If you’ve gotten this far in your survival pool and haven’t used the Patriots, this might be the week to use them. New England leads the best Week 8 survivor pool picks.
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1. New England Patriots (@ Buffalo)
The Patriots are likely to be favorites in every game from here on out, but the upcoming schedule is no cakewalk with games against Green Bay, Tennessee, New York (Jets), Minnesota, Miami, Pittsburgh, and then the Bills and Jets again. With Josh Allen out for the Bills, a stunning upset this Monday night is less likely. This is the best week to pick the Patriots and feel great about advancing to the next week.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Denver)
Aside from their loss to the Patriots a couple of weeks ago, the Broncos played the Chiefs tougher than any team this season. However, that was at Mile High, while this Sunday’s game is at Arrowhead, where Kansas City is considered a double-digit favorite against their AFC West rival. The duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb wrecking the game for Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying offense is a slight concern, but the Chiefs are tough to stop.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cleveland)
Despite a 1-2 record at Heinz Field this season, the Steelers typically play well at home. In the Week 1 tie against Cleveland, Pittsburgh had seven sacks of Tyrod Taylor, so they might get just as much pressure against a less-mobile quarterback in Baker Mayfield this week. It’s hard to see the Steelers dropping to 1-3 at home, helping make them one of the best survivor picks for Week 8.
4. Washington Redskins (@ Giants)
The Redskins have been an inconsistent team this season, as they haven’t played well at all in their two losses to Indy and New Orleans; and you would think the Giants have to get another win at some point. But Washington was able to limit Ezekiel Elliott last week, and they’ll look to do the same against Saquon Barkley. Eli Manning can get hot and sling it around successfully, but the offense is better when it’s not one-dimensional.
5. Chicago Bears (vs. Jets)
The defense has struggled as the Bears dropped two straight to the Dolphins and Patriots, but they’ll look to get back on track against a rookie quarterback this Sunday. The game is in Chicago, where the Bears are 2-1 with their only loss coming last week to the Pats, which makes them a stronger survivor pick.
6. Houston Texans (vs. Miami)
Thursday night games are obviously tricky for survivor pools because of the uncertainty of guys playing on a few days rest—and some survivor pools don’t offer them as an option—but the Texans look like a solid pick this week. This year’s team is different, but Miami was blown out by 40 points in last year’s Thursday night game almost exactly one year ago, and they again have a backup quarterback starting (last year it was Matt Moore).
7. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tampa Bay)
It’s hard to trust the Bengals after their performance last week, but they aren’t a bad survivor pick at home. The Buccaneers haven’t won on the road since their Week 1 shocker in New Orleans, and the defense has struggled all season.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (@ Jacksonville *in London)
The Eagles aren’t higher for a few reasons: 1) London games are unpredictable, 2) the Jaguars have played well in London and are used to it, 3) the Jaguars are too talented to not play better soon, and 4) Malcolm Jenkins openly criticized Blake Bortles, which will probably lead to him lighting them up. Still, the Eagles have a healthier and more explosive offense led by Carson Wentz, so they’re a decent survivor pick. However, I recommend another option than trusting a game in another continent.