation to finish strong against a much weaker Texans team. Houston surprised with a 37-21 win over Jacksonville to open the season, but this is a far greater challenge.
The Browns have arguably the best offensive line in football. It produced the fourth-most RB Yards (4.91) per carry last year and Houston allowed a league-high 5.55 RB Yards per career according to data from Football Outsiders. The Browns churned out 5.9 YPC at Arrowhead with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both rolling to consistent gains thanks to that excellent offensive line. Last year, Houston allowed the third-most rushing TDs (1.5) per game and Cleveland produced the fourth-most rushing scores (1.3) while finishing fourth in TD conversion rate (73.3%) on red zone possessions.
Cleveland went 5-0 after a loss last season and 6-1 when listed as favorites at home. The Texans went 1-9 when listed as underdogs, 2-8 outside of the weak AFC South, and 2-6 on the road last season. Tyrod Taylor proved that he’s a viable QB in Week 1, but the Browns’ reloaded defense represents a far greater challenge.
Week 2 Survivor Lock: Cleveland Browns
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers () – Sunday, Sept. 19 (4:05 p.m. ET)
The Buccaneers are also huge home favorites, so this isn’t your typical “thrifty” pick. But Tampa is a bit riskier than Cleveland in Week 2, because the defending champs are facing a division opponent that has risen to the challenge for some unlikely upsets against NFC contenders in recent years.
The Falcons were pasted by the Eagles at home in Week 1, giving up 434 net yards and 7.5 yards per attempt to Jalen Hurts and company. They struggled to establish the run, but teams aren’t even trying to run against a Bucs front that led the NFL in every meaningful rush defense category last season. The Bucs are vulnerable against top wide receivers and Calvin Ridley caught 18 balls for 215 yards over 2 meetings with Tampa last season.
This isn’t to say the Bucs are a land mine in Week 2, but the Browns are a safer bet to cruise at home behind their reliable run game. Tampa went 6-3 at home last season and 5-2 against division foes. The Falcons were 1-5 against NFC South opponents in 2020 and Tom Brady owns a 115.8 passer rating with a 17:2 TD:INT ratio over seven regular season games against Atlanta.
Week 2 Survivor Thrifty Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneerss
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers () – Monday, Sept. 20 (8:15 p.m. ET)
After getting handled throughout the first three quarters of their home opener, the Lions came alive late and gave the 49ers a real scare in a 41-33 loss. Meanwhile, the Packers laid an absolute stinker in Jacksonville and fell to the Saints by 35 points.
Aaron Rodgers finished 15-for-28 with 133 yards and 2 INT in an uncharacteristic performance. The future Hall-of- Fame quarterback is bound to bounce back, but it might take some time for his teammates to rally around him considering all the rumors surrounding his potential retirement and his late arrival to training camp this summer.
While Green Bay (which is favored by double digits) has won 4 straight regular season games against the Lions, those wins have come by an average of eight points per game. Matthew Stafford and company won four straight in this rivalry in 2017 and 2018, so it’s not as if the peripheral matchups in this contest are completely mismatched.
Jared Goff is objectively less talented than Stafford, but the Lions flashed an impressive two-RB system that produced big lines for D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in Week 1. If they can control the line of scrimmage and establish the run, the Packers may continue their rough start.