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They were gashed by Ryan Fitzmagic and the Bucs, The opening week of the NFL season was a perfect illustration of why second chance pools exist. A whole lot of people - myself included in a few pools - saw their survivor pool hopes go down in flames in the unlikely hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick. It wasn't just New Orleans that let people down, though - although about a third of all pool players picked the Saints.

Detroit was the third-most-common pick against the Jets, and they didn't even show up for their game. I'll actually be curious to see whether the popularity of both Survivor and Confidence Pools continue to grow now that it's basically legal to bet on the NFL in the United States - although only a few states have moved forward since that landmark Supreme Court decision.

I'd expect at least half of them to have legalized gambling up and running by this time next year. Simply too much money involved not to, whether your state leans left or right. Offshore books still offer better benefits in many ways, though. It's time for another season of NFL survivor pools. Or whatever you call them. Call them what you want, but the basic rules are the same - you pick a single team that is going to win each week, and if you are right you keep going and pick again the next week, but if your team loses you are done.

And you can pick each team only once per season. For the entire season, or at least for as long as it makes sense, we'll break down the week's action, look at the games that could be a sound pick, and which ones to avoid. What can I say? It's been an unusual year in the NFL! Stars suffered season-ending injuries each week, it seemed. The top five seeds currently in the NFC all missed the postseason last year.

The AFC hasn't been quite as wild as the Patriots, Steelers and Chiefs all repeated as division champions, but the other three playoff teams will all be new - right now we only know that one of those three is Jacksonville. I usually recap the previous week's action around the NFL and try to pinpoint which games might have had a major affect on your Survivor Pool competition.

I'm in a handful of them, and my last one ended last week. It was a very chalk Week 15 with favorites dominating, so not much to recap - the only stunner in my mind was the Rams not so much winning in Seattle but doing so That, my friends, was officially a changing of the guard game in the NFC West. The NFL protects quarterbacks these days like they are fine china. You can't hit them low, you can't hit them high and you can't hit them even a second late.

It's barely football, but the league needs its superstars to boost sagging ratings that's a cord-cutter thing, nothing will change that. I mention this because growing up big hits were what you remember most in the NFL. They were prevalent in video games, weekly highlights, etc. A sign you have an athletic director who doesn't have a clue what the hell he's doing: A sign you have an NFL coach who knows exactly what the hell he's doing: Major League Baseball trumpets its parity, and it should because just about anyone can win a World Series these days.

The Astros and Cubs, the past two champions, were each wretched just a few years ago. The small-market Royals won it all in The NBA doesn't bother with claims of parity - it's star-driven league and only the teams with the most stars win titles. This is going to be the last week of the season that we take a look at survivor pools. And it has gotten to the point where it is very tough for people who are still alive to come up with a pick that works.

It wouldn't be that way, of course, if you could pick any team you wanted. But since we can only pick any given team once during the season, we have some real challenges. There are four teams this week that feel like virtual locks - or as close to that as we get in the league these days.

Maybe I've been going about this Survivor Pool thing all wrong the past two years? I actually know a few people who simply pick against the Cleveland Browns each week, and you can't argue with the results. But if you can find another team those three weeks, then you have been golden. Well, here we are much closer to the end of the NFL survivor pools season than the beginning.

We'll see how things shape up this week, but my guess is that next week will be the last week for our predictions for this year. Last week was another pretty straightforward week in a pretty straightforward season. He reached the end zone on a six-yard run in the fourth quarter that put the game away for Dallas. Elliott added 5 catches on 6 targets for just 9 yards.

Barkley was a frequent target of Eli Manning as the Cowboys locked down the Giants' receiving crew and the ground game. Barkley ended up with 16 targets, 11 rushes, and total yards 28 rushing, 80 receiving in Week 2. On the strength of his receptions, Barkley finished as a top-five back in Week 2 with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones caught 5 passes for 64 yards in Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers. Jones was targeted a team-high 9 times and finished with tied with Austin Hooper for the team-lead in catches.

Most of his catches, however, did not result in big yardage, aside from a lone yard catch. He averaged less than 10 yards per receptions on the remaining 4. Jones finished with just 8. Ertz registered team-highs in catches, yards, and targets He was able to rip off a yard gain on one catch but averaged just 6.

Ertz finished with Gronkowski was targeted 4 times but struggled to get anything going against 's top pass defense unit. The tight end will look to get back on track in Week 3 against a much easier Detroit Lions secondary. Log in to numberFire To get the full benefits of numberFire, please log in. You'll get the best projections in the business!

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