Over the past few years, we have given the subscribers of Footballguys.com some help in playing office pools, one of the most popular methods to follow the NFL aside from fantasy football leagues. For the past few seasons, the staff members have done the Staff Confidence Pool Challenge, where numerous staffers try and pick the winners each week with a confidence ranking, and Jeff Pasquino’s “For The Win” column where Jeff attempts to pick each and every NFL game against the Las Vegas spread. Both of these have been very popular features, so this year Footballguys is adding a combination of the two called the “Against the Spread” Challenge and also the Eliminator Challenge, where staffers have to pick a team to win each week. Just one? That sounds easy, but here is the catch – you can only pick the team you choose in a given week once all season long. Many contests and pools out there get pretty big, so an Eliminator (or Survivor) Pool can go 16 or 17 weeks.
Jeff Pasquino has provided some insight into this kind of contest with two pre-season articles, first one that describes this kind of contest along with some advice on how to pick a team each week:
The second article is rather interesting, which describes Jeff’s preseason plan to get all the way through 17 weeks. Will it work? We are about to find out.
This pool will run all season long, but to keep participation up, the pool will crown the staffer with the best W-L record for the season (which means that everyone in the pool will continue to make picks every week).
THIS WEEK'S PICK SUMMARY
Here are the picks for this week, along with last week's results:
Twenty staffers are in the pool and Week 4 was another landmine of a week with losses by the Falcons (ouch) and Patriots, along with both Dallas and Jacksonville. Six more losses are added to the pile, leaving only six staffers with a perfect 4-0 record. That could be in jeopardy this week as Week 5 looks like another tough one, with only Pittsburgh as a big favorite.
With all 20 picks in, it is not that surprising that most of the staff that still had the Steelers available went in that direction, as 9 of 20 picks went to Pittsburgh (and four of the staff already used the Steelers). The rest of the picks were rather scattered for the week, with only the Vikings (4) at the Bears and the Eagles (4) hosting the Cardinals getting major interest. Two staffers, Alex Miglio and Bear Heiser, went with the Colts at home against the 49ers, while Ari Engel is flying solo with the Lions at home against Carolina. This could be a tricky week.
Please note a few things: We will be doing these picks every week, win or lose, to keep it entertaining all season long. Normally a Survivor / Eliminator pool would end once all but one player lost once, but to provide our subscribers with more perspectives, everyone will pick every week even if they lose. That said, we will still try and honor the spirit of an Eliminator / Survivor Pool, trying to win every week and not re-use any teams during the year.
Each week, contestants are invited to submit any comments that they might have about their picks. If they submit them early enough, we post them with the article. If not, the comments will be within the section below.
Jeff Pasquino: Well, that was a bad beat if ever there was one. I took Atlanta last week and the Bills went in there and stole a win, knocking the Falcons from the ranks of the undefeated teams. I still contend that Buffalo's defensive touchdown was not a fumble, but regardless Atlanta was tied in the fourth quarter and should have completed the task, even with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu on the sidelines. I'll get over it, eventually.
So now comes Week 5, and like I mentioned in my preseason plan, this week is just ugly. Really, really ugly. I can almost hear the schedule makers laughing at us for trying to pick the right road team to win this week. I settled on Minnesota at the Bears, which is more a vote against Chicago than anything else as Dalvin Cook is out and it is still not clear which quarterback will be under center in Week 5. There are not many games with Money Lines over -200 this week (I count three - New England, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), which validates that this is a tougher week. I just do not see how Chicago stops Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs this week, and Minnesota gets to tee off on a rookie quarterback in his first ever start. Seems like the right time to take the Vikings, even on the road and in the division.
The Pick: Minnesota
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org