If most of you are like me then you love to do three things: quote John McClane word-for-word during Die Hard reruns on TV; watch clips of Japanese game shows until 3am; and enter as many sports pools as you can. If you are reading this then you are here for one of the aforementioned items.
I’ve been playing in suicide/eliminator/survivor pools for a number of years. The NFL is a game where a blitz of carnage will come and go and you better hope that you are half of Spider-Man when it does show up. In this post I will examine the NFL games for the week and diagnose the potential good choices along with avoiding the deceptive ones.
Every pool has its fair share of tweaks, twists, and turns. To prevent a dizzy spell, here are the general rules to a standard survivor pool. Pick one team to win every week. Win and you go on. Can’t pick a team twice. Simple.
Before I go on, I want to discuss some guidelines to follow when making your all-important selections:
1. Try to stick with home teams: It is no secret to all who watch football that home teams have the advantage. Familiarity with the field, fan support, less travel, sleeping in your own bed, home cooking, and the joy of playing Madden 13 on the Hi-Def projection screen in your media room the night before a game. All NFL players have projection screens, right? When in doubt, go with the home side.
2. Avoid division games: These teams know each other better than I know the back of my hand. I don’t have video evidence of the routes my veins take. Division teams have a deeper understanding of each others’ personnel, tendencies, philosophy, play calling, schemes, and home fields. Plus they just try harder as games are more important. Stay away if you can.
3. To save or not to save: There are theories out there that say you should try and save powerhouse teams for later in the year. I do not totally agree with this thinking process. Last year the majority of survivor pool contestants were eliminated by week 6 thanks to a murderous week 5 when the Giants got Seahawked. Remember carnage. I’m okay with looking a few weeks ahead when deciding between teams but you can never predict the injuries and swings NFL teams go through week in and week out.
Again, the above are just guidelines I try to follow every week. As you survive deeper into the season and good teams become scarce, there is no avoiding the risk you will need to take. Other reasons such as rookie QB’s, outdoor vs. indoor teams, injuries, poor form, and good old fashion gut plays may contribute to your deciding factors. On to the week 1 selections…
Houston Texans, My Week 1 Pick – It’s week 1 and we want to play it safe. The Houston run game is arguably the best in the NFL. With a great offensive line and a dynamic duo running the ball, this game may be over quick. Heck, I would be able to gain some yards behind that line…in garbage time that is because I don’t want to jeopardize this pick. What seals the deal is the Texans have a good defense and the Dolphins a very inexperienced anemic offense. All the Dan Marino Isotoner gloves in the world won’t be enough to slip the Dolphins passed the Texans.
Chicago Bears – Andrew Luck has all the potential and pedigree to be a Hall of Fame quarterback like his predecessor Peyton Manning. But, even Manning had a rough learning curve in year 1 finishing with a 3-13 year. Add in a road game vs. the Bears at Soldier Field and the chances become slimmer than a Slim Jim. If Luck wants some rookie success he should do a beef jerky commercial. Finders fee!
New Orleans Saints – The Saints are good at home in the dome. The bounty scandal from last season shouldn’t affect them too much because, well, their defense was never any good. This team is an offensive juggernaut and nothing has changed in 2012. I’m not scared that I don’t know who will be running the ball in Washington yet because the US election isn’t until November. See what I did there, I made an American political joke. Not bad for a Canadian, eh? It’s likely the next President will be elected before a Redskins running back.
Atlanta Falcons, Potential Suicide – If you are reading a lot of fantasy sites then you know the vibe surrounding the Falcons; Julio, Ryan, White, Turner, Jacquizz, Tony G, Bryant (kickers are people too). But in the NFL all that matters is the W. Tony Gonzalez, a long time Chief, will be making an emotional appearance back in Kansas City Sunday. You can bet the Chiefs will be pumped up for this home opener. If they can get Charles and Hillis going Sunday, the clock may run out on your suicide pool.