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Survivor Pool Picks: Week 15, 2021

By Matthew Schiff | 12/16/21

Upset Games:

In looking at some of the Vegas lines this week, both of the NFC East games (DAL @ NYG, WAS @ PHI) seem to be blowouts. But it’s difficult to rely on any team fifteen weeks into a survival pool contest. The Cowboys, while showing that they might still be the team we saw in the first six weeks of the season, in a game against their division rival on the road is no sure bet. And to think that the Eagles are more than a touchdown favorite over a very good Washington defense that was smoked last week by Dallas, means that someone was smoking something when that line was set. Avoid both and look below for better options.

#3: San Francisco over Atlanta
(11-3: buf, TB, AZ, GB, MN, PIT, LAR, KC, no, DAL, LAC, ind, PHL, SEA)

30 years ago, this NFC West matchup actually had some fire to it. This year, their might be fireworks, but more from the 49ers than the Falcons. Yes both teams are in the playoff hunt, but one is a viable playoff team and the other, a poser.

San Francisco is better in almost every stat category. Combine that with the fact that their team is starting to get healthy at the right time of the year, and it makes the 49ers a tough team to beat. Yes, the Falcons are 5-2 on the road this season, but the speed of San Francisco’s lineman should prevent the spread offense of the Falcons to do what they did against Carolina last week. If you choose this game based upon their defenses, the Niners are in the top quartile and the Falcons, bottom quartile.

#2: Arizona over Detroit
(11-3: TB, GB, DEN, no, NE, LAR, bal, cin, MIA, BUF, CLE, DAL, IND, LAC)

Until the Lions can muster a consistent offense and prove that they can keep their skill players on the field, it is best to pick against them and anyone playing Houston.

This week, the Cardinals have the pleasure of hosting the Lions and should get back to their winning ways after last week’s loss to the Rams. The Cardinals are superior across the board as highlighted by the chart below, and easily should win this game. If you haven’t used Arizona yet, this is one that you can lock in. If you have, can I interest you in a Dolphins game that normally scares the living daylights out of me?

†Cardinals-O / Lions-D Comparison
ARI Off Rk Stat Rk DET Def
374.8 9 TOT YDS 28 379.2
252.2 10 PASS YDS 17 244.0
122.5 12 RUSH YDS 28 135.2
28.2 4 PTS SCORED 29 27.2
13 4 T OVERS / T AWAYS 22 14

†Cardinals-D / Lions-O Comparison
ARI Def Rk Stat Rk DET Off
321.6 5 TOT YDS 26 311.3
209.8 5 PASS YDS 27 200.8
111.8 16 RUSH YDS 17 110.5
19.5 4 PTS SCORED 30 16,4
23 6 T OVERS / T AWAYS 19 18

#1: Miami over NY Jets
(12-2: SF, CLE, CAR, BUF, TB, KC, AZ, LAR, dal, IND, ten, BAL, MN, GB)

Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins host their division rival NY Jets in a game that has big playoff meaning for the home team. At 6-7 and riding a five-game winning streak, the Dolphins have put themselves in position to earn one of the last AFC wild card spots.

It has been the running game of Myles Gaskin that has been a pleasant surprise. Should he clear COVID protocols, he should have a big day against the Jets defense. Keep your eye on which running back is able to play in this game. If Gaskin canít go, one of Phillip Lindsay, Salvon Ahmed or Malcolm Brown will carry the rock while Tua slings the ball to DeVante Parker and Co. If this team gels, they could be a force in the AFC East for years to come.

Meanwhile, the Jets have been an enigma. One week playing inspired football and winning unwinnable games, to just not finishing plays. Yes, this is that dreaded division matchup that you should avoid when wanting to win your pool. But this late in the season, sometimes you have to go with the hot hand. As such, take the team that is on the winning streak and ride them until you die.

†Jets-O / Dolphins-D Comparison
NYJ Off Rk Stat Rk MIA Def
321.5 22 TOT YDS 22 358.4
237.4 15 PASS YDS 28 254.5
84.2 30 RUSH YDS 8 103.8
17.4 29 PTS SCORED 13 22.2
25 32 T OVERS / T AWAYS 8 21

†Jets-D / Dolphins-O Comparison
NYJ Def Rk Stat Rk MIA Off
392.8 31 TOT YDS 29 309.8
254.0 27 PASS YDS 16 230.5
138.8 29 RUSH YDS 31 79.2
30.5 32 PTS SCORED 25 19.5
9 31 T OVERS / T AWAYS 23 20