The opening week of NFL survivor pools was such a bloodbath, no amount of towel penalties could help clean it up. Over 63% of entries were knocked out in Week 1, with five of the six most popular picks biting the dust. Week 2 could give us more of the same, as the four most popular picks are a combined 1-3 and account for 76% of entries.
Before we slide into this week's selections, let's look back at the Week 1 slip:
Week 1 picks
Best Bets: 1-1
Traps to avoid: 3 eliminations avoided
On to the Week 2 picks!
Buffalo Bills (-10) vs. Tennessee Titans
Buffalo made a statement in their 31-10 rout of the Rams. This team is elite on both sides of the ball and they'll enter this matchup with an extra three days' rest over a Titans group that lost at home to the Giants.
Derrick Henry looked more man than machine in the opener, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and failing to show much of his classic burst. Is the tread coming off the tire? He could be in for another pedestrian outing against the Bills, who only allowed 2.9 ypc to the Rams in Week 1.
Scarier than Buffalo's run defense is their pass rush, which piled up a week's worth of sack lunches, using four-man rushes by a rotating defensive line. Tennessee's offensive line held up alright on Sunday, but that was against a tepid New York pass rush missing Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.
I was low on Tennessee coming into the season, I was low on them in Week 1, and I'm so low on them this week that I could win a limbo contest versus an ant. With certified YAC monster A.J. Brown moving on to greener pastures, the Titans simply don't have the horses to run with the Bills.
Buffalo is the fifth-most popular pick this week, at just over 7% of entries.
San Francisco 49ers (-9.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Getting a two-score favorite at sub-2% ownership in survivor is extremely rare, and that's what we have here with the Niners. You may not be a fan of Trey Lance, who certainly has his deficiencies, but the fact is, he made some really nice throws in a monsoon game against the Bears. Lance actually led the NFL in Big Time Throw percentage in Week 1 (6.9%). This week, he'll face a Seahawks defense that looked lost after safety Jamal Adams suffered a serious knee injury in the second quarter of their season opener. Seattle also comes into this game on a short week, which is a nice little bonus for Niners backers.
I'd be much more confident about this play if tight end George Kittle is able to shake off his groin injury — not just for the explosive role he serves in the passing game, but also for his much-needed role as a superb run-blocker.
San Francisco ranks as the eighth-most popular selection in Week 2, with 1.5% of entries rooting for the red and gold.
Green Bay Packers (-10) vs. Chicago Bears
Don't be scared off by Week 1's faceplant against a very good Vikings team. Rodgers and crew lost 38-3 in last year's opener to the Saints, then rebounded with a resounding 35-17 home victory over the Lions in Week 2. The Packers have yet to lose back-to-back regular season games under coach Matt LaFleur.
Chicago surrendered 6.5 yards per carry to Deebo Samuel and 6.8 ypc to Elijah Mitchell last week in a game where they knew San Francisco was going to run the ball. If the Bears defense loads the box against the Packers, Rodgers will light them up. If Chicago doesn't load the box, AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones will run wild.
The deep shots Justin Fields thrives on will be harder to come by against the league's best secondary than they were against a mid-tier 49ers unit.
Keep your eye on the injury report for updates on Green Bay offensive linemen David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and Jon Runyan. If at least two of them are cleared to play, I'd be very comfortable putting entries on the Packers.
Green Bay is the sixth-most popular survivor pick, at 4.4%.
TRAPS TO AVOID
Los Angeles Rams (-10.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sometimes, a team loses because they have an off day and can't execute. Sometimes, a team loses because they have a glaring problem that gets exposed over and over by the opposition. It was the latter for the Rams in their Week 1 matchup versus the Bills. Their offensive line gave up seven sacks to a team that didn't even blitz. To make matters worse, Los Angeles lost starting center Brian Allen to a knee injury. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees threw a lot of exotic looks at New Orleans last week that proved effective. Can he replicate that success this week against an offensive line that has more questions than the Riddler? Holy possible, Batman.
The Rams are, by far, the most popular pick this week, at 29.9%.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) at Dallas Cowboys
That part of survivor season where a starting quarterback gets hurt and everyone jumps on the train to fade the backup QB is already here. Week 2! I love taking group trips, but I'm going to sit this one out. The Cowboys have a solid defense, Zac Taylor is 0-3 in road openers, and Cincinnati is no stranger to losing "easy" road games to backup quarterbacks.
At a stripe over 17%, the Bengals are the second-most popular survivor pick.
Last week, I warned against taking the Colts, who were 0-4 in season openers under Frank Reich. This week, I'm ringing the alarms again. Would you like to guess what Reich's record is down in Duval? That's right, 0-4. His Colts have never scored more than 20 points when playing in Jacksonville.
Indianapolis is the seventh-most popular pick in pools, at 2.6%.
Stats provided by Pro Football Reference and PFF.