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“It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning.” This famous quote by Dom Toretto was pertinent as the Houston Texans won by literal inches over the Jacksonville Jaguars, 13-12 this past Sunday.
It was a fun sweat for those who tailed me on picking Houston for your survivor pool last week. The two popular picks (Patriots, Ravens) both won with relative ease. The decision of when to use New England this year will be a fascinating one as it will be heavily favored in several games barring severe injuries.
The only team that knocked out a chunk of entrants was the Panthers. Some users used Carolina on a short week against Tampa Bay. Home favorites have historically been very good on “Thursday Night Football,” but a lackluster effort from (an injured?) Cam Newton cost around 10 percent of entrants last week.
We have an unprecedented situation this week, with two massive favorites in the Patriots and Cowboys. Is it smart to take one of these teams, or go in a different direction than the masses?
Week 3 NFL Survivor Pool Picks
There are five teams that clear my arbitrary threshold of having a 70 percent chance to win this week. Key stats for those five teams:
The Patriots are the most likely team to win this week. They are also projected to be the most likely team to win in the next four weeks. It’s not a question of if, but when we’ll use New England.
The Cowboys are huge favorites and this is their easiest projected game of the season. This isn’t lost on users, as 70 percent of players are taking Dallas this week.
I often want to fade the most popular team because game theory dictates to do this in hopes that a large chunk of your pool is eliminated after a big upset, giving you a better chance to win even though you are taking a bigger risk.
But I can’t this week.
The Pick: Dallas Cowboys
If there was another option close in winning percentage to the Cowboys, I would jump on it in a heartbeat. The drop-off from Dallas to the next best team is too large to justify fading just for the sake of being contrarian.
The Patriots are mathematically the best option this week, but that’s going to be true a lot of weeks, so I am going to save them for as long as I can.
Even in multiple entries, I don’t see another option. This week, the Dallas Cowboys truly are America’s Team.
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