Last week didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Atlanta just had too much going against it in week 4 and I was still holding out hope all the way to the end. The Falcons couldn’t recover from injuries and a few odd circumstances allowed the Bills to crush many Survivor Pool dreams.

I got too cute in week 4, something I plead for others to avoid. Instead of backing a Seattle team — despite all the problems I believe will continue — that wasn’t going to lose at home against a Luck-less Colts team, I chose an Atlanta team that actually hasn’t been great at home in recent years.

With that being said, I’ll still offer up my best bets for the week. The Survivor Pool has been a treacherous terrain this season and it won’t get any easier in week 5. Here’s the week 5 Survivor Pool picks.

Teams Used: Pittsburgh, Oakland, New England, Atlanta (lost)

Best Bet

Pittsburgh Steelers

Many have already used Pittsburgh, so this may not be applicable. If you haven’t used them, now may be the time to use them since this week is filled with close spreads and toss-up games.

The Steelers have the second-best pass defense in the NFL (behind only Jacksonville). The only difference for Pittsburgh’s defense is that it is more than serviceable against the run, while the Jaguars can’t stop anybody on the ground. That will not only help Le’Veon Bell fantasy football owners, but also a Pittsburgh offense that has been stagnant more often than not this season.

The Jaguars have a lot going against them in this game. They’re in their third consecutive game away from home (London and New York in the previous two weeks) and the offense couldn’t do anything against the Jets. That won’t get any better this week.

The Jaguars have solid talent on defense, but that rush defense that couldn’t stop the Jets or the Titans, won’t get better in a week’s time. That’s a major problem against a Pittsburgh team that finally showed some life in week 4 with the running game.

Golden Tate should lead the Lions to a win in the week 5 Survivor Pool. Flickr

My Pick

Detroit Lions

This week is tough. A lot of people are going to back Philadelphia and New England (another team I’ve already chosen), but I’m not quite as sure of those picks as others.

For me, this game comes down to a team that I believe is one of the best teams in the NFC. The Lions are really good. They can play in so many ways. One week, Detroit can play an up-tempo offensive game against Atlanta, and then return in the next week on the road, and defeat a defensive-minded team.

That’s a major difference with this Detroit team than years past. It can win in multiple ways, led by a defense that is harassing quarterbacks to the tune of a QBR of 71, the fifth-best mark in the league, and an offense that features Matthew Stafford, who is clutch, taking care of the football and moving the chains enough that the Lions own the fifth-best time of possession in the NFL.

That is enough for me to back the Lions. Carolina is in the midst of back-to-back road games and I’m still not sold on that offense. The Panthers didn’t do anything for three weeks and then came out of a funk against a New England team not able to stop anybody.

If you don’t have the Steelers left, you could do a lot worse than Detroit.

Be Careful

Philadelphia Eagles

There’s really not many other choices. The majority of bets are on Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Those are the biggest spreads of the week, so it’s not surprising.

But there’s something about that matchup with the Eagles vs. the Cardinals that has me worried. Should Philadelphia really be almost a touchdown favorite over a team many believed would challenge for an NFC West title at the beginning of the season?

Arizona has been atrocious in different time zones in the last two years, but the defense is still decent enough to make stops against an emerging Philadelphia offense.

The Eagles are squeaking by teams, and the previous two opponents have a combined zero wins. I think this Philadelphia team is pretty good. But I’m not sure at the moment, especially against the pass, which has hindered them in the last three weeks.

The Eagles are going to be a popular pick, and they may be just fine. I’m just concerned with how they’ve looked in the previous two weeks, and if we’re going to see more of that in the coming weeks.


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