The 2020-21 NFL season continues as the league juggles its schedule to make room for several postponements due to positive COVID-19 test results. Once betting lines are set, 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.
Week 6 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Colts (-9 at DraftKings Sportsbook) are one of the only teams favored by over a TD in what is shaping up to be a competitive Week 6 slate. The Patriots would become a good survivor pick at home against Brett Rypien and Denver if that game remains on as scheduled, yet that is far from a sure thing given how COVID-19 test results have thrown their schedule for a loop.
Indy is in a prime bounce back spot against a Bengals team that was nearly shut out last week during a season that has seen record offensive numbers. The Colts defense is allowing the fewest total YPG (266) by a wide margin and ranks second in DVOA pass defense. Cincy averages the seventh-fewest total YPG (332.4) and will likely be forced to become a one-dimensional passing attack considering the Colts allow just 3.6 YPC this season.
Since 2018, Cincinnati has the worst road record (2-15-1) in the NFL and the Colts are 13-5 at home during that span. Indianapolis should be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and cruise to victory as long as Philip Rivers takes care of the ball this week.
Week 6 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets
The Jets were originally scheduled to face the Chargers this week, but the Patriots and Titans postponements have created a domino effect on the schedule and the NFL shifted their Week 10 tilt at Miami to Week 6 instead. So the red-hot Dolphins take on a putrid Jets team that might have to start Joe Flacco again with Sam Darnold (shoulder) injured.
The Jets offensive line ranks 23rd in adjusted sack rate (8.1%) and Brian Flores has his defense playing well with 11 sacks over their last 3 games. Miami’s pass defense as a disaster over the first 2 weeks, but is playing well now with free agent acquisition Byron Jones (groin) back in the lineup opposite Xavien Howard. Now mostly vulnerable against ground attacks, the Dolphins should be able to contain a Jets line that’s producing the second-fewest RB yards (3.23) this season and is riding a pair of older RBs in Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has posted close to a perfect passer rating in 2 of his last 3 starts and posted a 91.9 rating while averaging 266.5 passing YPG in 2 meetings against his former team last season. The Jets last won in Miami in 2015, and Fitzpatrick posted a 92 passer rating with a 12:6 TD:INT ratio at home last year. This could be a letdown spot after their impressive win in San Francisco, but we trust Fitzpatrick to keep his guys fired up in a revenge spot.
Week 6 Survivor Pool Land Mine
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns
The Steelers have the fourth-best home record (26-11) in the NFL since 2016 and the third-best record (18-5-1) in division games during that span. So, they might be a popular survivor play this Sunday against the Browns.
Yet this is a far cry from the dysfunctional Browns teams we’ve seen in recent years. Former Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski is using the same power running schemes that led to success in Minnesota with a Browns team that now ranks second in DVOA rush offense. Cleveland churned out 124 rushing yards against Indy’s previously top-ranked rush defense last week and the Steelers were gashed for gave up 5.9 YPC to a weak Eagles rushing attack in Week 5.
Pittsburgh’s explosive rookie WR Chase Claypool may come back to earth while operating in the capable coverage of CB Denzel Ward. The Steelers might be without Diontae Johnson (back) and also lost crucial offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey (foot) and David DeCastro (abdomen) during Sunday’s shootout win over Philly.
With Baker Mayfield showing poise and pocket presence, the Browns should be able to avoid disastrous breakdowns in protection and keep the ball moving in what projects to be a toss-up divisional bout. The Browns could surprise with their first win in Pittsburgh since 2003 in a stadium that will be primarily empty of fans.