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Staff Confidence Pool (No Spread) Week 17

Weekly Staff Confidence Pool (No Spread). NFL Office Pool Cheat Sheet

Looking to dominate your office pool this season? Fifteen Footballguys.com staff members are here to help you out. Each week they will pick the winners of every NFL game, and rank their selections based on how confident they are that the team will win. The most-confident pick gets 16 points, and the least-confident gets just 1. We'll even total up everyone's picks so you can get an overall consensus on who our staff think will be the most likely winners. Each week we'll announce the weekly winners, and track the overall record for the entire season. A couple of things to note before we get to the picks:

  • Picks for this pool are straight up (no point spread considered).
  • Picks are due on Wednesday nights, and will not reflect any late-breaking news. If your league allows for last minute changes, please make adjustments to your office pool accordingly.
  • Our staffers also play in weekly picks Against The Spread, and Survivor Style 'Pick one Winner each week' formats as well. Check out the other weekly articles for more help with those type of games.

RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK

Timing is everything. Dave Larkin notched his third weekly victory last week, narrowly edging Andy Hicks with a tiebreaker score of 42 vs. the 41 total points on the Monday Night game. Larkin and Hicks both missed only four games and tied Jeff Pasquino (Week 12) for the highest weekly totals of the season. Way to finish strong guys!

Road Team
WAS
BAL
JAC
NYG
ATL
BUF
HOU
GB
CIN
TB
MIN
CHI
LAR
PIT
KC
DEN
Home Team
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
NYJ
CLE
DAL
DET
SF
ARI
NO
SEA
OAK
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
LW
Larkin
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
PHI
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
42
114
12
10
9
14
6
16
7
5
8
11
4
3
15
13
2
1
Hicks
TEN
BAL
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
SEA
DEN
35
114
16
1
2
10
3
9
8
4
12
15
11
7
14
6
5
13
Grant
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
HOU
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
SEA
DEN
113
12
9
2
14
1
15
3
6
4
11
7
13
16
10
5
8
Tuccitto
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
111
14
4
6
16
3
10
7
5
12
8
2
13
9
15
1
11
Knotts
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
PHI
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
111
4
16
6
13
8
15
7
5
14
12
9
11
10
3
2
1
Pasquino
TEN
BAL
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
HOU
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
SEA
DEN
110
13
15
6
11
1
12
16
2
7
10
9
8
14
4
5
3
Brimacombe
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
PHI
GB
CLE
DAL
DET
CHI
LAR
PIT
KC
DEN
108
16
9
3
14
4
13
10
5
15
11
1
8
12
2
7
6
Bitonti
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
PHI
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
PIT
SEA
DEN
105
14
12
10
13
4
9
5
2
16
8
15
11
7
1
3
6
Haseley
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
HOU
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
PIT
KC
DEN
104
14
9
7
12
6
11
5
4
10
13
3
16
15
2
8
1
Settle
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
102
7
2
5
6
4
16
1
8
3
9
13
14
15
10
11
12
Garda
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
HOU
GB
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
100
11
13
10
12
8
16
7
9
4
3
6
15
14
2
5
1
Miglio
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
SEA
OAK
99
15
10
13
16
8
14
7
6
5
9
4
11
12
2
3
1
Wimer
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
HOU
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
DEN
98
8
12
7
6
16
15
5
11
4
14
10
9
13
3
2
1
Roberts
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
HOU
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
PIT
KC
OAK
97
14
10
11
13
6
12
4
2
9
8
7
15
16
1
5
3
Heiser
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
ATL
NE
HOU
NYJ
CLE
DAL
MIN
CHI
LAR
NO
KC
OAK
90
16
15
13
12
11
10
9
2
8
6
5
14
4
3
7
1
Away
WAS
BAL
JAC
NYG
ATL
BUF
HOU
GB
CIN
TB
MIN
CHI
LAR
PIT
KC
DEN
Total Pts
0
16
0
0
63
0
49
49
0
0
105
168
186
6
50
64
Home
TEN
LAC
MIA
IND
CAR
NE
PHI
NYJ
CLE
DAL
DET
SF
ARI
NO
SEA
OAK
Total Pts
186
131
110
182
26
193
52
27
131
148
1
0
0
71
21
5
Tot Conf Pts
186
147
110
182
89
193
101
76
131
148
106
168
186
77
71
69

The Chargers, Miami, and Denver were the three big upsets last week, costing the staff almost 300 confidence points.

OVERALL RANKINGS

Larkin extends his lead going into the last week of the season. 15 points may not seem like a lot, but if you take the Week 16 results as an example, that's the difference between the top spot and 12th spot. Technically Pasquino and Tuccitto are still in the hunt as well. Check out the direct comparisons below for more info on the final week strategy.

