NFL Eliminator Challenge – WEEK 9

Welcome to week nine, 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 finally had a bigger slate of division games, and many of them didn’t disappoint.  The Panthers Falcons game went back and forth and was decided by only six points, while there was a similar low scoring game going on in Cleveland that was decided by only five.  The Dolphins Bills game was a 3-3 nail biter for a majority of the game, before the Bills remembered who they were playing.  Then we got an overtime game in Indy where the Titans pulled off the last minute victory and a thriller in New Orleans where surprisingly Tom Brady lost the game in the final seconds.  What a week!

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:

  • Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
  • Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
  • Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers

Step 2 – Avoid Marquee Matchups

Three point differential on Thursday, four points on Sunday, and three points on Monday.  I’m not sure I can say anymore about prime time this year, but the season keeps getting better and better!

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:

  • New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
  • Tennessee Titans @ Los Angeles Rams
  • Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Step 3 – Avoid Picking Against Home Field Advantage

After a week where home field advantage was dominant in week seven, we saw it all wipe away in week eight where many teams won on the road.  However, one of the bigger upsets of the year took place in New York (or more specifically New Jersey).  The Bengals, one of the hottest teams in the NFL, went to play the Jets, one of the bottom dwellers of the NFL standings.  However, questionable penalties or not, the game went into overtime, and the Jets won by a field goal.  On espn’s eliminator challenge, 39% of players picked the Bengals and saw their season’s end.  This is why we aren’t 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:

  • Las Vegas Raiders @ New York Giants
  • New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers
  • Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers

Step 4 – Make your pick!

My pick of the week is:

Dallas Cowboys over the Denver Broncos

This week Dak should be returning to the Cowboys starting lineup and they are hosting a Broncos team that just traded away one of their best defensive players.  The Broncos seem to be preparing for next season while the Cowboys have their sights set on a Super Bowl run.  I expect the Cowboys to have a big game this week.

Alternate rule breaker picks of the week:

Buffalo Bills over the Jacksonville Jaguars

When one of the best teams in the NFL travels on the road to play one of the worst teams, nothing can go wrong, right?  Let’s hope there’s no repeat of what the Bengals did last Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts over the New York Jets

Do we really expect the Jets to win two major upset games in a row?  Really?

Last Week’s Record = 2-1

Season Record = 18-6

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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