NFL Eliminator Challenge – WEEK 8

Welcome to Week Eight, Season Nine, 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 only had two division contests and one of them included the Patriots absolutely dominating the Jets in front of the New England faithful.  The other however, was a bit of a surprise.  The Cincinnati Bengals went to Baltimore and put up 41 points against a Raven’s team many thought to be the best in their division.  This Bengals team is not the same team that we saw in 2020 and week seven was just another example of why you should be careful picking division matchups

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

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  • Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
  • Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
  • Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns
  • Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Step 2 – Avoid Marquee Matchups

We now have seen six of seven weeks of the NFL season where at least one prime time game was decided by a field goal or less.  Week Seven actually provided two; a three point game on Thursday night and another on Monday night.  While these two games didn’t exactly contain the offensive fireworks some may prefer, it’s hard to complain having prime time games come down to the wire so often this season.

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:

  • Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings
  • New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs
Step 3 – Avoid Picking Against Home Field Advantage

Home field advantage came back with a vengeance last weekend.  Of the 13 games played between Thursday and Monday, nine of these contests were won by the home team.  That’s a home win percentage of almost 70%!  Not only did we see a lot of home teams win, but we saw some upsets as well.  Kansas City was favored over the Tennessee Titans, but the Titans had the game won before halftime.  Maybe the biggest upset of the week was the Giants beating the Carolina Panthers by a score of 25-3 in front of their home crowd.  This is the same Panthers team that started the year 3-0 and looked like a possible contender.  Obviously one week does not mean everything, but this is why I’m not ready to give up on this rule just yet.

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 and avoid this week’s games where the favorite is the away team:

  • San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears
  • Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions
  • Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts
  • Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets.
  • Los Angeles Rams @ Houston Texans
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings
Step 4 – Make your pick!

Sometimes there are weeks where all our rules leave us with either no options at all or no logical options.  This week, we only have three options left, two of which being the Seattle Seahawks without Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos who have looked lost all season.  The third option is the Chargers over the Patriots, but I’m not the type to pick against a team that put up 50+ points the week prior.  That means this week we are going all rule breakers and crossing our fingers!

My pick of the week is:
  • Cincinnati Bengals over the New York Jets

I really didn’t expect to use the Bengals in eliminator this season, but here we are.  The reality is the Bengals have looked great on the field and even though they are traveling on the road, they are going to play a really bad Jets team that just lost their quarterback.  Assuming Flacco is up to speed in time to play for this game I’m still taking Burrow over him ten out of ten times.

Alternate rule breaker picks of the week:
  •  Los Angeles Rams @ Houston Texans

Last week, picking both the Rams worked and picking against the Texans worked, so if you haven’t used the Rams yet, they are once again a safe pick this week, even playing on the road.  The Rams seem determined to host a Super Bowl this year after watching Tampa Bay do it last year.  The only problem is they have to get through Tom Brady first.

  • Kansas City Chiefs over the New York Giants

While I have spent a lot of time talking about how every week one or more prime time games is decided by a field goal or less, this is not one where I expect a close game.  The Chiefs are on a slide and I expect them to make a statement game on Monday night in front of their home crowd.  The only caveat here is just make sure Mahomes is playing before making this pick.

Last Week’s Record = 3-0

Season Record = 16-5

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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