After a wild Week 1 that included Patriots running back Damien Harris fumbling away a potential win inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line, we have a buffet of three double-digit home favorites to choose from in the second week of NFL survivor. But not all of BetMGM's two-score favorites are created equal. We'll get into that, but first let's take a look at our record and drop a crucial tip concerning survivor pool strategy.
Week 1 picks
Best Bets: 1-1
Traps to avoid: 2 eliminations avoided
Quick tip: Pick distribution in multiple-entry pools
If you're in a pool with multiple entries and you're taking more than one team for the week, make sure you distribute the picks across your entries in a manner that doesn't lock yourself out of a team in future weeks.
For example, let's say you started with eight entries and you picked four Rams and four Broncos in Week 1 and want to take four Browns and four Packers in Week 2. A common mistake is to just click the first four entries on the Browns and the next four on the Packers. So now you have four entries that are Rams-Browns and four that are Broncos-Packers. If the Browns end up losing, you're completely locked out of taking the Broncos or Packers for the rest of the season. If the Packers lose, you can't ever pick the Rams or the Browns again.
The correct way to distribute your picks would be two Browns on the Rams entries and two on the Broncos entries. Same for the Packers. Now, if one of your teams lose, you'll still have every NFL team available to pick between your four remaining entries. The more options you have, the better your chances of winning your pool.
On to the Week 2 picks!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons made the Eagles look like Super Bowl contenders in Week 1. It wasn't just a bad game, either. These are deep-rooted flaws that probably won't get fixed this season. Their bend-but-then-break defense gave up 434 yards at home and the abysmal offensive line allowed the Eagles to consistently get to quarterback Matt Ryan with just a four-man rush. This week, they'll face the best front seven unit in the NFL, the best receiving corps and the GOAT quarterback, all coming into this game with three days' extra rest. It should be a drubbing and it wouldn't be crazy to see the single game team sack record broken in this one.
New England Patriots (-6) at New York Jets
We're going back to the Patriots well and hoping that it doesn't poison us again this time around. The Harris fumble made for a brutal loss, but the good news for the Pats is that rookie quarterback Mac Jones looked terrific, completing 29 of 39 pass attempts for 281 yards and a score.
The Jets, on the other hand, looked pretty rough in their 19-14 loss to the Panthers. To add injury to insult, an offensive line that was already struggling (six sacks surrendered) lost left tackle Mekhi Becton after he dislocated his kneecap. For the 4-6 weeks that Becton is out, I'll be targeting the Jets in prime spots for survivor. This is one of them. Bill Belichick is 21-6 against rookie quarterbacks and after Sunday he'll be 22-6.
The Pats have future value in games at Houston and at home against the Jets and Jaguars. Nearly 8% of entries are on them this week.
Green Bay Packers (-10.5) vs. Detroit Lions
The Packers have won eight straight home openers and doubled up the Lions last year in a 42-21 rout. This Detroit defense is softer than cashmere toilet paper and they lost cornerback Jeff Okudah for the season after he tore his Achilles tendon against the Niners. Monday night's game presents a perfect bounce-back spot for Aaron Rodgers and an equally perfect spot for survivor pool players. Green Bay has barely any future value. Any time you can take a team that you would likely never want to take again, that's the nut play and the one that I'm making this week.
Just under 14% of entries are on the Packers in Week 2.
Cleveland Browns (-12.5) vs. Houston Texans
Houston quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked good on Sunday, but I'll take a Browns team that was beating the Chiefs in Kansas City for three-and-a-half quarters over a Texans team that beat up on an awful Jaguars defense. Except I won't actually be taking the Browns because they have so much future value and there are better plays on the board that allow me to save Cleveland until a Week 11 matchup at home against the Lions.
Thirty-three percent of entries are on the Browns, which means a third of your pool won't be able to take them in the future when you still have them available.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) vs. Tennessee Titans
Seattle likely wins this game, but I think the Titans are probably better than they played against the Cardinals and it wouldn't shock me if they win here. Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are a tough trio to fade and the Seahawks defense isn't that stout. This could easily turn into a shootout so I'm going to pass as well.
Nearly 2.5% of entries are on Seattle.
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have a young, aggressive defense and are loaded with offensive weapons. I could see the Saints having a letdown game after blowing out the Packers in Week 1 and it certainly doesn't help that stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore and defensive lineman Marcus Davenport will miss this game with injuries.
Like my cell phone battery the majority of the time, Saints survivor entries are sitting at 1%.
Stats provided by SharpFootball and Pro Football Reference.