Hello again readers here at Doc’s, it’s that time of year that we all love the most: football season. And of course that means I’m back to deliver my weekly Survivor Pool picks advice column for Week 1 of the NFL 2011-12 NFL season.
For those of you who may not know what a Survivor Pool is, it’s pretty simple: You pick one team per week that you are most sure will win its particular game (regardless of NFL point spread). However, once you choose that team, you aren’t allowed to pick it again for the rest of the season. The last person left standing is the winner and cashes in. Sometimes if there are ties by the end of Week 17 – Survivor Pools rarely go that long – the players might agree to split the winnings or carry the pool over into the playoffs and then would be allowed to start fresh on teams. Some pools will allow you to buy back in if you are knocked out in the first few weeks.
This year I’m going to change it up a bit and give a brief glimpse of every game on the schedule each week and tell you why I think you should or shouldn’t pick a team from that matchup. Let’s go with three categories: “Worth Considering”, “Too Even To Bother” or “Stay Far, Far Away”.
Cincinnati at Cleveland: It’s never a great idea to pick a team that had a losing record the season before in Week 1, but the Browns are worth a thought. The Bengals looked pretty bad in the preseason and will be starting a rookie QB. Cincy could well be the worst team in the NFL in 2011. I happen to think Cleveland is at least a .500 club this year.
Carolina at Arizona: I would like Arizona significantly more if indeed top Panthers linebacker Jon Beason is out, and he’s supposed to sit after foot surgery. But it’s not 100 percent he does. Plus I don’t yet believe in the Cards’ Kevin Kolb.
Minnesota at San Diego: I will admit that this game scares me because the Vikings still have plenty of talent – they were bad last year because of injuries and because Brett Favre wasn’t any good. Plus Adrian Peterson can win a game by himself, Donovan McNabb is still capable at times and the Bolts always start the season slow. Still, with the Vikes not having stud defensive tackle Kevin Williams, that would make me more comfortable taking San Diego.
Seattle at San Francisco: Two words why you should ponder the Niners: Tarvaris Jackson. Two words why you may not want to consider the Niners: Alex Smith.
New England at Miami: The Dolphins could be among the worst teams in the NFL this year and the Pats pummeled them twice last year. Just wish the game was in New England.
Too Even To Bother
New Orleans at Green Bay (Thursday): Why on earth would you go here? Obviously two very good teams that also happen to have won the past two Super Bowls. Although you should know that the defending Super Bowl champions have won all seven Thursday night openers since the NFL started playing that night to kick off a season.
Atlanta at Chicago: Another good matchup between two playoff clubs from a year ago, but obviously it wouldn’t be a surprise for the Falcons to go into Chicago and win: They are actually three-point favorites.
Philadelphia at St. Louis: The Rams were of course much improved last year, and I’m not in the camp that thinks the Eagles are now this all-world club. Remember that Michael Vick’s play trended downward toward the end of last year.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore: It’s arguably the NFL’s most physical rivalry and the games are always close (and low scoring).
Dallas at NY Jets: Could be a Super Bowl preview, although I might be a little too high on the Cowboys.
Oakland at Denver: Wouldn’t surprise me if either team won of if one blew out the other. And I have no idea which one.
Stay Far, Far Away
Buffalo at Kansas City: I think a lot of people are going to be on the Chiefs this week. The big worry here is if Matt Cassel plays for KC – he says he will despite a rib injury. But he could also be one hit from the sideline and then all bets are off for the Chiefs because Tyler Palko is their backup (although they could sign David Garrard now).
Detroit at Tampa Bay: The Lions are everyone’s chic pick to be the surprise team of the NFL this season. The Bucs were 10-game winners last season, but something like 5-1 in games decided by three points or fewer. Maybe they were just lucky – plus they lost at home to Detroit last season.
Tennessee at Jacksonville: The Jaguars stunned the NFL by cutting David Garrard on Tuesday, and I surely don’t have any faith in Luke McCown. But I wouldn’t go Titans either, especially with Chris Johnson maybe not in top football shape after his holdout.
Indianapolis at Houston: I think this is the biggest trap game on the board. Many competitors will be all over Houston with Peyton Manning expected out, but the Colts still have enough weapons to win this game with Kerry Collins.
NY Giants at Washington: The G-Men likely will be a popular pick this week as well because the Redskins figure to be pretty lousy. But what if the “Good Rex” Grossman shows up? Plus, you should try and always stay away from road teams, and especially in Week 1.
And The Pick Is ….
I’m not of the belief that you should “save” a team until later in the year. Thus, even though I don’t want to take a road team, it’s the Patriots in Week 1.
Doc’s Sports football picks got off to a great start for Week 1 of college football (4-1, $100 bettors up nearly $1,400) and this NFL handicapper is licking his chops for Week 1 this weekend. Doc will have a full card of college and NFL picks and he expects another huge weekend. Click Here for more information.