If you just look at the scoreboard from Week 4 of the NFL season, you would think it was a relatively calm week of NFL survivor pool action. But there were some legitimately close calls that nearly took out a large amount of entries.
Before we get to Week 5 action, let’s look back at some of the notable Week 4 results among popular survivor pool picks. There were a couple of real tight calls, including the most popular pick of the week nearly falling to a team relying on its third string quarterback:
While the four most popular survivor pool picks all came through for players on Sunday, the fifth and sixth most popular picks both lost at home. The Detroit Lions’ explosive offense was on display yet again, posting 45 points against the Seattle Seahawks. But their run defense let them down and the Seahawks left Detroit with a 48-45 win.
The Pittsburgh Steelers also disappointed survivor pool players as they fell to the New York Jets at home. Mitch Trubisky could not put together a scoring drive, putting the Steelers in a hole at halftime. Coach Mike Tomlin opted for rookie Kenny Pickett at quarterback in the second half, and while he injected a little life into the Steelers offense, it wasn’t enough to secure a victory.
This week there are several teams favored by a touchdown or more, offering what seems to be an easy path to victory for still-alive survivor pool players. Most of those heavy favorites are playing at home, with the exception of a Green Bay team that is playing very far from home in London.
Using Elias Insights, let’s look at some of the most popular picks in survivor pool Week 5 play to inspect their merits in a week featuring several perceived mismatches on the NFL schedule.
The most popular survivor pool pick over at Yahoo! is the heaviest favorite of the week in the Buffalo Bills, who are two-touchdown favorites at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buffalo is 7-1 straight up and 5-2-1 against the spread as a double-digit favorite since the start of the 2021 season. In this game, it will host a rookie quarterback making his first career start, setting expectations even higher for its defense.
Kenny Pickett of the Steelers will look to buck the trend of rookie quarterbacks struggling on the road in their first year in the NFL. In 2021, rookie QBs went 9-25 in road games, averaging just 15.5 points per game in those contests. Against a Bills team that is tied for first in yards per game allowed and second in points per game allowed through four weeks, Najee Harris and the Steelers running game will need to step up and relieve some of the pressure on Pickett in his first career start.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently nine-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook going into their Sunday afternoon matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Although the Bucs lost 41-31 to the Kansas City Chiefs at home in Week 4, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense posted its best performance of the season in that contest. Survivor pool players seem to be banking on a second straight week of production from the Buccaneers offensively.
In 10 games against the Falcons in his career, Tom Brady has gone 10-0 straight up and 9-1 against the spread. For the Falcons to put an end to that streak, they will need to figure out how to replace the production of running back Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson was put on injured reserve with a knee injury, which will require the Falcons to rely on Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier out of the backfield against their division rivals.
Whether survivor pool players are picking the Jacksonville Jaguars this week because they believe in the Jaguars or they do not believe in the Houston Texans, the Jags are a popular selection this week. Jacksonville takes on the 0-3-1 Texans in just their second home game of the season, with the Jaguars shutting out the Colts in their only home game of 2022 so far.
If the Jaguars are going to come through for survivor pool players, it will be a rare victory for them over the Texans. Jacksonville has lost eight straight games to Houston dating back to the 2018 NFL season. To break this losing streak, the Jags will look to their ground game to get the better of a Texans run defense that ranks 31st in the NFL, allowing 172 rushing yards per game.
Survivor pool players believe in another team to beat their division rivals, as the Vikings host the Chicago Bears at US Bank Stadium. Minnesota enters this game atop of the NFC North standings with a 3-1 record and the early head-to-head tiebreaker over the Green Bay Packers. In this matchup, the Vikings will look to take advantage of a Chicago offense that has been far from explosive so far this season.
Through four weeks, the Chicago Bears have a league-worst 390 passing yards, averaging just 97.5 per game, the only team in the NFL averaging under 100 passing yards per contest. With Justin Fields posting a record of 0-6 in his career as an underdog of seven or more points, the Bears will need a lot more success through the air to pull off the upset against a popular survivor pool pick.
On Monday Night Football, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored by a touchdown over the Las Vegas Raiders. After their 41-31 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Chiefs are a popular survivor pool pick for this week, and given their success over the Raiders last season, it isn’t surprising to see survivor pool players flock to Patrick Mahomes and company in the first matchup between Kansas City and Las Vegas during this campaign.
Last season, the Chiefs swept the season series against the Raiders in dominant fashion. They averaged 44.5 points per game in those two games, winning 41-14 in Las Vegas before blowing out the Raiders 48-9 at home. However, the Raiders did not have Davante Adams last season, and the addition of such a dynamic wide receiver could help to level the playing field this time around.
London is the site of the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants this week. Both teams made the trip across the pond following a win, with the Packers beating the New England Patriots in overtime and the Giants beating the Chicago Bears in Week 4. Green Bay is a heavy favorite in this contest, and are a popular survivor pool pick for the second straight week.
For the Packers to avoid another close game as a heavy favorite, they’ll need to slow down Saquon Barkley of the Giants. The New York running back currently leads the NFL in carries and rushing yardage through the first four weeks of the season. After the Packers gave up 167 yards on the ground to the Patriots last week, run defense will be of massive importance to the Packers’ chances here.
Now you are ready to make your survivor pool pick! Be sure to come back next week for the latest installment of The Elias Guide To Survive.