Resources: Yahoo survival pool pick distribution • SurvivorGrid.com
Week 2’s biggest killer: Houston over Cincinnati (1.01 percent)
Week 2’s biggest success: Oakland over NY Jets (51.75 percent)
Kevin’s picks so far: Oakland (Week 2) Buffalo (1)
Over the better part of two decades, the New England Patriots have been survival football’s ultimate life preserver. I’ve been playing this confounded game for around 15 years and can’t remember one instance where they’ve ever led to my elimination. They are survival football’s version of macaroni and cheese: Warm and filling, the ultimate comfort food.
[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]
As such, the tendency is to want to keep the Patriots around for as long as possible. An “in case of emergency, break glass” type of thing. Their assuring presence looms so large over survival football that we even taped a specific preseason episode entitled “When should you pick the Patriots?”
As I predicted in that space, that time is already here.
I know, I know, it’s not a good feeling to be plucking the Patriots out of the pool three weeks into this game. But you have to play each week as it comes and this one is otherwise a real doozy.
While Week 2 gave us an easy pick in the Oakland Raiders — a two-touchdown favorite with little future value — Week 3 is determined to make us pay for that cakewalk. Nine road teams (including the Browns!) are favored while the two biggest home favorites — the Patriots and Green Bay Packers — are squads that both possess a good amount of future value.
So why burn the Patriots? Well, just three weeks into the season, I’m loathe to get into the business of picking road teams. While a handful of those nine road teams are enticing, I know there’s a landmine or two out there. I’d rather avoid the whole thing while sticking to my rule of only picking a road team if absolutely necessary.
As for the Packers, they’re banged up after Sunday night’s loss to the Falcons. I’d rather let them get healthy for some favorable matchups they have in the next six weeks or so.
That leaves the Patriots, who are 8-1 all-time against the Texans, including two beatdowns at Gillette last season. And unless you want to pick them on the road against the New York Jets in Week 6 or at home against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8, most of their future value is holed up in home dates against the Jets and Buffalo Bills the last two weeks of the season.
Bottom line: The Patriots are a free spin, hall pass and get out of jail free card all rolled up into one. You need them to eat up one of your 17 weeks, so it might as well be this one.
Need any more convincing? This Patriots have the highest odds of winning their game this week (87.1 percent according to Numberfire) but aren’t the most selected team on the distribution page. With three other teams who hold lower odds (Packers, Steelers, Dolphins) being selected at over a 10 percent clip, you’re in an advantageous position by going with the Patriots.
Other thoughts: Thinking about going with the Rams over the Niners on Thursday night? Don’t. You’re picking a mediocre team with three big warning signs: Short week, on the road, against a divisional rival. The whole thing smacks of just being too cute … The Steelers against the Bears is enticing but I’m still reeling from getting knocked out last year when Pittsburgh went down to Miami and lost. Big Ben’s home/road splits are a real thing and I’d rather wait for Jacksonsville or Cincinnati to visit Heinz in Weeks 5 and 7 … Anyone who pledged they’d pick against the Jets all season long faces their first big test this weekend: New York will face Miami, which means you either have to pick the Dolphins on the road this week or wait for the Jets to visit Miami in Week 7. What’s it going to be? …. Almost 5 percent of people are picking the Broncos in Buffalo. It’s an interesting play but I’d rather wait for the Giants, Bengals or Jets to come to Mile High … To whoever picked Arizona and Seattle last week: Has your heart rate returned to its regular levels yet?