The 2019-20 NFL season is rolling, and there are many ways to cash in on your knowledge of the most popular professional sports league in the country.
At PlayPicks, we’re breaking down the NFL Survivor Pool landscape to bring you weekly options that will help you stay alive and ahead of the field in your pool. And if you managed to escape the buzzsaw of Week 10 upsets (Saints, Colts, 49ers), this article should help you win the whole thing.
For those new to Survivor Pools, the format is simple: Pick an NFL team to win each week, advance if they win, and you can’t pick the same team twice. The last member of the pool standing takes home the cash.
In this article, we will identify tiers of survivor picks, ranging from “lock” to “thrifty” to “contrarian.” Since it is so late in the season, we’re skipping the best teams since most participants have likely already used those squads.
The lock is our safest and most obvious pick for the week. The thrifty pick is a good team to consider at this point in the season schedule. And our contrarian pick goes against the grain to potentially keep your pool alive when the defecation hits the oscillation in the NFL and thousands of survivors lose a supposed lock to an upset.
You can also use advice from this article to place bets on FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. Many of the recommended bets can be applied to those New Jersey books. Also, be aware that the point spread could be considerable with these teams favored to win by over a touchdown in some cases.
Week 12 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Cleveland Browns (-10.5) vs Miami Dolphins
While their momentum was stopped cold by Myles Garrett‘s absurd attack of Mason Rudolph, the Browns are still alive in the AFC Wild Card chase thanks to a win over the Steelers. They’ll need to handle business against the Dolphins before facing division foes in four of their last five games. Cleveland certainly has more talent than Miami, although the Browns coaching is always a concern.
Despite their recent surge out of the basement of the NFL, the Dolphins still rank 30th in both DVOA pass and rush defense. With Baker Mayfield posting a 94.1 passer rating and 5:0 TD:INT ratio over his last three appearances, and Kareem Hunt joining Nick Chubb for a formidable backfield tandem, the Browns offense is now quite balanced.
Even the stinking Browns are 4-3 at home since 2017 when listed as favorites. The Dolphins are 4-15 as a road underdog during that span and are coughing up a 125.6 passer rating to opposing QBs when playing on the road this season.
Schedule Notes: The Browns host the winless Bengals in Week 14 and could be used in that division tilt. They also wrap up their season in Cincy in Week 17.
Week 12 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals may be winless, but this is far from a lock. Cincy is actually 4-1 against the spread on the road this season and has given better teams than Pittsburgh a scare. The Bengals run defense is putrid, but Pittsburgh’s stud center Maurkice Pouncey is now suspended and James Conner (quad) remains hobbled.
That being said, the Steelers defense is absolutely dominating right now and will be fired up after a testy division loss in Cleveland last Thursday. They’re holding opponents to 3.4 YPC on the road and Cincy has an embarrassing 223 passing yards over its last two games with Ryan Finley taking over at QB.
Schedule Notes: The Steelers will only be worth consideration one more time this season, in Week 16 at the Jets. But Gang Green is playing better on both sides of the ball right now and could be a feisty team to face on the road.
Week 12 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Detroit Lions (-3.5) at Washington Redskins
Assuming Matt Stafford (back) remains out, few people are going to risk their Survivor Pool on a team led by backup QB Jeff Driskel. Fewer still are willing to trust a Lions team with 5 losses by one score and a tie. Detroit has developed a reputation of being the opposite of clutch, but the Lions can salvage a bit of pride by pounding the worst team in the NFL.
Alabama product Bo Scarborough gave the Lions a power running game that produced 121 rushing yards against the Cowboys solid defense. Driskel also played well, completing 15 of 26 passes for 209 yards and 2 TDs. Now that offense faces a Washington team that ranks 25th in DVOA pass defense and benched all three starting CBs down the stretch against the Jets last week to “get a look at some younger players.” That’s clearly an indication that the ‘Skins are tanking and offer a great opportunity for Detroit’s defense to also bounce back against rookie QB Dwayne Haskins.
Schedule Notes: The Lions host the Bears on Thanksgiving in a division game that could go either way. The same could be said of a Week 15 date against the Bucs that could turn into a wild shootout.