Top NFL Survivor picks for Week 12

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NFL Survivor picks for Week 12

Week 12 of the NFL season has arrived or, as some may refer to it, Thanksgiving Week. Those participating in the Circa Survivor or a contest that follows similar rules are tasked with picking a game on either Thursday or Friday this week, which means taking one of the eight teams in action. If you’ve planned properly, you’re sitting in a good situation, as the four favorites are all pretty big ones.

For the purposes of this article, though, I’m just playing it straight and trying to pick a winner each week. Not every contest uses the Circa rules, so I went the more traditional route. The ironic thing here is that any of the four favorites are decent picks for traditional Survivor pools and maybe even among the best. The Lions, Cowboys, 49ers, and Dolphins are four of the five biggest favorites, with Kansas City as the top Sunday choice.

I’m also playing this article out until I lose on a team and then I’ll put everybody back in the hopper. All teams are fair game for the “Teams to Consider” heading, but the pick will be a team I haven’t used yet until I lose. Here are the teams used so far: Commanders (Week 1), Bills (Week 2), Chiefs (Week 3), 49ers (Week 4), Dolphins (Week 5), Rams (Week 6), Seahawks (Week 7), Ravens (Week 8), Browns (Week 9), Cowboys (Week 10), and Jaguars (Week 11). As you can see, I have one Thanksgiving team left and it is the Lions.

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NFL Survivor Picks to Consider

Miami Dolphins over New York Jets

The Zach Wilson Experience has been bad for the Jets since it began, but the Tim Boyle Experience has been even worse. Not for the Jets, but as an NFL player. He must be really good at holding a clipboard or something because he continues to have an NFL job, despite having three touchdown passes against nine interceptions over his 18 games played.

Some might say that it’s unfair to judge him over 120 pass attempts, but he’s been on some teams with some really awful QB situations and hasn’t really found many opportunities to play. As good as the Jets defense is, it sure looks like a chore for Boyle to keep up with Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense.

Dallas Cowboys over Washington Commanders

I mean, this one is pretty obvious, right? The Cowboys are the only double-digit favorite on the board and have played very, very well in the bully role. The lone exception was that weird Week 3 game against the Cardinals, but they’ve pummeled the Patriots, Giants, Rams, and Panthers since then. It is a short week for the Commanders with travel and a really banged-up Sam Howell.

The Commanders have dropped four of five and their lone win in that span came against a really bad Patriots team. They’ve also lost twice to the Giants in that period. Not great, Bob.

Indianapolis Colts over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I want to try and add more thoughts for Sunday’s games in case you don’t have any of the Thursday teams or feel uncomfortable making your pick before then. The problem, of course, is that there are very few options on the board. Of the short favorites, the Colts are my favorite.

Indy comes off the bye and I think Shane Steichen is a really good head coach. Time will tell if that’s true, but the Colts are ninth in points per game with Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew. They are -1 in TO margin, so it hasn’t been that. They’re sixth in red zone TD% and have been able to cash in their opportunities when they’ve gotten in the scoring areas. 

The Bucs, meanwhile, are 28th in that department. They have not been able to take advantage of their high-percentage scoring situations. I’m also not sure Tampa Bay having the best red zone defense in the NFL is sustainable. The Bucs have been outgained by 0.8 yards per play and, let’s be honest, there is a lot of incentive to lose moving forward. Players don’t tank, but decision makers can. The Bucs have one win since their Week 5 bye and have been held to 20 or fewer points in five of those six games. The Colts had scored at least 20 points in every game over their first nine until winning 10-6 over New England last time out.

New England Patriots over New York Giants

I’ve mentioned multiple times that you have to pick 18/32 teams to win one of these things; 20/32 if you follow Circa rules. That means taking a wide variety of teams and the Patriots are definitely at the lower end of the spectrum. But, this will be the only opportunity to take them. It is on the road and the Giants just beat the Commanders, but the Giants were the benefactors of SIX turnovers from the Commanders. Washington outgained New York by over 100 yards and the Commanders were driving for the chance to win before Isaiah Simmons scored on a pick-six to end the game.

For whatever it’s worth, the Patriots are coming in off a bye. Bill Belichick won’t name his starting QB until Sunday. This feels like a last stand kind of game for the Hoodie and his job security. Do the players respond? If they do, you might be able to sneak New England through and advance.

NFL Survivor Pick for Week 12

Detroit Lions over Green Bay Packers

As I teased in the intro, the best Survivor options this week are on Thursday and that includes the Lions. Detroit is over a touchdown favorite against Green Bay and I really don’t think much of the Packers roster. Statistically, they may not really be as bad as I feel they are, as they are 13th in EPA/play on offense and 20th in EPA/play on defense, but they’ve dropped to 19th in EPA/play offense since Week 6.

Detroit has had some close calls in the last two weeks, but last week’s game was only close because Jared Goff threw three interceptions in plus territory. The Packers only have nine takeaways on the season, so they’re not exactly a ball-hawking unit.

On a short week earlier in the season, the Lions went to Lambeau and won 34-20 and outgained the Packers by 181 yards. I’m not sure much has changed for the two teams since that Week 4 matchup.