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:
Week 14 was tough for the guys, as both the Patriots (3) and the Bengals (4) led the way for nine losses for the group, which speaks to how difficult it is this time of year to pick winners. The choices are starting to thin out, but I predict that three teams listed as double-digit favorites will lead the way this week (Jacksonville, Minnesota and New Orleans) provided that they are still available for selection.
The picks are in this week, and two of the major choices are as expected. The Vikings (6) and Saints (6) were clear top choices, while Baltimore (4) and Atlanta (2) were also chosen by more than one staff member. With the Ravens at Cleveland, I get that pick - but for me, the Browns are a threat for an upset. Cleveland is hungry for their first win and a home underdog in a divisional game is a tough team to pick against. Atlanta is also in a road divisional contest, but I think that they are a little safer of a selection - but again, I would have expected Minnesota, New Orleans and Jacksonville to have been the top choices. Frankly I was surprised to not see any Jaguars picks this 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: Okay, I have to say that I really thought that my preseason plan was going to be just for the sake of humor by December, but Week 15 was 100% on point. I said it would be the Saints week, and I stand by that pick here over four months later. I take that as a win for sure. Granted I did not know that the Jets would be on yet another starter at quarterback, but even if Josh McCown was starting in this one New Orleans would still be a double-digit home favorite. As for pivots this late in the year (and congratulations for surviving this long), Minnesota and Jacksonville are perfectly viable options. I fully expect the Vikings to easily defeat the Bengals and for the Jaguars to handle the Texans at home to get even closer to a playoff spot. All three teams here are strong choices. If given the choice I would use either the Saints or Vikings and save the Jaguars with two easier games left, even though they are on the road (at San Francisco and at Tennessee). Neither will be a lock, but those are hard to come by this late in the year.
The Pick: New Orleans
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org