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The 2020-21 NFL season is off to a roaring start despite most stadiums being empty of fans. There are many ways to cash in on your knowledge of the most popular professional sports league in the country, including survivor pools.

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.

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 our strongest survivor pick for this week, called a “lock“, and a “thrifty” pick that can help you save better teams for later in the season.

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 land mine identifies a team that might be a popular pick but could come up short 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 sportsbooks. Also, be aware that the point spread could be considerable with these teams favored to win by over a touchdown in some cases.

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Week 5 Lock Survivor Pool Pick 

New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Saints overcame key injuries and distractions related to a COVID-19 diagnosis for fullback Michael Burton in Week 4, rallying from an early deficit to beat the Lions on the road. Now they return home – which is still an advantage despite the lack of fans – and face a Chargers team that just lost lead back Austin Ekeler (hamstring) for multiple weeks.

New Orleans should finally get Michael Thomas (ankle) back and top CB Marshon Lattimore should be fine since he described his hamstring injury as a tweak. The Saints (-8 at DraftKings Sportsbook) held opponents to 3.8 YPC and an 82.2 passer rating in home games last season. They haven’t shown much urgency so far this season, but should hit the gas in Week 5 with an all-around performance against an inexperienced Chargers squad.

Week 5 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick 

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

The Cowboys are also overdue for a complete team effort. Their star-studded defense, diminished by injuries in the secondary, is getting ravaged while members of their front seven look to freelance at times. Dallas has given up 12 passing TDs and is yielding 430.5 yards per game. Lucky for the Cowboys, they face a depleted Giants offense that averages a league-low 11.75 PPG and is tied with the Jets for a league-low at 278 total YPG.

Dallas (-9 at DK Sportsbook) has produced a league-high 552.7 total YPG and a ridiculous 462.3 passing YPG over their last three outings. Now Dak Prescott and his fantastic stable of receivers face a Giants team that ranks 30th in DVOA pass defense and is allowing a 69.5% completion rate despite facing mediocre competition thus far. The Cowboys have faced stout competition during a 1-3 start, and should show their potential against their first cupcake opponent of the season.

Week 5 Survivor Pool Land Mine 

Houston Texans vs Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars defense has been a disaster recently, but so has Houston’s defense. The Texans are giving up 401.3 YPG over their last their last three games and are now ranked 24th in rush defense and 19th in pass defense. They organization fired Bill O’Brien, indicating how poor they’ve played thus far.

Jacksonville ranks ninth in rush defense and the Texans would prefer to pound the rock with David Johnson if they get into a close game or earn a lead. Deshaun Watson has a 6:3 TD:INT ratio through four starts and his receivers are struggling to create separation. Even the Jags depleted defense could turn in a solid effort against that receiving corps and create some chaos in a division game.

Gardner Minshew is 3-3 in his career against AFC South foes with a 68.2% completion rate and 97.7 passer rating in those games.