Eliminator Pool: Week 17 - 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 16 was relatively quiet, with only two losses for the staff. Both Dave Larkin and Sean Settle stumbled with their Miami pick, but the rest of the staff moved on unscathed. The tough loss for Dave puts him out of contention for the staff title, as only Jeff Pasquino (13-3) is within striking distance of league leader Aaron Rudnicki (12-4). Should Aaron's pick fail and Jeff's pick win, there will be a two-way tie for the title. Game theory could really play a part in this, the final week of the NFL regular season.

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
14-2
BAL
LAR
MIN
GB
CAR
HOU
LAC
CIN
CHI
KC
NO
DAL
SEA
NE
ATL
CLE
PIT
Jeff Pasquino
13-3
NO
LAR
PHI
LAC
CAR
HOU
IND
PIT
CHI
KC
ARI
BAL
GB
TEN
ATL
NE
SEA
Dave Larkin
12-4
BAL
NO
JAC
LAC
CAR
MIN
IND
NE
KC
GB
ATL
PIT
LAR
SEA
BUF
MIA
PHI
Devin Knotts
12-4
BAL
DEN
CLE
LAC
NE
MIN
ATL
PIT
KC
PHI
ARI
HOU
SEA
BUF
LAR
CHI
GB
Mark Wimer
12-4
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NO
GB
ATL
CIN
HOU
KC
CAR
DAL
CHI
TEN
SEA
NE
PIT
Jeff Haseley
12-4
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
ATL
KC
CAR
PHI
NO
IND
SEA
PIT
JAC
CLE
HOU
James Brimacombe
12-4
NO
LAR
MIN
GB
CIN
HOU
LAC
NE
CAR
KC
BAL
IND
SEA
PIT
JAC
CLE
PHI
Alessandro Miglio
12-4
NO
LAR
KC
JAC
DEN
MIN
ATL
HOU
SF
GB
ARI
DAL
TEN
BUF
CIN
IND
PHI
Sean Settle
11-5
NO
LAC
JAC
NE
DEN
HOU
LAR
PIT
KC
GB
BAL
CHI
CAR
DET
BUF
MIA
SEA
Matt Bitonti
11-5
NE
DEN
MIN
LAC
CAR
GB
ATL
CHI
KC
SF
ARI
DAL
TEN
HOU
JAC
CLE
PHI
Andy Hicks
11-5
BAL
LAR
MIN
LAC
NE
GB
PHI
PIT
KC
NO
ARI
DAL
SEA
HOU
JAC
TEN
MIA
Ari Ingel
10-6
BAL
LAR
MIN
JAC
NE
GB
LAC
DET
KC
PHI
ARI
DET
HOU
NO
DEN
TEN
X
Justin Howe
10-6
NO
LAC
JAC
GB
TEN
MIN
LAR
CHI
KC
ATL
CAR
BAL
SEA
DEN
BUF
IND
HOU
William Grant
10-6
NO
SF
MIN
LAC
NE
HOU
LAR
PIT
DAL
NYJ
ARI
BAL
IND
GB
CHI
TEN
KC
Andrew Garda
9-7
DET
BAL
HOU
SEA
TEN
GB
LAR
IND
DAL
LAC
PIT
NO
PHI
NE
KC
CLE
CHI
Bear Heiser
9-7
NO
LAR
KC
ATL
LAC
HOU
MIN
DET
CHI
NE
ARI
DAL
IND
BUF
BAL
GB
BUF

DISCUSSION

The picks are in for the final week of the year, Week 17, and it is clear that most of the good teams have already been chosen. Nine NFL teams are among the 15 picks this week (one is missing), with five unique picks (Buffalo, Chicago, Green Bay, Kansas City and Miami). The Bills-Dolphins picks are the first time all season where we have had both sides of one game chosen, which means at least one loss for the staff this week. Houston, Pittsburgh and Seattle all come in with two picks by the staff, while Pittsburgh is the top choice of the staff with four selections. Aaron Rudnicki only needs to have the Steelers win to win the staff title, while Jeff Pasquino needs a Seattle win and a Steelers loss to tie for the staff title. It is a tough week with motivation hard to find, but the Footballguys' Staff has plenty of articles on the topic to help you this final week. Good luck!

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: Well, we made it all the way to the end of the season. It was not easy, right from the onset, but somehow I got here with just three losses (sorry) and I have a shot at the Footballguys' staff title. If my pick wins and Aaron Rudnicki (he picked Pittsburgh) somehow is wrong, I tie for the win - which I will gladly take. Based on game theory, I knew I had to take a team that Aaron has used already to ensure that he would not pick the same team as me and give me zero chance on Sunday. Going back to my preseason plan, all three teams that I mentioned for Week 17 - Seattle, Baltimore, and Tennessee - are viable picks this week, so I will gladly take that result based on a prediction made more than four months ago. Since I have used the Ravens and the Titans will be in a dogfight with the Colts, I am going with Seattle. The Seahawks will be playing all out at home to lock up the fifth spot in the NFC, and to keep their winning momentum before a Wild Card matchup in Dallas. Seattle is a 13.5 point favorite to beat Arizona and -900 on the Money Line, which equals a 90% implied win percentage. I will take that and hope that the Steelers give up hope.

The Pick: Seattle Seahawks

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 17

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

I can also add that Philadelphia and Houston are all solid choices, with the Bears-Vikings and Colt-Titans two of the toughest games to call. The Giants look like a solid pick but it would be hard to trust a 5-10 team, even favored at home.

Good luck this weekend!

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

Follow @JeffPasquino