Week 3 proved why the Survivor Pool is not easy.

Favorites were 8-8 straight up in week 3, with people who followed the anti-Jets strategy going down in flames.

That’s why I try not to get too cute with my selections, and even in doing so, almost suffered a loss with New England.

Three weeks in, and I’m still alive. Here’s my week 4 Survivor Pool pick.

Teams Used: Pittsburgh, Oakland, New England

Matt Ryan should lead his team to a win in the week 4 Survivor Pool. Flickr/Keith Allison/http://bit.ly/1OmpAqE

Best Bet

Atlanta Falcons

You can make a legitimate case that Atlanta should be 1-2, instead of 3-0. The Bears were a few yards shy of a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter in week 1, and I’m still not convinced the Lions didn’t win in week 3.

Atlanta hasn’t played great on the road, but it has done enough to be 3-0. And that has me confident enough in them to match up well at home in week 4 against a Buffalo team not capable of moving the ball consistently.

Dating back to last season, the Falcons have scored less than 30 points only six times in regular season games. During that same period, the Bills have scored more than 30 points five times.

Since winning at Los Angeles in week 5 of last season, the Bills are 1-5 on the road, consistently unable to generate much offensively. This season will be no different.

Buffalo ranks in the bottom-10 in the NFL in total yards, and is once again in the bottom-five for passing. Atlanta is showing it can stop the run, meaning it will neutralize Buffalo’s main weapon at moving the ball.

Now, some may believe in the Buffalo defense, but I’m not buying it just yet. The Bills have faced the New York Jets, Carolina and Denver in the first three weeks of the season. Those teams aren’t near the same level as Atlanta.

The Falcons are a better team and this matchup is one to exploit. Atlanta has the better roster and it’s at home. Book the Falcons.

Good Bets

Green Bay, New England, Seattle, Jacksonville

Green Bay and New England at home are usually going to be solid contenders in the Survivor Pool. They scare me with their weaknesses, but as the season progresses, both of those teams have shown in years past to get better throughout the season.

And Jacksonville is part of that anti-Jets strategy that will work this year, and I believe it will work in week 4. I’m not going to get suckered into an opinion on the Jets based on one performance in week 3. The Jaguars are much better than the Jets.

Seattle, meanwhile, scares me much more. The only reason I’m putting them in this spot is because Indianapolis doesn’t have the personnel to match up well with Seattle.

But those offensive line issues and the defense getting pushed around in the running game has me questioning the ability of this team. They can get better, but something tells me this team’s issues go much deeper than just what’s on the field. They’re probably going to win Sunday, but they’re not a consistent enough of a team to back in a Survivor Pool.

Be Careful

Cincinnati, Arizona

I actually have both of these teams losing in week 4, so I wouldn’t touch them.

Don’t be fooled by the week 3 Bengals. They were in desperation mode and still lost. The defense can’t make big stops and that offense still doesn’t do enough to trust them on the road for a back-to-back tilt.

Cleveland is better than in past years and the offensive and defensive lines will win consistent matchups against the Bengals. That will spell trouble for Cincinnati.

The Cardinals are almost a touchdown favorite, but I’m questioning why. There’s just not much I like about this team. The defense can’t make stops when it counts. And the offense looks old. San Francisco is another team that is better than their record and that will show in week 4.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Well, that one didn’t work out. Was going to take Seattle over the Luck-less Colts, but took the Falcons instead after reading this. In fairness, that was an incomplete pass that was returned for a touchdown, and the injuries to Jones and Sanu were huge deciding factors, but the Bills defense was better than expected, and their kicker is nails. Tough loss to exit the season on. See you in Fall of 2018.

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