The Eliminator Pool, or Survivor Pool, is one of the ultimate tests in football. Pick a team each week, and keep picking a different team until one man or woman stands alone. It’s beautiful.
Nothing is more stressful than Week One eliminator picks.
There’s just nothing to work with. We don’t know who’s good or bad. The Patriots seemed like a safe bet. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you didn’t take the Patriots.
My pick this week is the Atlanta Falcons. I’m not beating around the bush. I’m not playing games. I want to advance to Week Two, not worry about my pick this week, and try to learn something about the other 30 teams. I don’t know much, but I know the Falcons are miles better than the Bears on both sides of the ball.
There are objections. The Falcons are a quality team, why waste them in the first week of the season? The answer is simple: If you don’t win this week, what’s the point?
A solid strategy has always been to look at the board, and take the biggest favorite each Sunday. While certainly a strong strategy in the early goings, it is not without flaws.
The biggest favorite this week is the Steelers over the Browns. It seems like a fine decision to some, but it breaks a few eliminator rules.
1. No Division Games
The games mean more inside the division. The teams inside the division know each other the best. It doesn’t matter what the spread is; I’m not taking a divisional game unless I absolutely have to. The AFC is a little unbalanced at times, but the NFC is horrible with this.
2. Rookie QBs Make Me Queasy
DeShone Kizer looked decent enough in preseason that I’m nervous. Anyone can succeed in the right system, and Kizer has a decent line and a solid running back. Listen, I’m not saying the Browns are playoff contenders. But this week, at this time, I just don’t know enough about this iteration of the Cleveland Browns to stake my season on them.
Those are the two rules I’m abiding by this week. Stay disciplined, do your homework, and win your survivor pool. Good luck.