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 pre-season articles, first one that describes this kind of contest along with some advice on how to pick a team each week:
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.
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).
THIS WEEK'S PICK SUMMARY
Here are the picks for this week, along with last week's results:
Nineteen staffers are in the pool (and maybe a straggler or two that will catch up with the rest of us), and like I mentioned last week, it got quite interesting right out of the gate. Week 1 for the most part had some very tight spreads, but the Texans were surprisingly blown out by Jacksonville (or should I say "Sack-sonville"?). That upset cost three staffers, setting them one game back after just one week. In a word - ouch. The staff did well on a rough week where Houston and New England were surprise losers, and I am in several larger pools where about 15-20% were sniped by those two missteps.
Now me move on to Week 2, and there are three favored choices, with two obvious selections in both Oakland and Seattle. The Raiders host the Jets for Oakland's home opener, and they are favored by nearly two touchdowns. Seattle is in a similar situation, this time hosting the 49ers in the Emerald City for the Seahawks' home opener. While Oakland is looking to get to 2-0, the Seahawks need a win to erase the bad feel of the loss in Green Bay last week. Most of the staff went with Oakland, who looked the part of a playoff caliber team in Tennessee in Week 1, while a few others went with Seattle, who is also expected to win by double digits. Only two staffers, Dave Larkin and Jason Wood, went outside of those two picks and they both chose the Ravens hosting the Cleveland Browns. I personally both like and hate the pick in that I can see why you would take Baltimore at home after shutting out the Bengals on the road, but the Browns have given the Ravens trouble in the recent past (Cleveland is 2-5 in the last seven matchups, including a 33-30 overtime win in Baltimore in 2015). Either the staff will be quite happy by going with the two clear favorites and Baltimore, or it will be a rather long week as we head to Week 3.
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.
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: I know it is only Week 2, but I am going away from my preseason plan where I took Carolina at home against Buffalo and I am moving towards the Oakland Raiders. Sometimes you have to take the easy pick, and that is what Oakland appears to be this week. I believe that I will be able to find another option for Week 5 (when I had planned to use the Raiders in the preseason plan) once the identity of these teams are further established. (Note to future self - Cleveland vs. the Jets or Cincinnati hosting the Bills in Week 5 could be options.) I am going to take the relative safety of Oakland and avoid what I believe now is a risky pick with Carolina, even at home against Buffalo.
The Pick: Oakland
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org