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Survivor Pool Picks: Week 9, 2021

By Matthew Schiff | 11/4/21

Upset Special: NY Jets over Indianapolis

The Colts don’t exactly run up the score on teams, have a suspect quarterback under center in Carson Wentz, and have allowed teams to score over 28 points a game in their five loses. But the J-E-T-S aren’t the Titans or Ravens so why worry?

Well, if you didn’t see Mike White last week against Cincinnati, go watch the tape. He got hit, knocked out of the game, and came back to lead his team to an improbable win. Michael Carter is starting to find room to run, and Ty Johnson is a perfect compliment as a pass catching back. There is hope in the Meadowlands for a team that has been stuck in the cellar since 1972.

There is no way Indianapolis covers the 10.5 spread and if this game was in New York, I’d be inclined to say the Jets win. But on the road, this game should be avoided if you wish to remain in your pool.

#3: New Orleans over Atlanta
(7-1: buf, TB, AZ, GB, MN, PIT, LAR, KC)

The Saints lost Jameis Winston to a torn ACL and the big question is, will Taysom Hill be ready to play (concussion – Week 5). If Hill isn’t cleared, Trevor Siemian will take the helm. In either case, you can expect a heavy dose of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in a division game that New Orleans would really like to have.

A strange year in Atlanta for sure. The Falcons will be without Calvin Ridley who is taking time off from football for his mental health. It’s unfortunate, but as he has said, its “in his best interest” and will make him a better person and player. In the meantime, rookie Kyle Pitts has become Matt Ryan’s go to receiver over the last two weeks and Cordarrelle Patterson has become their workhorse.

Atlanta’s three wins have come against teams that are a combined 5-19. On most weeks you should avoid the division rivalry games, but this week, take the Saints as they march on to victory.

#2: Miami over Houston
(5-3: TB, GB, DEN, no, NE, LAR, bal, cin)

This number two pick seems to be my killer this year. Last week the Jets took out a Bengals team that had that big letdown. This week, the Dolphins, in a game between two 1-7 teams is your second best choice. Sure, doesn’t it doesn’t make sense, but if you to remain in your pool, you’ll have to pick a losing team one week… and this is the week to do it.
Miami is getting healthy and starting to play better. Tua Tagovailoa is being given the chance to lead his team after the trade deadline. If they can avoid turnovers, the one category where Houston’s defense is good at, this may be the one game that Miami might win - other than against the Jets.

Meanwhile, Houston traded Mark Ingram back to New Orleans, and held on to Deshaun Watson because no GM in their right mind wants to take that issue on. So, that leaves Tyrod Taylor to lead this 32nd ranked offense in points scored to pull off the upset on the road. Based upon the stats below, take the Dolphins and relax.

 Texans-O / Dolphins-D Comparison
HOU Off Rk Stat Rk MIA Def
281.1 31 TOT YDS 32 406.9
205.0 30 PASS YDS 31 291.1
76.1 31 RUSH YDS 19 115.8
14.9 32 PTS SCORED 29 29.1
13 27 T OVERS / T AWAYS 16 9

 Texans-D / Dophins-O Comparison
HOU Def Rk Stat Rk MIA Off
401.4 30 TOT YDS 30 301.9
253.3 19 PASS YDS 25 223.3
148.1 31 RUSH YDS 30 78.6
30.1 31 PTS SCORED 28 17.3
9 15 T OVERS / T AWAYS 29 13

#1: Dallas over Denver
(8-0: SF, CLE, CAR, BUF, TB, KC, AZ, LAR)

Well, if you are still paying attention to my picks, it means that you avoided the Jets upset over the Bengals last week. This week, America’s Team hosts the Broncos in Irving and Dak Prescott is expected back under center.

Meanwhile in Denver, Von Miller was traded away to the Rams, and his heart and soul, and pass rush, will be sorely missed. But as their owners said, it was time to “do what was right” for him, and they got incredible value in a 2nd and 3rd round pick in April for a player who is in his contract year.

Putting player moves aside, the Cowboys are leading the NFC East and there doesn’t seem to be much competition. The same can’t be said for the Broncos, who are in one of the strongest divisions in football, let alone the AFC, and are finding that Teddy Bridgewater and Melvin Gordon don’t exactly scare most teams. Yes, Jerry Jeudy is back to add an additional reliable deep threat, but the Broncos will be hard pressed to keep up with the No.1 ranked rushing offense, and No.3 scoring offense in the league. Combine that with Dallas’ ability to generate turnovers and you have an easy No.1 Survivor Pool pick.