NFL Eliminator Challenge – WEEK 18

Welcome to Week 18, the final week of 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

The joys of the final week of the season.  Every single matchup is a division matchup.  Moving on!

Step 2 – Avoid Marquee Matchups

Shockingly, Week 18 has more prime time games than Week 17 did, with two landing on Saturday and one Sunday night.  While the prime time games didn’t contain any major shockers last week, don’t forget how most of this season has played out so far.

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:

  • Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Step 3 – Avoid Picking Against Home Field Advantage

While the Jets came very close to knocking off the Buccaneers last week, they fell short in the final moments in front of the New York faithful.  Same goes for the Ravens, falling one point shy of upsetting the Rams in Baltimore.  However, the team that didn’t fall short was the Cincinnati Bengals who beat the top seeded Chiefs in Cincy in the final seconds, clinching the AFC North.

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:

  • New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
  • New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
  • Washington Football Team @ New York Giants
  • Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
  • Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans
  • Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders
Step 4 – Make your pick!
My pick of the week is:
  • Buffalo Bills over the New York Jets

Buffalo needs to win this week to make sure they are hosting a playoff game the following week.  Losing here could mean traveling to New England to face the AFC East winning Patriots in the first week of the playoffs.  I think the Bills want that crown too much to lose to the Jets in Buffalo.

Alternate picks of the week:
  • Los Angeles Rams over the San Francisco 49ers

Is the stage too big for a rookie?  If the 49ers win, they make the playoffs, but if they lose, they risk watching from home like so many other teams.  On the other side is a Rams team that would love nothing more than to lock up the 2 seed, securing at least two home games in the playoffs should they make it that far.  Even sweeter?  Kicking a division rival out of the playoffs in front of your home crowd.

  • Tennessee Titans over the Houston Texans

While Tennessee is on the road here, a win locks up the only AFC bye week and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, a massive advantage.  On the other side is a Texans team tied with three other teams for the 3rd pick in next years draft.  This is one situation where a Titans win benefits both teams.

Last Week’s Record = 3-0

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Season Record = 36-14-1

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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