Staff Member
Wk01
Wk02
Wk03
Wk04
Wk05
Wk06
Wk07
Wk08
Wk09
Wk10
Wk11
Wk12
Wk13
Wk14
Wk15
Wk16
Wk17
Total
Larkin
88
80
84
85
98
106
72
97
73
64
45
110
92
81
84
114
1373
Brimacombe
81
97
75
80
98
91
85
88
75
67
46
97
86
82
102
108
1358
Pasquino
89
83
59
77
86
85
91
96
77
74
47
114
83
82
88
110
1341
Tuccitto
80
91
76
95
78
104
61
98
64
68
55
100
92
83
83
111
1339
Haseley
84
79
74
86
79
93
84
96
59
67
58
107
89
76
67
104
1302
Roberts
77
73
63
98
94
89
83
99
76
63
43
104
80
87
72
97
1298
Miglio
79
88
64
90
92
94
76
93
67
73
51
97
84
75
70
99
1292
Knotts
87
81
68
79
75
95
80
86
72
60
34
103
81
78
99
111
1289
Grant
83
70
54
81
90
85
80
95
72
73
51
92
90
72
75
113
1276
Bitonti
65
75
69
78
90
78
82
91
69
68
50
97
89
83
74
105
1263
Hicks
87
75
62
78
93
92
62
89
60
83
32
92
97
63
82
114
1261
Heiser
68
96
71
75
73
80
88
93
72
69
49
95
80
76
72
90
1247
Garda
85
53
70
71
89
89
89
93
75
71
40
86
79
85
70
100
1245
Settle
89
44
63
82
66
99
95
95
82
65
37
95
82
62
74
102
1232
Wimer
74
78
62
72
72
74
49
85
60
89
33
109
71
42
100
98
1168

THIS WEEK'S PICKS

Here are the picks for this week.

Road Team
NYJ
JAC
MIA
ATL
DET
CAR
DAL
PHI
CLE
ARI
LAC
CHI
OAK
SF
CIN
IND
Home Team
NE
HOU
BUF
TB
GB
NO
NYG
WAS
BAL
SEA
DEN
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
TEN
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Miglio
NE
HOU
BUF
TB
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
TEN
51
15
14
4
1
12
9
8
7
5
16
6
3
11
10
13
2
Garda
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
40
13
12
11
10
8
9
7
6
5
16
15
4
14
3
2
1
Hicks
NE
HOU
MIA
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
37
10
14
16
1
2
15
3
13
4
12
11
6
9
8
7
5
Heiser
NYJ
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
CLE
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
48
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Tuccitto
NYJ
JAC
MIA
ATL
DET
CAR
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
DEN
MIN
OAK
SF
PIT
TEN
49
7
4
2
15
3
6
13
12
10
16
1
14
8
5
9
11
Larkin
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
45
11
10
5
1
13
6
4
9
8
14
2
7
15
12
16
3
Knotts
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
47
16
14
9
1
12
5
4
6
7
15
3
2
11
10
13
8
Brimacombe
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
CLE
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
42
16
3
2
4
1
6
5
15
8
7
9
13
11
12
14
10
Haseley
NE
HOU
MIA
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
41
11
15
14
13
12
10
9
7
6
16
5
4
8
3
2
1
Pasquino
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
43
8
4
2
1
10
3
14
13
16
5
12
11
6
9
7
15
Roberts
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
TEN
46
11
15
7
5
6
13
3
9
4
16
8
2
14
12
10
1
Wimer
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
55
8
7
6
5
12
11
4
10
9
3
13
2
14
15
16
1
Bitonti
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
58
13
12
2
10
9
8
7
11
6
15
5
4
14
3
16
1
Settle
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
45
15
13
3
4
5
7
8
10
9
11
2
1
14
16
12
6
Grant
NE
HOU
MIA
TB
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
46
16
12
2
3
8
1
7
15
5
10
14
6
11
9
13
4
Away
NYJ
JAC
MIA
ATL
DET
CAR
DAL
PHI
CLE
ARI
LAC
CHI
OAK
SF
CIN
IND
Total Pts
23
4
34
83
3
6
54
152
16
0
111
40
8
5
0
56
Home
NE
HOU
BUF
TB
GB
NO
NYG
WAS
BAL
SEA
DEN
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
TEN
Total Pts
163
160
65
4
122
114
52
0
94
179
1
44
156
125
152
14
Tot Conf Pts
186
164
99
87
125
120
106
152
110
179
112
84
164
130
152
70

HEAVY FAVORITES

Lots of crazy stuff happens this week. Some teams are motivated to make or improve their playoff positions. Some are resting their starters because their playoff position is secure. Some are playing for pride and some are already looking to next season. With that, the three unanimous choices seem obvious - Philadelphia who needs to win to make the playoffs, Seattle who needs to win to improve their playoff rank and are playing a weak division rival and Pittsburgh who is also playing a weak division rival and needs to win to make the post-season. Other strong favorites this week include Houston, Atlanta, Green Bay, New Orleans, the Chargers, Rams, and Chiefs.

