Eliminator Pool: Week 15 - 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 14 was a total nightmare for most Survivor leagues, and the Footballguys' staff felt a lot of that pain. Upsets of Denver (1), New England (2), Pittsburgh (2), Houston (2) and Buffalo (3) gave the staff their worst week (10 losses out of 16 picks) since NFL Week 3. The weeks were completely different, as Week 3 was dominated by the Vikings losing to Buffalo (8 staff picks) while Week 14 had five different teams adding up to 10 losses. Aaron Rudnicki (12-2) lost his lead down to just one game over six staff members perched one game behind at 11-3. With just three weeks to go, it will be quite interesting to see how it all plays out.

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
12-2
BAL
LAR
MIN
GB
CAR
HOU
LAC
CIN
CHI
KC
NO
DAL
SEA
NE
ATL
Devin Knotts
11-3
BAL
DEN
CLE
LAC
NE
MIN
ATL
PIT
KC
PHI
ARI
HOU
SEA
BUF
LAR
Jeff Haseley
11-3
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
ATL
KC
CAR
PHI
NO
IND
SEA
PIT
JAC
James Brimacombe
11-3
NO
LAR
MIN
GB
CIN
HOU
LAC
NE
CAR
KC
BAL
IND
SEA
PIT
JAC
Jeff Pasquino
11-3
NO
LAR
PHI
LAC
CAR
HOU
IND
PIT
CHI
KC
ARI
BAL
GB
TEN
ATL
Mark Wimer
11-3
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NO
GB
ATL
CIN
HOU
KC
CAR
DAL
CHI
TEN
SEA
Dave Larkin
11-3
BAL
NO
JAC
LAC
CAR
MIN
IND
NE
KC
GB
ATL
PIT
LAR
SEA
X
Matt Bitonti
10-4
NE
DEN
MIN
LAC
CAR
GB
ATL
CHI
KC
SF
ARI
DAL
TEN
HOU
JAC
Andy Hicks
10-4
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
PHI
PIT
KC
NO
ARI
DAL
SEA
HOU
JAC
Alessandro Miglio
10-4
NO
LAR
KC
JAC
DEN
MIN
ATL
HOU
SF
GB
ARI
DAL
TEN
BUF
CIN
Sean Settle
10-4
NO
LAC
JAC
NE
DEN
HOU
LAR
PIT
KC
GB
BAL
CHI
CAR
DET
BUF
Ari Ingel
9-5
BAL
LAR
MIN
JAC
NE
GB
LAC
DET
KC
PHI
ARI
DET
HOU
NO
DEN
Andrew Garda
8-6
DET
BAL
HOU
SEA
TEN
GB
LAR
IND
DAL
LAC
PIT
NO
PHI
NE
KC
Justin Howe
8-6
NO
LAC
JAC
GB
TEN
MIN
LAR
CHI
KC
ATL
CAR
BAL
SEA
DEN
BUF
William Grant
8-6
NO
SF
MIN
LAC
NE
HOU
LAR
PIT
DAL
NYJ
ARI
BAL
IND
GB
CHI
Bear Heiser
7-7
NO
LAR
KC
ATL
LAC
HOU
MIN
DET
CHI
NE
ARI
DAL
IND
BUF
BAL

DISCUSSION

The picks are in for Week 15, and we have our biggest group of selections yet this year with 10 different teams selected across 15 picks (one is late). The only teams that received more than one vote for Week 15 are Jacksonville (4), Atlanta (2) and Buffalo (2). Those three teams all have records of 4-9, which just shows how crazy things get at the end of a season. Jacksonville is a touchdown favorite at home over the reeling Redskins, while the Falcons are even bigger favorites at home over Arizona. Both teams are playing their last home game of the year, which is usually another rallying point for an NFL team. Buffalo is a slight favorite at home over Detroit, and with the Lions thin at both running back and wide receiver and also with Matthew Stafford not at full strength, that also looks like a reasonably solid choice. After 14 picks, the choices are slim, which is another reason why there are seven unique picks for this week. One staffer each chose Baltimore (hosting Tampa Bay), Chicago (at home against Green Bay), Cincinnati (hosting Oakland), Denver (hosting the Browns on Saturday), Kansas City (hosting the Chargers Thursday in a very important matchup), the Rams (hosting a banged up Eagles team) and Seattle (at the 49ers). There is little doubt that this contest will continue to 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 point out three teams for this week - Atlanta, Green Bay (ouch) and Jacksonville. Two of the three are touchdown favorites, and also the top choices for the staff this week. Not bad at all. Denver is also a solid pick, as are teams that are playing their final home game of the year (four teams - Cincinnati, Chicago, Atlanta, and Jacksonville). Atlanta feels like the safer pick between the Falcons and Jaguars, but neither look like bad choices. Atlanta is about a -475 Money Line favorite, which is better than Jacksonville (-340). That translates to 83% win percentage for the Falcons and about 77% for the Jaguars.

The Pick: Atlanta Falcons

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 15

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

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