Top NFL Survivor picks for Week 9


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NFL Survivor picks for Week 9

There weren’t any Sunday surprises when it came to NFL Survivor pools last week and Monday Night Football went according to plan with the Lions as well. I’m sure we’re sitting on a week where something goes completely haywire and a team loses that shouldn’t, but Week 8 was not that week.

Could it be Week 9, where some mediocre teams are going to be popular picks by virtue of laying big numbers? It very well could be, but those are going to be the best options. Some of the league’s better teams are locked in better matchups and many contestants are reaching the point of the season where those top squads are unavailable.

As I’ve said each week, I’ll play this out for real until I can’t anymore. Still alive in Week 9, having used these teams: Commanders (Week 1), Bills (Week 2), Chiefs (Week 3), 49ers (Week 4), Dolphins (Week 5), Rams (Week 6), Seahawks (Week 7), and Ravens (Week 8).

Once I lose, I’ll throw all the teams back in the hopper, but as usual, teams that have been used still go under the “Teams to Consider” heading.

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NFL Survivor Picks to Consider

Atlanta Falcons over Minnesota Vikings

Recently-acquired QB Josh Dobbs will get the start for the Vikings here against another replacement starter in Taylor Heinicke. The Minnesota offense was humming along nicely with Kirk Cousins, but he’s done for the year with a torn Achilles and Dobbs heads into this game without star WR Justin Jefferson, who still has more time left on IR.

Dobbs is a much more accomplished QB than Jaren Hall and the Vikings were fortunate to be able to get him before the Trade Deadline, but it’s hard to know how far into HC Kevin O’Connell’s playbook he’ll be able to get. The Falcons have been held back by Desmond Ridder all season, so Heinicke should be an upgrade alongside a stellar running game.

Remember, it will take at least 18 of the 32 teams to win a Survivor pool. The Falcons do play the Cardinals, Jets, and Panthers, but all three games are on the road. This is going to be the best spot to take them given the circumstances.

New Orleans Saints over Chicago Bears

The same logic almost applies here for the Saints, who draw Tyson Bagent and the Bears. They still have a home game within the division against the Panthers on December 10 that could be rather appealing. They also face the lowly New York Giants the following week and who knows what that team looks like by mid-December. It’s not like it looks great now for the G-Men.

But, the Saints welcome Bagent and the Bears to the Superdome in a pretty big spot. They’re tied atop the division at 4-4 and this would seem to be a good spot to get a win. Despite the 4-4 record, the Saints grade as a top-10 defense by EPA/play and rank eighth in yards per play against. Even if they don’t put up a lot of points against a bottom-10 Bears defense, they should still be able to limit Chicago’s offense.

NFL Survivor Pick for Week 9

Cleveland Browns over Arizona Cardinals

A bad third-down read from PJ Walker is all that separated Cleveland from going on the road and beating Seattle last week. I am concerned that a banged-up Deshaun Watson may actually be able to give it a go this week, as he’s not really an upgrade over Walker, despite all of PJ’s clear and obvious warts.

Nevertheless, the Browns defense, which ranks second in yards per play against and still leads the NFL in EPA/play, will face Clayton Tune in this one. The aforementioned Dobbs, who could have been a good source of intel on the Browns on both sides of the ball, was traded to the Vikings, so Tune will get the call and possibly be backed up by Kyler Murray, who hasn’t played in nearly 10 months.

Even though head coach Jonathan Gannon’s calling card is defense, the Cardinals are 31st in EPA/play and 26th in yards per play. Browns HC Kevin Stefanski has had a masterful season with his play calls. Execution has been hit or miss from Watson and Walker, but I fully believe he’ll scheme up something great this week and Cleveland will emerge victorious.

While I do think there is a little bit of a gap between the Browns and the Saints/Falcons, Cleveland has one other spot left to use them and it is against the Bears in Week 15. I think the Saints are viable in more weeks than that and the Falcons are riskier than Cleveland.