I wound up going with the Eagles last week, and I paid the price in my lone remaining survivor pool. I'm still alive as all six other players also took Philly, but I could have won it outright. The problem was that I had used up Vegas' top four choices (GB, BAL, SD and DAL), and the others fell slightly below my threshold even given the pot odds. I actually would have gone with Kansas City had I not taken Philly – which would have had the same result. In any event, let's take a look at this week's slate:
1. Green Bay Packers
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked* ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|PATRIOTS ||Chiefs ||40.70% ||950 ||90%
|49ERS ||Cardinals ||22.70% ||450 ||82%
|LIONS ||Panthers ||11.10% ||275 ||73%
|PACKERS ||Buccaneers ||7.70% ||850 ||89%
|Jets ||BRONCOS ||4.10% ||275 ||73%
|FALCONS ||Titans ||3.90% ||240 ||71%
|Cowboys ||REDSKINS ||2.80% ||330 ||77%
|RAVENS ||Bengals ||2.50% ||290 ||74%
|BEARS ||Chargers ||1.50% ||180 ||64%
|GIANTS ||Eagles ||0.90% ||220 ||69%
No one has the Packers left by now, but on the off chance you did, they're the easy choice again this week with an excellent chance of winning and only 7.7 percent of the pool on them. Of course, at this stage, you probably know who the remaining survivors have available, so you should modify the percent-picked stats accordingly. The Bucs could pull this out if the Packers were somehow to overlook them, but Green Bay seems to be one of the few teams to perform more or less consistently every week. And the defense is only getting better. I give the Packers an 89 percent chance to win this game.
2. New England Patriots (my pick)
Even with a high number of people on them, the Pats are such an overwhelming favorite, it's hard not to use them this week. The Chiefs with Tyler Palko
are a true doormat, and the Pats offense is among the most efficient in the league. I give the Patriots a 91 percent chance to win this game.
3. San Francisco 49ers
The Cardinals have played better of late, beating the Eagles and Rams and nearly beating the Ravens in Baltimore. But San Francisco's limited mistakes on offense and played smothering defense, something that should be a stiff test for John Skelton
. Still, if this becomes a low-scoring slugfest, it could be dangerous, especially with Patrick Peterson
returning punts. I give the 49ers an 80 percent chance to win this game.
4. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are an average team, but they play better at home and they typically take care of business against weaker teams. The Titans without Kenny Britt
looked like a borderline doormat until last week, and I'm wary of giving them too much credit for one win over Carolina. I give the Falcons a 73 percent chance to win this game.
5. Detroit Lions
The Lions can't run the ball at all without Jahvid Best
, and Matthew Stafford
's 6.9 YPA is subpar, despite the presence of Calvin Johnson
. But Detroit's pass defense has been stout, and Stafford should get enough done against Carolina's weak pass defense to pull away. I give the Lions a 73 percent chance to win this game.
6. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are so Jeckyll and Hyde, it's hard to trust them, but they're at home, and the Bengals just lost top cover corner Leon Hall
. Moreover, A.J. Green
is banged up, and Baltimore did just win at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. I give the Ravens a 72 percent chance to win this game.
7. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys just annihilated the Bills at home, but Buffalo's had some injuries to key linemen on both sides of the ball. Dallas had some trouble with Seattle at home and was blown out by the Eagles the prior week, so I'm not sold on them as a consistent team. The Redskins are a mess, but this game is in Washington, and these teams know each other very well. I give the Cowboys a 70 percent chance to win this game.
New York Giants
- If Michael Vick
doesn't play, you can put the Giants at No. 6 or 7, but with Vick in there, I'd stay away from this division rivalry game.
- The Bears have looked great of late, but the Chargers are still a dangerous team with Philip Rivers
, Vincent Jackson
and Antonio Gates
New York Jets
- The Jets are coming off a bad Sunday night loss and have to travel across country for a Thursday game in high altitude against an unconventional opponent for whom it's hard to prepare. I'd stay away.