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:
Week 9 had two major booby traps in it, starting with the horrible news for Deshaun Watson that came late Thursday. With Watson going down for the season in practice, it came as no surprise that the Texans struggled and suffered a tough loss to the Colts at home. That cost the staff six losses for Week 9, but that was not the last loss for the group. My pick of the Seahawks was rather painful to see that game change leads twice in the final two minutes with Seattle eventually falling to Washington by just three points. Seven total losses for the group on the week, which brings the grand total to 48 incorrect picks for the group and a combined 132-48 record (73.3%), which is okay but not stellar by any means. Only three staffers have just one loss (James Brimacombe, Bear Heiser and Jason Wood) while a crowd of seven are at 7-2 on the year, with the plurality of the staff (9 of 22) sitting at 6-3 through nine weeks. It will only get tougher from here.
As we head into Week 10, there are a lot of choices for a change with five teams favored by more than a touchdown and three (Pittsburgh, Detroit and the Los Angeles Rams) favored by double digits. That is where the staff really went this week with 17 of 20 picks in (yes, I am still herding the cats) and all of the selections on either Detroit (12) or the Rams (5). Pretty cut and dry week, but I will say this - the Lions pick is not as straightforward as you might think. Eventually Cleveland (and San Francisco) are going to get a win this year, and this could be the week for one if not both teams. The Lions are coming off a big road win in Green Bay - a place that historically they never fare well - and are on a short week as they prepare to face the Browns. Cleveland has had two weeks to get ready for Week 10 as they are coming off of their bye, and they are likely looking at that schedule hard to find that first win. I am not calling for the upset, but it would not surprise me and I expect a much closer game between these two teams. Then again, I did say the 49ers are winning this week in For The Win, so take that all with a grain of salt.
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 reviewed my preseason plan just to see where I was back in August, and I was on Detroit well in advance for this week. As I outlined above, there are reasons not to trust the Lions this week, and who could have predicted how well the Rams would be playing at this point of the year. So I am going with the Rams to avoid that possible trap game and to take a big favorite as well. The choices really come down to which of the big favorites (Detroit, Rams, Pittsburgh, New England and Carolina) you like this week, wth the Rams looking to me like the safest choice.
The Pick: Los Angeles Rams
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org