Last year I posted my survival pool record for everyone to see.
In analyzing it now, last season was my best year on a percentage
basis, but it didn’t help yours truly win his pool. Why? Because
by Week 5, I was 4-1 and not 5-0. That is what a survival pool is
Survivor Pool Record: 2011-2021
So Matt, how will this help us in 2022? Well, truth is, it probably
will not. We have to dissect the coaching carousel, listen to the
injury whispers, guess on which free agent move will actually have
an impact (positive and negative), and know that Bill Belichick
blows one of his first three games each season as a heavy favorite
almost as a catalyst to get his team moving in the right direction.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing in a Survival
Pool, the goal is, JUST WIN BABY. But you can only pick one team
each week straight up. Sounds easy…. right? Not so.
Upset Special: Bears Over 49ers
The NFL has written the Bears off as the third or fourth team
in the NFC Central in spite of Justin Fields and an offense that
looks like his comfortable college system. Cole Kmet seems to
be a legitimate option at tight end while Darnell Mooney can stretch
the field and give Fields room to scramble when he draws deeps
But, it’s the running back position where the question
of David Montgomery comes up… Does he fit the offense, and
will it work with him or Khalil Herbert? Not sure. But this week,
the 49ers may be the ideal opponent to cover up any questions
they might have at that position.
San Francisco comes into Soldier Field with Trey Lance firmly
the starter and Jimmy Garoppolo on the bench with a new contract.
Deebo Samuel, in spite of trade request, is back and should continue
to be the explosive triple threat that he has been with George Kittle (groin) and Brandon Aiyuk spreading the main receiving
Like Chicago, this team seems to have questions at running back.
Elijah Mitchell can’t stay healthy, Jeff Wilson has had
knee issues, and Tyrion Davis-Pierce is an unknown quantity. Not
exactly something that instills fear or takes the pressure off
the passing game. Yes, Lance can run, but as Fields has found
out, do it sparingly.
The difference in this game? The Bears cleaned house this year.
Why do I say that? Well, 60% of the roster is new including 15
starters, and when you look at rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker in the secondary covering the backside of a 4-3 defense,
you can see where the upset might happen. There are way too many
unknowns in this game to take the favorite, and the Bears can
easily surprise the niners at home.
#3: Baltimore at NY Jets: (129-49 last 11 years)
This game will feature a quarterback (Joe Flacco) that won a
Super Bowl playing against the team that he won the ring with.
The stadium will be full of Jets’ faithful looking for an
upset using a combination of second-year running back Michael Carter and rookie Breece Hall. The intent… to play a ball
control game and take shots over the top. Sounds like a mirror
game plan as the Ravens, right? It is.
The real difference is going to come down to which defense plays
better. In this case, the Ravens have the advantage but Sauce
Gardner may change the complexion of this game with his defensive
play. While this game seems like a lock, it is the one that scares
me the most (especially as 75% of the picks are against the Jets).
#2: New Orleans at Atlanta: (127-51 last 11 years)
Gone are Sean Payton and Drew Brees, but in steps Jamison Winston,
a healthy(?) Michael
Thomas, rookie standout Chris
Olave, and Jarvis
Landry at wideout; with Alvin (I won’t be suspended in 2022)
Kamara in the backfield. Winston needed a fresh start after his
time in Tampa, and if he can cut down the interceptions, may have
the best supporting cast that he has played with during his NFL
This will be a good old fashion “welcome to the NFL” drubbing
at the hands of your division rivals. Long past is the Falcons’
defense that took them to the Super Bowl. Since the second half
of that game, the Falcons’ defense has not been the same. This
weekend won’t be the time they end their shell-shocked gameplay,
so take the Saints as they March off with their first win of the
Meanwhile, the Seahawks have definitely taken a step back with
ex-Jet Geno Smith
at the helm and Drew
Lock one injury away from dropping the clipboard and getting
under center again. Yes, Rashaad
Penny is back and has full time duties with Chris
Carson retired (neck) and Kenneth
Walker (hernia) likely on the sidelines. But, do you really
expect Geno to lead the Hawks to victory?
While the storyline of the swapped quarterbacks will be all the
buzz on Monday night, it will be the deafening silence from the
12th man, that will be more front and center as the game goes
on as Wilson picks apart a Seahawks defense that he is very familiar