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Eliminator Pool: Week 14 - Footballguys

Footballguys.com Staff Pick One Team to Win Each Week in a Eliminator / Survivor Pool Format

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 preseason articles. The first one that describes this kind of contest along with some advice on how to pick a team each week:

Survivor Pool Strategy

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.

I Will Survive

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).

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

NFL Week 13 was pretty scary, with no less than six true upsets by the end of Sunday. Losses by the Colts took out two staffers' picks (Will Grant, Bear Heiser) while upsets of the Panthers (Sean Settle), Packers (Jeff Pasquino) and Bears (Mark Wimer) gave the staff three more losses. Overall it was a tough week, but Aaron Rudnicki (12-1) and the three staff members with just two losses (Devin Knotts, Jeff Haseley and James Brimacombe) all got through with Seattle's big win over the 49ers. There is still a logjam for the staff with those three people at 11-2, one step behind Aaron Rudnicki in first with an 12-1 record through 13 weeks.

THIS WEEK'S PICK SUMMARY

Here are the picks for this week:

Staff Member
Record
Wk01
Wk02
Wk03
Wk04
Wk05
Wk06
Wk07
Wk08
Wk09
Wk10
Wk11
Wk12
Wk13
Wk14
Wk15
Wk16
Wk17
Aaron Rudnicki
12-1
BAL
LAR
MIN
GB
CAR
HOU
LAC
CIN
CHI
KC
NO
DAL
SEA
NE
Devin Knotts
11-2
BAL
DEN
CLE
LAC
NE
MIN
ATL
PIT
KC
PHI
ARI
HOU
SEA
BUF
Jeff Haseley
11-2
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
ATL
KC
CAR
PHI
NO
IND
SEA
PIT
James Brimacombe
11-2
NO
LAR
MIN
GB
CIN
HOU
LAC
NE
CAR
KC
BAL
IND
SEA
PIT
Jeff Pasquino
10-3
NO
LAR
PHI
LAC
CAR
HOU
IND
PIT
CHI
KC
ARI
BAL
GB
TEN
Mark Wimer
10-3
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NO
GB
ATL
CIN
HOU
KC
CAR
DAL
CHI
TEN
Dave Larkin
10-3
BAL
NO
JAC
LAC
CAR
MIN
IND
NE
KC
GB
ATL
PIT
LAR
SEA
Matt Bitonti
10-3
NE
DEN
MIN
LAC
CAR
GB
ATL
CHI
KC
SF
ARI
DAL
TEN
HOU
Andy Hicks
10-3
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
PHI
PIT
KC
NO
ARI
DAL
SEA
HOU
Alessandro Miglio
10-3
NO
LAR
KC
JAC
DEN
MIN
ATL
HOU
SF
GB
ARI
DAL
TEN
BUF
Sean Settle
9-4
NO
LAC
JAC
NE
DEN
HOU
LAR
PIT
KC
GB
BAL
CHI
CAR
X
Ari Ingel
8-5
BAL
LAR
MIN
JAC
NE
GB
LAC
DET
KC
PHI
ARI
DET
HOU
X
Andrew Garda
8-5
DET
BAL
HOU
SEA
TEN
GB
LAR
IND
DAL
LAC
PIT
NO
PHI
NE
Justin Howe
8-5
NO
LAC
JAC
GB
TEN
MIN
LAR
CHI
KC
ATL
CAR
BAL
SEA
DEN
William Grant
7-6
NO
SF
MIN
LAC
NE
HOU
LAR
PIT
DAL
NYJ
ARI
BAL
IND
GB
Bear Heiser
7-6
NO
LAR
KC
ATL
LAC
HOU
MIN
DET
CHI
NE
ARI
DAL
IND
BUF

DISCUSSION

The picks are in for Week 14, and it even more clear (than last week) that we are in December. We have eight different picks this week, as one might expect after 13 weeks of picking favorites. The choices are getting more and more difficult, which makes planning key (more on that below). Buffalo is a slight favorite this week with three selections, as the Bills host the Jets. If ever there was a time to take Buffalo, this is it. Four other teams received two votes each - Houston (hosting Cleveland), New England (at Miami), Pittsburgh (hosting Oakland) and Tennessee (hosting Jacksonville on Thursday). Pittsburgh is a big favorite, but most of the staff no longer have the Steelers as an option. Three unique picks round out the group with one pick each for Denver (at the 49ers), Green Bay (hosting Atlanta) and Seattle (hosting the Vikings on Monday). There is little doubt that this contest will be interesting all the way to the end of December, and some shakeup could appear in the standings after Monday Night Football.

