You’ve finally made it. The final week of the Survivor Pool, and if you hopped off your anti-Cleveland stance last week, you only have one more week to survive.

Week 17 always leaves a little room for some surprises. The best teams may be resting their starters, so be careful to read up on how your team is looking toward the season’s final week.

Here’s the week 17 Survivor Pool picks.

Teams Used: Seattle, Carolina, Miami, Washington, Baltimore (lost), New England, Green Bay, Denver, Minnesota (lost), Arizona, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, San Diego (lost), Detroit, Atlanta and Dallas.

Best Bet

New England Patriots

I’ll stick with the New England train as this week’s best bet, based on last year.

The Patriots eased into the final weeks of last year’s regular season, losing their grip on home-field advantage. With that advantage, it’s more than plausible to believe the Patriots would have beaten Denver at home and gone on to another Super Bowl.

They know it and that’s why they aren’t letting that happen again this year. New England has been a dominating force in recent weeks and I believe it has a lot to do with the way last year’s regular season ended. New England lost four of its final six games of the 2015 regular season, eliminating them from the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

This season, it’s been a much different story.

Since losing to the Seahawks on Nov. 13, New England has dismantled its opponents, letting only two of the past six opponents to be within one score at the end of the game.

New England still has plenty to play for since it needs a win to guarantee home-field advantage. Miami is already in the playoffs and staring down a firm No. 6 seed. The Patriots are the better team and will have more motivation.

Andrew Luck’s injury set the tone for the Colts this year. Flickr/ Drost

My Pick

Indianapolis Colts

I’m not going to let week 16 cloud my judgment on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They had one good week. The matchup was right for the Jaguars and I believed Jacksonville would show up like that during the first matchup with Tennessee. It didn’t happen then, but the Jaguars actually looked halfway decent in week 16.

But this is the NFL. You’re never as good or bad as you look in the previous week. The Colts should be thankful for that.

I anticipated Indianapolis to compete with Oakland in week 16, but back-to-back road games were too much for the Colts. They’ll be back in their friendly confines for week 17, which should yield better results.

With nothing to play for, it’s usually the defenses that suffer. That means this game should be all about the offense, and I can’t pass up the Colts. Andrew Luck is still far better than Blake Bortles, and I expect the Jaguars to have another tough time moving the football.

The Colts still own a top-12 offense and shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball against a defense one week away from looking toward 2017.

Good Bets

Washington, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Kansas City, Seattle

There are a number of solid picks this week. Washington and Buffalo top my list of the also-rans based on the opponent.

The Redskins are playing for their playoff lives, while New York would be wise to rest their starters. New York is the No. 5 seed for the NFC playoffs, so there’s no reason to play their starters. Whether they win or lose, they’re playing in the first weekend against the No. 4 seed.

That’s why oddsmakers have this game as Washington with an 8-point advantage.

For the Bills, I’m going with the Rex effect and the New York Jets quitting on the season. Buffalo will still play hard to win one for the recently fired Rex Ryan, even with nothing to play for in terms of the playoffs. And the Jets have given up for the season.

New York is 1-6 in the last seven games, losing three of their last four games by at least 21 points. Buffalo will show up to win in week 17, while the Jets are ready for 2016 to be over.

Be Careful

Pittsburgh and Dallas

These warning signs are firmly displayed because of the uncertainty surrounding the playing time of the starters.

The Cowboys had a major injury scare on Monday night, so it would be wise to consider resting the starters. Dallas has clinched home-field advantage and must travel on the road to Philadelphia. The Eagles aren’t a bad team, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so the Cowboys will likely give plenty of consideration to resting their starters.

If they do, the Eagles should hold the advantage.

The Steelers are playing the Browns at home, and while that matchup would generally result in a double-digit spread, oddsmakers are giving Pittsburgh a 7-point edge. This is a meaningless game for Pittsburgh, so they will more than likely rest their starters against a Browns team that just won their first game.

Do I believe Pittsburgh’s backups could beat Cleveland? Definitely. But it’s not necessarily worth risking your Survivor Pool on it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *