NFL Eliminator Challenge – WEEK 2

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Welcome to Week 2, Season 10, of our NFL Eliminator Challenge series!  For those of you who are new to our series, we follow four simple steps to make our picks. While these are not hard rules (more like guidelines and suggestions), they have historically worked out well for us in the past. We are happy to have you join our eliminator community and feel free to hit me up on Twitter to give me your thoughts!

Step 1 – Avoid Division Matchups

Last week we saw why you don’t pick division matchups. Down in Houston, the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts, a team that just barely missed the playoffs last year. On ESPN’s pick’em game, 14% of players went with the Colts only to find themselves on the losing side after looking up how eliminator games handle ties. We also saw a wild game in Cincinnati where the Steelers upset the Bengals in overtime after a barrage of missed field goals.  It’s no coincidence the two overtime games last weekend were both between division rivals, these games are super unpredictable, and are something you should try to avoid at all costs (unless the Jets are playing 😊).

Every single year one of the top teams gets upset by an underdog division rival. The problem is you never know when it’s going to happen.  Unless you can predict the future, I recommend avoiding this week’s division matchups:

  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
  • Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers
  • Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers

Step 2 – Avoid Marquee Matchups

While Thursday and Sunday prime time games were a bit of a snoozer, it was all forgiven by Monday night. On Monday we watched a Seattle team who many considered one of the worst in the league, host a Denver team that appeared to be loading up for a super bowl bid. 18% of players on ESPN’s game went with the Broncos, and between the Broncos and Colts, that knocked out almost 1/3 of all players the first week of the season!

This week we have two of the hottest quarterbacks going against each other on Thursday night and we also have the pleasure of two Monday night games. Hopefully, this past Monday night was only a preview of what is to come!

Prime time games are in prime time for a reason. Expect close games where the unexpected can happen. Unless you want to take a chance, I would avoid this week’s marquee games:

  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
  • Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
  • Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills
  • Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles

Step 3 – Avoid Picking Against Home Field Advantage

Let’s be honest, home teams kind of shat the bed last weekend. It all started with the Rams getting blown out on Thursday night. We then saw Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston, Carolina and Tennessee all give up late leads in front of their home crowd. While Seattle was a nice surprise and we did see a nice upset by the Bears on a Chicago field that was more water than turf, we didn’t see much else to give us faith in home field advantage being a factor anymore. While it’s not time to give up on this rule completely, we will be a little more lax with some of our picks on this one.

While home-field advantage may not be what it used to be, the stress behind travel and being out of your comfort zone is still a real thing and something you should be careful with. Be aware of this week’s games where the favorite is the away team:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
  • New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys

Step 4 – Make your pick!

My pick of the week is:

  • Los Angeles Rams over the Atlanta Falcons

The Rams got embarrassed in front of their home crowd last Thursday, but let’s not forget this team won the Super Bowl less than a year ago.  Not only do they get to play at home again this weekend, but they host an Atlanta team that came up just short last week. The Rams also get three extra days of rest and preparation while the Falcons have to travel all the way to the west coast. There are just too many factors favoring the Rams in this one.

 Other options I like this week:

  • Cleveland Browns over the New York Jets

While the Browns struggled a bit against the Panthers last weekend, they were on the road and playing a quarterback in Baker Mayfield who had a lot to prove. This weekend they get to host a Jets team that got beat up in front of their home crowd and still has Joe Flacco at quarterback. Until the Jets can prove they aren’t a bottom dweller of the NFL, you will see their opponents here a lot this season.

  • Denver Broncos over the Houston Texans

After a tough loss on Monday night, the Broncos are still all in this season and they get the unique pleasure of hosting a 0-0-1 team on the second week of the season. Last week Houston punted with 20 seconds left in overtime on 4th and 3 at the Indy 49.  You read that right, they played to tie. Coaching scared like that makes me think the Texans may be looking for a new coach before the end of the season, and that type of coaching will not beat Russell Wilson in Denver this coming Sunday. 

Last Week’s Record = 2-1

Season Record = 2-1

Follow me on twitter and let me know what you think of this week’s picks @DE_aaron!

Thanks for reading!

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