DUAL SUPPORT

The Indianapolis - Tennessee game on Sunday night has the weakest confidence pool total game score (70) with the Colts being a slight favorite. Division games where one team has more motivation than the other - Minnesota vs. Chicago and Dallas vs. the Giants - are basically a coin flip with about half of the staff coming down on either side. Miami and Buffalo are both playing for pride, but the Dolphins have a tougher road heading to Buffalo in late December.

OVERALL HEAD-TO-HEAD

This table highlights the four guys who have a shot at the top spot. Tuccitto and Pasquino have a bigger mountain to climb, and it's clear that their picks reflect the Hail Mary approach they need to take.

Where a team and total are highlighted in blue - that indicates where a staffer broke from the other three or the Vegas favorite. Where the confidence total and team are highlighted in gray, it shows where that staffer rated the team with significantly more confidence points than the others.

Road Team
NYJ
JAC
MIA
ATL
DET
CAR
DAL
PHI
CLE
ARI
LAC
CHI
OAK
SF
CIN
IND
Home Team
NE
HOU
BUF
TB
GB
NO
NYG
WAS
BAL
SEA
DEN
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
TEN
Staffer
The Picks
MNF
Total
Larkin
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
DAL
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
MIN
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
45
1373
11
10
5
1
13
6
4
9
8
14
2
7
15
12
16
3
Brimacombe
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
CLE
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
42
1358
16
3
2
4
1
6
5
15
8
7
9
13
11
12
14
10
Pasquino
NE
HOU
BUF
ATL
GB
NO
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
LAC
CHI
KC
LAR
PIT
IND
43
1341
8
4
2
1
10
3
14
13
16
5
12
11
6
9
7
15
Tuccitto
NYJ
JAC
MIA
ATL
DET
CAR
NYG
PHI
BAL
SEA
DEN
MIN
OAK
SF
PIT
TEN
49
1339
7
4
2
15
3
6
13
12
10
16
1
14
8
5
9
11

Staff Commentary on their final picks:

Pasquino:

Game Theory time – The only way for me to move from third to first the final (two) weeks was to take some shots. I almost moved way up last week with my picks (and big points on) Baltimore and Houston last weekend, but the Eagles foiled that plan. This week I have to take even more wild shots, so I am boosting my picks on the Ravens, Giants, Eagles, Chargers, Bears and even the Packers to try and move up in the standings – along with a big bet on the Colts to close out the season. Putting big points on games that may lack confidence gives me a chance at moving up, and with just 136 points available for the week it is about the only chance left to go for the win. So, if you are in a similar position, put big points on games that are tough to call and hope you have enough right selections and points on those games to make up the difference. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Tuccitto:

As a decided underdog, the operative strategy is to be contrarian, but within reason. In 2015, I was in an almost identical position and was able to pull off a huge upset using said strategy. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. For those unaware, the strategy entailed two components: 1) flipping the order of my Top 8 confidence picks, such that 16 points became 9, 15 became 10, and so on; and 2) flipping the winners of my Bottom 8, such that 8 points were assigned to the opponent my normal process picked, 7 points were assigned to the opponent my normal process picked, and so on.

The only thing I did differently for the 2018 version was to incorporate an analysis I wrote up for ESPN Insider way back in 2011. I know full well that what I found then might not apply now, but I was willing to take a chance exploiting that incredibly thin potential edge because of my underdog status.

The primary result I found back then was that teams that have clinched playoff berths and so are only vying for seeding tend to underperform expectations. This week, those teams are the Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks, and Texans. Because Seattle was in the Top 8 according to my normal process, I didn't pick Arizona to win. (And in fact, as per the strategy I used in 2015's comeback, I flipped the Seahawks from 9 confidence points to 16.) But the other six teams were in my Bottom 8, so I picked all of them to lose. Obviously, all of them won't lose, but the point of this is that more of them are likely to lose than is suggested by conventional wisdom.

It's possible -- likely, even -- that I'm going to do awful this week. But if I don't, I'm most likely to pull off the miracle I need or drop down to fifth or worse, rather than finish in "who cares?" fourth.

Good luck this weekend!