Every Thursday from here on out, we’ll be giving the top survivor picks for the given week of the NFL season. For those that are lucky enough to have made it through the quarter-mark of the season, these rankings will help you continue surviving another week. We are going to exclude Thursday games for now, as that’s what the major contests are doing, but the Patriots would be atop the list if your pool includes them.
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1. Tennessee Titans (@ Buffalo)
With Marcus Mariota fully healthy and a defense that’s playing really well, the Titans are the best pick of the week against a Bills team led by a rookie quarterback with a subpar supporting cast. Buffalo’s defense might help make this a game—and the game is at home for the Bills—but the Titans are the best pick of the week.
2. Baltimore Ravens (@ Cleveland)
Baker Mayfield is an impressive rookie, but he’s making just his second career start against a Ravens defense that’s playing as well as any unit in football. Joe Flacco and the Ravens played well against Gregg Williams’ defense in two wins last season, and they are a solid survivor pick for Week 5.
3. Denver Broncos (@ Jets)
There is some inherent risk to picking the Broncos, who are going on the road to the East Coast on a short week after a crushing Monday night divisional loss. But this week is a very tough slate for the survivor pool, and chances are you haven’t picked the Broncos yet. They’re not a bad option against a rookie quarterback.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Minnesota)
Their last matchup was back in January, but it was about as convincing a win as possible when the Eagles rolled to a 38-7 victory for an NFC championship. Minnesota was just lit up by the Rams, so they should be on their game, but playing in Philadelphia has been one of the toughest environments for a while. The Eagles are confident and should take care of business if they aren’t too confident.
5. Los Angeles Rams (@ Seattle)
It’s hard not to like the Rams, so a lot of people still alive might have used them already. If not, LA is as good a bet as any team nearly every week; they simply have so much talent and great coaching on both sides of the ball. However, they are at No. 5 because Seattle isn’t an easy place to play, and Russell Wilson can carry a team to victory any given week.
6. Carolina Panthers (vs. Giants)
The Panthers are coming off the bye to host a game against a 1-3 team, so they are clearly one of the better survivor pick for Week 5. If the secondary holds its own and the rest of the defense can contain Saquon Barkley, Carolina should roll to a 3-1 record.
7. San Francisco 49ers (vs. Arizona)
Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury makes the Niners a less appealing team to pick in general, but C.J. Beathard has played very well when given opportunities the last two seasons, and Kyle Shanahan is one of the best coaches in the league. A home matchup against Josh Rosen could equate to a win.
8. New York Jets (vs. Broncos)
While the Broncos are in the top three for survivor picks this week, we already went over the risks of selecting them. Those risks could benefit the Jets, who have the defense to potentially make things tough on Case Keenum and company for Denver.