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Survivor Pool Picks: Week 17, 2021

By Matthew Schiff | 12/30/21

#3: Chicago over NY Giants
(13-3: buf, TB, ARI, GB, MN, PIT, LAR, KC, no, DAL, LAC, ind, PHI, SEA, SF, NYJ)

The game this week at Soldier field is basically for draft order in April. Last year, these two teams traded draft picks to respectively pick Justin Fields and Kadarius Toney, two players that should be stars for years to come.

In the meantime, the Giants have put Daniel Jones on the shelf, lost Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, and Toney for multiple games each. While the Bears have their own issues, it feels like they are going in the right direction with Fields (ankle) and Darnell Mooney. Assuming Fields suits up, both of these players should be the difference in this game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants are bad….. second to last in points allowed, and 3rd to last in yards allowed. While neither offense scares anyone, it can be expected that Fields to Mooney will be a hot route this week with a lot of David Montgomery up the middle. Feel comfortable taking the home team and Da’ Bears.

#2: San Francisco over Houston
(12-4: TB, GB, DEN, no, NE, LAR, bal, cin, MIA, BUF, CLE, DAL, IND, LAC, ari, PHI)

The Houston Texans are ranked 30th both on offense and defense. But on any given Sunday, any team can be beat. Case and point last week when the Chargers lost to this Houston team who now travel up the coast from Los Angeles to the Bay area to take on the 49ers, and look to win three straight for the first time since 2019.

But the niners are making a playoff run and won’t forget that Houston is dangerous. Jimmy Garoppolo was flat last week against the Titans, and will have to keep his team on the path towards the playoffs assuming his thumb allows him to play. More likely, Trey Lance and Jeff Wilson will be in the backfield, with a full complement of Goerge Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk on the receiving end.

However, the defense will be the difference here. The 49ers are fourth overall and it will take a perfect game by Houston to beat them. With rookie Davis Mills under center, look for the niners to confuse him with blitzes and disguised coverages.

#1: New England over Jacksonville
(13-3: SF, CLE, CAR, BUF, TB, KC, ARI, LAR, dal, IND, ten, BAL, MIN, GB, MIA, lac)

Whether you are a Bill Belichick fan or not, this may have been one of best coaching jobs in years, guiding a rookie quarterback with limited offensive playmakers, to the playoffs. Mac Jones is a true leader on the field who is just getting comfortable in the NFL system. The Patriots defense, ranked 2nd in points allowed and total yards will be no match for a Jacksonville offense that is last in points scored. Yes, Trevor Lawrence seems to be improving, but the Jaguars are a total mess. Barring a Jags defensive effort that rivaled their game against Buffalo, if you have not used the Patriots, it’s time.