Here in the Cheap Seats, we have entered an NFL Survivor Pool for the fourth year and will be keeping everyone abreast of our picks, reasoning and results. Let it be known right up front, we have not done well the three previous years. Last year was an unmitigated disaster (thanks Patriots), although it wasn't entirely our fault. Yeah, right.
For those unfamiliar with Survivor games, it's really quite simple. Everyone in the game puts up an entry fee. Last person still alive wins the whole thing.
How the game works:
Everyone entered picks one team to win their game that week. The team you pick wins, you survive. Your team loses, you're out. But the catch is that you can only pick a team one time per season. Sure it would have been real nice to pick New England every week during their 16-0 regular season. But once you pick a team to win, you can not pick that team again. Ever. Until next season. Or the playoffs, if it gets that far.
The first week always scares us. We don't really know what to expect. There are always the surprise teams that come out of nowhere and the disappointing teams that fall on their face. The pre-season is of no help whatsoever.
We try to stick to a couple of loose rules when making our picks. Stay away from games involving division rivals and stay away from picking teams on the road.
Week One offers some fairly good choices.
Oakland (+9.5) @ Indianapolis - Some pools restrict the number of times you can pick against a team. Ours does not. So picking whoever is playing the Raiders every week is an option. The Colts at home against Oakland seems to be the surest pick on the board.
New England (-9.5) @ Buffalo - Yes, it is an intradivisional game. Yes, the favorite is on the road. But it's the Bills and the Patriots. What could go wrong, right?
Baltimore (+8.5) @ Denver - The spread on this one surprised us. The defending Super Champs more than a touchdown underdog? Of course the oddsmakers in Vegas know much more about this than we do. It is also the opening game of the season on a Thursday night. Thanks, but we will pass.
Tennessee (+7.5) @ Pittsburgh - The Steelers at home are always tough. The Titans don't look to be all that good this season.
The Thought Process:
There are couple of ways to go. And a couple we will stay away from.
We will pass on the Broncos for the reasons stated above and Denver has the highest future value of the four teams.
We will also not go with Patriots, for two reasons. Strange things can happen in Orchard Park and New England has the second highest future value.
That leaves Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.
The Colts seem to be the surest pick. That has been played out with early picks in Survivor Pools. Indianapolis has an astronomical 41% pick rate of those that have already made picks. So going with the Colts means going along with the crowd and everyone moves along into week 2. On the flip side, Indy also has the lowest future value of any of the four teams.
The Steelers only have an 8% pick rate. So if Indy somehow goes down (doubtful, but anything is possible), the pools will be cut down considerably. Pittsburgh does have more future value than the Indy.
In the end, the name of the game is Survivor. With the Colts having the best chance to win and a lower future value, we're putting in the pick for Indianapolis.