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The Elias Guide to Survive: Week 3

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) drops back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL didn’t disappoint with the drama once again in Week 2, which meant that many survivor pool entries went down in flames. In Week 3, there aren’t as many heavy favorites as last week, so survivor pool picks will require a little more thought for those still alive after two weeks. Fortunately, we are here to do some of that thinking for you, as we look at the most popular survivor pool Week 3 picks using Elias Insights.

NFL Survivor Pool Week 2 Recap

Overall, the heaviest favorites on the NFL Week 2 slate managed to win and send those who picked them onto Week 3. Despite some valiant upset attempts from teams such as the Falcons and Texans, these five favorites of over a touchdown managed to pull through to the benefit of many survivor pool players:

  • The Rams held on to defeat the Falcons despite being outscored 17-3 in the fourth quarter
  • The 49ers defense held the Seahawks to seven points to overcome a season-ending injury to quarterback Trey Lance
  • The Broncos took out the Texans despite not scoring a touchdown until the fourth quarter
  • Aaron Rodgers continued to “own” the Bears in a 17-point Packers home win
  • The Bills continued to look like Super Bowl contenders with a 41-7 victory over the Titans

Browns and Bengals Cost Survivor Players

However, things were not perfect for survivor pool players in Week 2, as the state of Ohio let many down in improbable fashion. The Cleveland Browns led the Jets by 13 points with under two minutes to play. But a blown coverage from the Browns, followed by a successful Jets onside kick, followed by another Jets touchdown was enough to have Browns backers seeing red.

Then there were the Cincinnati Bengals, who looked to bounce back from a Week 1 loss to the Steelers when they took on the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys in Arlington. For the second straight week, the Bengals allowed six sacks, as Rush threw for more yards than Joe Burrow and Dallas beat Cincinnati as time expired.

Popular Week 3 Matchups

With many survivor pools already down to some of their final entries, it’s time to look at the most popular survivor pool Week 3 picks. Per DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of this writing, there is precisely one favorite of seven points or more this week. However, there are still some survivor pool options occupying a large segment of the picks being made this week.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates his touchdown with teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster (9) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
Photo Credit: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kansas City Chiefs (@ Indianapolis Colts)

According to Yahoo! Sports, the most popular survivor pool Week 3 pick is the Kansas City Chiefs, who are on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts. Kansas City comes into this game on extra rest, having played on Thursday Night Football in Week 2. Combine that with the Colts being shut out by the Jaguars last week, and you have a recipe for survivor pool players flocking to the Chiefs.

There is the possibility, though, that the Colts offense wakes up in this matchup against a Chiefs team that is averaging 35.5 points per game through two weeks. This is the first home game of 2022 for the Colts, who started their season with road games in Houston and Jacksonville. Indianapolis is 10th in the NFL in yards per game so far, but somehow last by scoring average, posting just 10.0 points per game. Whether or not this is the game where the Colts can finish their drives with more points remains to be seen.

Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

Going into Week 3, the only team favored by seven points or more is the Los Angeles Chargers, who host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Like the Chiefs, the Chargers come into this game on additional rest after playing on Thursday. That rest will be important for Justin Herbert, who is listed as questionable after suffering fractured rib cartilage after taking several hits in last week’s game against the Chiefs.

Jacksonville is looking to snap an 18-game road losing streak this week, one that dates back to the 2019 season. To do so, the duo of Trevor Lawrence and Christian Kirk will need to keep operating at a high level. That tandem connected for two touchdowns last week, as Kirk has caught 12 of his 18 targets so far this year. If the Chargers are to win and help the survivor pool players backing them, they need to find a way to shut Kirk down.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) hands the ball of to Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) for a carry in the third quarter of an NFL Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Photo Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cincinnati Bengals (@ New York Jets)

Last week, the Bengals and Jets were both involved in outcomes significant to survivor pools. The Bengals could not overcome the combination of the Cowboys pass rush and the magic of Cooper Rush, while the Jets earned one of the great comeback wins in recent memory in Cleveland. This week, the Bengals go to MetLife Stadium and look to avoid an upset loss there for the second straight season.

Last season, Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns to help the Jets upset the Bengals as 11.5-point underdogs. That has not stopped survivor pool players from selecting the Bengals this week, as Cincinnati looks to avoid an 0-3 start in their AFC championship defense. If the Bengals are going to finally get into the win column, it will start with pass protection, as they have allowed 13 sacks through their first two games against Pittsburgh and Dallas.

Philadelphia Eagles (@ Washington Commanders)

The Philadelphia Eagles are a popular survivor pool pick this week, after their offense has started the season with a bang. Jalen Hurts has averaged 361.5 total yards per game, using both his arm and his legs to break down opposing defenses. This week, the Eagles face their former starting quarterback on the road when they match up against Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders.

Through two weeks, the Commanders rank second in the NFL in passing yardage, averaging 306.5 yards per game through the air. Wentz is tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns through two weeks, throwing seven touchdown passes thus far. However, this is the biggest test of the season for both teams in the early stages of the 2022 campaign, and it will be interesting to see which quarterback continues to have success on Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings (vs. Detroit Lions)

The Minnesota Vikings were routed last week by the Philadelphia Eagles, scoring just seven points in a double-digit loss on Monday Night Football. Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions, as the Eagles outgained the Vikings by 222 yards at Lincoln Financial Field. Regardless of that performance, many survivor pool players are backing the Vikings at home against the Lions this week.

For the Vikings to get back into the win column and reward those brave enough to pick them, they will need to stop Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown has 17 receptions through the first two weeks of this season, and has caught eight or more passes in eight straight games dating back to last season. After pulling in nine passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns against the Commanders last week, Week 3 will be St. Brown’s first chance to perform on the road this season, and the Vikings have to slow him down to avoid being a knockout pool letdown.

Chicago Bears (vs. Houston Texans)

The Chicago Bears are favored by just a field goal against the Houston Texans coming into this game, but they are an interesting team from a survivor pool perspective. (They rank in the top-six of survivor pool picks as of Wednesday.) Since you can only use each team once in survivor pool play, there is sometimes value in backing teams that are not the best in the league early in the season and saving more elite teams for later in the year.

The Bears and Texans have struggled offensively, with each team averaging 14.5 points per game through Week 2. But the Texans’ struggles don’t end there, as they rank next-to-last in yards per game allowed on defense, giving up an average of 433.5 yards after facing the Colts and Broncos. The question is whether the Bears can take advantage of Houston’s defensive issues or not, as Chicago has averaged just 76.5 passing yards per game through two weeks.

 

Best of luck with your survivor pool picks for this week! Be sure to check back for our Week 4 survivor pool guide.

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