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.

COMMENTARY

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: Going back to my preseason plan, I did say that the Chargers would be a big favorite this week, so if you have them as an option, by all means take Los Angeles as they are -1300 on the Money Line (roughly 92% win rate) as they host the Bengals this week. The Chargers are gone for me, so I am left with taking Tennessee at home against a Jacksonville team that won 6-0 last week at home over the Colts. Tennessee is in a must win spot at home on Thursday Night Football, which usually favors the home teams. Now as for last week. it is still hard to believe that Arizona went to Lambeau Field and beat Green Bay - but it was a crazy weekend.

The Pick: Tennessee Titans

Last week I included the bonus (below), and I will keep it and edit it through the end of Week 17.

Now - here is the bonus!

I have been asked what my December plans are for Survivor, so I thought I would break down the five four weeks that remain. Fading the Cardinals, Raiders and the New York teams is a good general plan, and the usual rules apply (take a home team that is a big favorite and try to avoid potential trap games). There are 4-7 games each week you can target, based upon which teams you have left. Week 14 looks the trickiest with just a few good games to choose from, and that might be you close your eyes and hope for the best with the Bills hosting the Jets. Week 16 is the week I have been saving New England for (home against Buffalo), and Seattle looks like a solid option in Week 17. The Seahawks will be hosting Arizona in what will likely be a “win and in” situation for Seattle. That brings up a different topic, which is teams that could be packing it in early because they have clinched all that they can. Since the Rams and Saints are likely to push one another to 15-1 (hard to imagine the Rams a #2 seed at 15-1, but it can easily happen), that makes the Bears the one NFC team likely to take a significant break in Week 17. Chicago will host the lowest Wild Card team on Wild Card Weekend, so they will not get an extra week off like New Orleans and the Rams, so look for the Bears to rest anyone close to banged up in Week 17. Use Chicago in Week 15 (hosting the Raiders) if you still have them available. In the AFC, odds are that everyone will be fighting it out until the end, for byes, seeding and even to get into the playoff tournament, so there is not much risk there. (Based on an early look at the month of December, my final four week picks should be reasonably clear - Washington or Buffalo in Week 14, Denver or Atlanta in Week 15, New England and then Seattle - but stay tuned to see if this is the plan I stick with the rest of the way).

Here are the games that should be the favorites (listed first) expected by Las Vegas to win each week by at least a touchdown (thus a big favorite). Plan your final five weeks based on this list. Good luck.

Week 14

  • Kansas City (vs. Baltimore)
  • New Orleans (at Tampa Bay)
  • New England (at Miami)
  • LA Chargers (Cincinnati)
  • Pittsburgh (at Oakland)
  • Buffalo (vs. NY Jets)
  • Denver (at San Francisco)

Week 15

  • Denver (vs. Cleveland)
  • Atlanta (vs. Arizona)
  • Chicago (vs. Oakland)
  • Minnesota (vs. Miami)
  • Baltimore (vs. Tampa Bay)

Week 16

  • New England (vs. Buffalo)
  • Indianapolis (vs. NY Giants)
  • Dallas (vs. Tampa Bay)
  • LA Rams (at Arizona)

Week 17

  • New Orleans (vs. Carolina)
  • Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati)
  • Baltimore (vs. Cleveland)
  • New England (vs. NY Jets)
  • Kansas City (vs. Oakland)
  • Seattle (vs. Arizona)
  • LA Rams (vs. San Francisco)

Good luck this weekend!

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com