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 7 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
When last we saw the Saints, they needed a missed XP and doinked FG at the buzzer to survive at home against Justin Herbert and the Chargers. That hardly inspires confidence and now we learn that Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID) won’t be available this Sunday. But New Orleans gets healthier defensively with CBs Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore rested up after the bye.
The Saints (-7.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook) still rank ninth in red zone offense and eighth in points per drive (2.75) with Thomas essentially inactive all season. Their red zone defense has the bigger issue, but the Panthers rank 28th in TD/FG ratio (0.92) in the red area and went 3-for-13 on third down and 1-for-3 in the red zone last week as they struggled without Christian McCaffrey (ankle).
Since 2010, the Saints are 8-3 against the spread (ATS) after a bye and they’re 8-1 with a rest advantage since 2016. They’ve won 6 of their last 7 games against Carolina and 6 of their last 7 division games overall. The Panthers rank 29th in DVOA rush defense, so Alvin Kamara could carry the Saints to victory even if Drew Brees continues to show signs of slowing down.
Week 7 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Los Angeles Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Justin Herbert has battled three former Super Bowl MVPs (Brees, Brady, Mahomes) down to the wire without earning a win, but the rookie should get on the board this week with a porous Jacksonville defense coming to town.
The Jaguars just coughed up 180 rushing yards and 3 TDs to a Lions team that came into Week 6 ranked 18th in DVOA rush defense, one week after yielding 488 scrimmage yards to a Texans team that averages the second-fewest rushing YPG (85.8) this season.
Offensively, the Jags average the fourth-fewest rushing YPG (89.3) and rank 25th in adjusted sack rate (8.4%). Joey Bosa should wreak havoc against that line after nursing his ailing hamstring and ankle during the Chargers bye week. The Chargers rank fifth in red zone defense and eighth in red zone offense this season with Herbert ranking seventh amongst QBs in DVOA according to Football Outsiders.
Week 7 Survivor Pool Land Mine
Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals
As great as Russell Wilson may be, the Seahawks are a flawed team. Their defense is extremely vulnerable against the pass and their eighth-ranked rush defense sprung leaks while coughing up 201 rushing yards to the Vikings in Week 5. Wilson and company went 0-for-7 on third down, but saved their day by going 3-for-3 in the red zone and 2-for-2 on fourth down.
Yet the Cardinals came into Week 6 allowing a league-low 4.1 points per red zone trip and leading the NFL in red zone offense. Kyler Murray’s mobility is a wildcard and now Arizona has an alpha receiver in DeAndre Hopkins to terrorize the Seahawks unchanging base defense. Arizona’s defensive front is also much improved, ranking eight against power runs and 14th in adjusted sack rate.
Seattle is 16-13-1 against NFC West foes since 2015 and the Cardinals are 15-15-1 in division games during that span, with the two teams tying in 2016. Seattle is 4-3 against Arizona since that tie and the Cardinals defensive line produced 5 sacks while the offense produced 253 rushing yards to facilitate a 27-13 victory in Seattle last December.