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.
Twenty-one staffers are in the pool this year, and Week 16 turned out to be the worst week for the group all season. Between the surprising victory by Cleveland and the loss by the Titans, 12 of the 14 losses piled up for the staff. Losses by Seattle and Los Angeles rounded out the bad week, and all the losing certainly impacted the overall standings. No set of picks is perfect any longer, and as many as six different staff members are within striking distance of winning the overall title this year.
With all the picks in now for our final week, there is a wide distribution of selections as you might expect. Eleven different teams were picked this week, the most of any this season. Indianapolis was the top choice with five selections, but even that is not without risk as Jacksonville always plays the Colts hard and Indianapolis is ripe for a letdown after having been eliminated from the postseason last week. Pittsburgh comes in next with three selections as they host the Browns, but the Steelers are resting players prior to next week's playoff contests. Four teams were chosen twice - Washington, Seattle, Baltimore and Atlanta - and only three of those teams are motivated to really pick up a win this week. Baltimore is still gunning for a 9-7 record, but like the Colts the Ravens were also just eliminated from the playoffs. Five unique picks round out the group with Arizona, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Green Bay and Tampa Bay all chosen one time each. The Packers and the Buccaneers both need a win to keep playoff hopes alive, while Buffalo actually may be hoping to lose to improve their draft pick. The final standings could certainly change significantly by Monday.
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 decided to stick with the script of my preseason plan for the final week of the season and go with PIttsburgh over Cleveland. Even though the Steelers are resting players, you can only rest so many as there are just 53 players on the team and even the second squad for Pittsburgh is at least as competitive as the starters for the Browns. Cleveland already secured their first win of the year last week over San Diego, so the Browns do not need to shoot for overcoming a winless season any longer. In fact, a loss secures their first overall draft pick, so they may be motivated to let Pittsburgh win. Las Vegas favors the Steelers as well, giving them about a touchdown of a head start. With limited options left, Pittsburgh still feels like the best choice.
The Pick: Steelers
Good luck this weekend!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.