NFL Week 7 survivor picks: Deciding which double-digit favorite to choose
It's been smooth sailing for us through six weeks. While things will get tougher soon with byes piling up and more teams becoming unavailable, we still have another week of calm waters ahead of us.
There are three double-digit favorites to choose from in Week 7, all of which look like very safe survivor picks. Here's how the full slate shakes out:
|Texans||Cardinals (-17)||ARI (10)|
|Bears||Buccaneers (-13.5)||TB (10)|
|Lions||Rams (-15.5)||LAR (10)|
|Washington||Packers (-9.5)||GB (8)|
|Jets||Patriots (-7)||NE (8)|
|Bengals||Ravens (-6.5)||BAL (4)|
|Colts||49ers (-3.5)||SF (4)|
|Chiefs||Titans (+4.5)||KC (3)|
|Saints||Seahawks (+5)||NO (3)|
|Broncos||Browns (-3.5)||CLE (2)|
|Eagles||Raiders (-3)||LV (2)|
|Panthers||Giants (+3)||NYG (1)|
|Falcons||Dolphins (+2.5)||MIA (1)|
Confidence rating (CR) is the author's level of trust in picking the winner of each given game
Which big favorite should you take?
The hardest decision we have to make this week is which of the big favorites to pick. At the risk of being presumptuous, all three look close to surefire outright winners. The Cardinals are the biggest favorite of the bunch, while the Buccaneers are the smallest, but the difference between the two is rather negligible. The same can be said of the Rams.
The outside chance Tyrod Taylor returns this week isn't enough reason to sour on Arizona, given the Texans' defensive struggles and a general lack of overall talent. The Cardinals are averaging 32.3 points per game, while Houston ranks at, or near, the bottom of the league in every important defensive metric.
The Lions have the same issue on defense, which has only been worsened by a laundry list of injuries. They rank dead-last in yards per pass allowed, and they have to travel to take on the league's most efficient passing offense. It's not going to be a happy homecoming for Jared Goff.
As for the Bears, they match up horribly with Tampa Bay. Chicago's run-happy - possibly pass-shy - offense ranks second in rush-play percentage, but it'll struggle to find success against far and above the league's best run defense. The way to attack the Bucs is through the air, but Justin Fields and this offense simply aren't equipped to do so. The Bears will really struggle to move the ball here in a game that could get ugly, early.
With all three picks about as safe as we could hope for, how do we decide on the one we want? Now, I'm going to do something that not only goes against my general rule of thumb for survivor pools, but also directly contradicts what I've preached in the past.
We're going to base our decision off which teams we're best suited to save for future use.
In order to do so, we must analyze their remaining schedules:
|8||@ Texans||vs. Packers||@ Saints|
|9||vs. Titans||@ 49ers||BYE|
|10||@ 49ers||vs. Panthers||@ Washington|
|11||BYE||@ Seahawks||vs. Giants|
|12||@ Packers||BYE||@ Colts|
|13||vs. Jaguars||@ Bears||@ Falcons|
|14||@ Cardinals||vs. Rams||vs. Bills|
|15||vs. Seahawks||@ Lions||vs. Saints|
|16||@ Vikings||vs. Colts||@ Panthers|
|17||@ Ravens||@ Cowboys||@ Jets|
|18||vs. 49ers||vs. Seahawks||vs. Panthers|
The Rams should be protected at all costs, with games against the Texans and Jaguars still remaining. In fact, you could save them for next week's visit to Houston in what looks like a bit of a tricky week at first glance.
The Cardinals could be viable at home to the Panthers in Week 10 and at the Lions in Week 15, but neither matchup is all that inspiring. The game against Carolina could be something of a trap, sandwiched between road contests against a pair of NFC West rivals. Maybe you feel Week 16 at home to the Colts is worth holding out for.
As for the Bucs, there are also some viable options in there, with Week 11 against the Giants - who are a live 'dog when fully healthy - and Week 17 at the Jets standing out. Still, Week 17 is quite far away, and a lot can happen between now and then. Tampa Bay might not even have anything to play for.
Based on the remaining strength of schedules, the Bucs would be my top choice this week. If you have multiple entries, I'd suggest a split between Tampa Bay and Arizona.
Avoid: The rest
Normally in this section, I like to pinpoint a specific team. However, it feels worth it this week to group the rest together into one stay-away cocktail. There's no reason not to pick the Bucs, Cards, or Rams, other than you've already used all three this season. That being said, I will give a specific mention to the Patriots and Packers.
New England is coming off a gut-wrenching overtime loss and could be caught out a bit by a Jets team coming off a bye. The Patriots dismantled New York last month, and the Jets' issues run deep, but I'm still passing here with New York having two weeks to prepare and there being better options available.
The Packers are also a stay-away for me this week. They just haven't been all that impressive. Despite a 5-1 record, they rank as a middle-of-the-pack team both offensively and defensively, and they could just as easily be 3-3. Washington has struggled, but it has the horses on offense to give Green Bay trouble if things go according to the script.
Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.