Eliminator Pool: Week 14

Footballguys' staff select one team to win each week in an Eliminator / Survivor Pool format

Over the past few years, we have given the subscribers of Footballguys.com the Staff Confidence Pool Challenge, where numerous staffers try and pick the winners each week with a confidence ranking, and Dave Larkin’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 once again this year Footballguys is proud to bring you the combination of the two - the Footballguys' staff "Against the Spread Pool Challenge". Multiple staff members (19) will pick the winner of each NFL game against the Las Vegas line. As a tie-breaker, the person who is closest to the total points scored on the last Monday Night game will be the winner. Winners will be announced from week to week and the best overall record will be crowned Against the Spread Champion. Picks and ranks are due on Wednesday, so any late-breaking news may not be reflected in the choices.

Please note, that this contest should NOT be viewed as direct sports wagering advice, especially later in the season. Since the staff is trying to beat one another, picks may be made to go against the grain in an attempt to try and catch up in the standings. This example of game theory is more in tune towards playing a contest such as this - so again, do not use these picks as direct advice towards which games to pick each and every week. Rather, use these picks to see the top choices each week, especially by the staff members towards the top of the standings.

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).


The staff really took it on the chin in Week 13, with upsets of both Carolina and the Jets. The Panthers were heavily favored at home against Washington, but rookie starter Dwayne Haskins had other ideas. Cincinnati went back to the future with Andy Dalton at quarterback at home against New York, as the Bengals wanted to secure that first win of 2019. Both upsets cost the staff dearly, as eight staffers were on Carolina and two others were on the Jets. Ten losses is significant, even in December, and these two games are likely to influence another "lessons learned" rule for 2020 and beyond. Tentatively I am phrasing this new rule for Survivor in the future is to be wary of any significant change for a team, such as a new starting quarterback but also a new head coach or offensive (or defensive) coordinator. That impact was noted here in Week 13 with not just Washington and Cincinnati, but also how Denver upset the Chargers behind Drew Lock as the new starter for the Broncos. Getting back to the staff and the results, only one staffer - Sean Settle - has just one blemish on his record through 13 games. Six staffers sit at 11-2 while six more are at 10-3, which almost makes the entire pool up for grabs. Four games remain and they get exponentially harder to select. December is here, so let's take a look at the Week 14 picks.


Here are the picks for this week:

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