We lived to tell about another game in Week 15 of the NFL season, snaring a win with the Redskins over the Cardinals.
There have been a ton of problems over the course of the last several weeks when it has come to finding the right choices for our survivor pool picks, but Week 16 is as easy as it gets.
The NFC South race has been incredibly intriguing this entire season. The Falcons, once left for dead after losing to three straight AFC East teams in October, are now two wins away from winning the division. Meanwhile, the Saints — once considered to be a dead lock for the playoffs — could be in some trouble with a week to go should they lose to Atlanta for the second time in three weeks.
But everyone has seemingly forgotten just how good the Panthers are.
Carolina is going to lose its tiebreaker to the Saints after getting swept in that season series, but the Panthers are 10-2 against the rest of the NFL this season, including beating up the Bucs 17-3 back on October 29.
Thomas Davis has been suspended, but his presence shouldn’t be all that important in this one. The Tampa Bay defense can’t really get out of its own way at the moment, and even when Jameis Winston had a chance to get down the field for a potential game-tying field goal on Monday Night Football against the Falcons, the Buccaneers almost didn’t get the snap off for said kick attempt. The Tampa Bay defense has conceded at least 24 points in three straight games as well, and that surely won’t be a good sign going into this one either.
But even if it wasn’t the Buccaneers, we’d have a hard time picking most teams against Carolina in this spot. The Panthers need a win to lock up a playoff bid, and if Atlanta beats the Saints, next week’s game against the Falcons will be for the NFC South title.
Cam Newton is playing remarkably good football at the moment. It’s sort of amazing that Newton has come on so strongly at the end of the campaign with Kelvin Benjamin traded and Greg Olsen only just now getting back to 100 percent after missing most of the year with a leg injury. Newton is doing more with his legs now than before, and if last week’s performance against Green Bay was worth anything, his arm is doing just fine, too.
The explosiveness of this Carolina offense can’t be understated. The Panthers are playing at an incredibly high level and getting big plays out of Christian McCaffrey and Devin Funchess.
In the survivor world, any time you can get a double-digit favorite on your weekly card this late in the season, you have no choice but to take it. We could have gone the route of the Chiefs over the Dolphins as well, and plenty will make that selection, too. We just aren’t nearly as sold that the bipolar Chiefs are going to put away Miami as we are that Carolina will lock up its playoff spot against a team that has felt snake-bitten all year.
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Past NFL Survivor Picks
Week 1: Steelers over Browns (W)
Week 2: Raiders over Jets (W)
Week 3: Packers over Bengals (W)
Week 4: Jaguars over Jets (L)
Week 5: Eagles over Cardinals (W)
Week 6: Falcons over Dolphins (L)
Week 7: Cowboys over 49ers (W)
Week 8: Saints over Bears (W)
Week 9: Texans over Colts (L)
Week 10: Rams over Texans (W)
Week 11: Chargers over Bills (W)
Week 12: Patriots over Dolphins (W)
Week 13: Titans over Texans (W)
Week 14: Bills over Colts (W)
Week 15: Redskins over Cardinals (W)