Week 13 proved to go as planned. The Chargers easily beat Cleveland, and Green Bay gave people a heart attack en route to a nice win as a Sleeper pick.
Week 14, though, offers far more challenges. New England is the best bet, but in all likelihood, the Patriots have been taken in all Survivor Pools. If not, here's your chance. This time of year offers some issues, too, with motivation playing a key role and preparation not always being the same it was earlier in the season.
Here's the week 14 Survivor Pool picks.
There really aren't many mismatches left. The only other game I could see that could be a decent one is Cincinnati beating Chicago, but Monday night's brutal game against Pittsburgh leaves doubt in how prepared the Bengals will be in week 14.
That game not only took a physical toll on Cincinnati, but it also has to do something mentally to them, after giving up such a big lead. The Bengals are better, but a short week and the manner of that Monday night game has me taking a step back from the Bengals.
So, I'm stuck with the Bills. Ultimately, this game comes down to two bad offenses and which team has the better defense. Without a doubt, the Bills own the edge on the defensive side of the ball, and Buffalo is more opportunistic. That should allow for some short fields for their offense, giving the Bills more chances at scoring points.
Points will be at a premium, especially since both teams average just 4.7 yards per play on offense, tied for the second-lowest output in the NFL. And Tyrod Taylor is uncertain for the contest. Offensively, though, I don't see that much of a difference, even with the horrible first outing by Nathan Peterman.
I get the Colts on back-to-back road trips, without a defense that can keep up with the Bills. I like Buffalo to keep you alive in the Survivor Pool.
San Francisco 49ers
This could be too risky at this point in the Survivor Pool, but I love the matchup for the 49ers.
San Francisco has been getting better on offense and defense in recent weeks. Offensively, they're averaging 5.8 yards per play in the last three weeks, up from their season average of 4.9.
On defense, the 49ers are allowing 5.1 yards per play in the last three games, down from their season average of 5.3. Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't Joe Montana in week 13, but that offense looked more fluid than before, offering some hope that this offense can be more consistent in moving the ball.
Houston, meanwhile, is being less productive, especially against the run, giving up more than a yard more per attempt in the last three games compared to the season average.
My only trepidation is the 49ers playing back-to-back road games in different time zones, but it's not the East Coast trips that worry me so much about West Coast teams. If you're feeling frisky, the 49ers could offer some value.
Green Bay Packers
Going against Cleveland in the Survivor Pool is a time-honored tradition. It may be the reason why you're still playing in this year's rendition of the pool.
If you're going with that strategy again in week 14, be on upset alert. The Packers are winning games with smoke and mirrors, and that doesn't instill much confidence against bad teams.
The Browns got a lift with Josh Gordon returning to the lineup, and the defense is going to be able to stop Green Bay's rushing attack. That will put the ball in Brett Hundley's hands, who hasn't shown consistency at that position.
If Aaron Rodgers was quarterback, then this would be a slam dunk. But he's not, so I wouldn't risk my Survivor Pool life with Hundley.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH