The origins of the Survivor Football Manifesto are nearly 20 years old, even though it was only released by the Jabronis in the last few years. In all of the time that the concept has gone from conversation to internet parchment, some guidelines have been pushed to their limits more than others.
Here’s a week-by-week review and suggested guidance.
Slip pickings for the survivalists this week. Assuming that the Chiefs and Bills have been utilized already, let’s look at the Dolphins (vs. Texans) and Seahawks (vs. Raiders) at home off byes. The surging 49ers at home vs. the Saints, even on a short week, look enticing as well.
Remember how we don’t condone “saving” teams in Survivor – meaning that you should not plot out a multi-week course whereby you keep teams stashed based on that course. That still holds true. However, if you have somehow not used the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles to this point, there might not be a better week to use them, despite their being on the road in Indy. The Ravens hosting the Ravens hosting the Panthers off the bye and the Giants hosting the Lions off the bye also feel about right.
Green Bay is starting to run out of real incentives, but facing their former coach at home in a rivalry game should serve as a final attempt to turn around the season. The Giants off a bye at home versus the Texans and the risky Raiders hosting the hapless, and the now drama-filled, Colts offer the only other intrigue options.
Choosing an Andy Reid team coming off the bye is typically a wise investment. But if you’ve understandably used up the Chiefs already, the Bengals hosting the Panthers feels about right. And in a rare suggestion, the Ravens in New Orleans on Monday night is appealing with the tough slate given.
The Titans proved as early as Week 1 that they’re a tough team to trust – but it’s hard to look away from them coming off a bye versus Houston, even if it is a road matchup. Dallas hosts a Bears team that seems like it should be lucky to have three wins. So look there too, as well as the Raiders, who need to salvage their season, in New Orleans. The undefeated Eagles will eventually have that bubble burst, so if you haven’t used them yet it might be best to wait until that happens, even with this week’s seemingly nice home matchup with the Steelers.
A few teams really need to right the ship this week, and one in particular off a bye at home stands out – the Raiders. Others include the Packers and Bucs, both of whom are on the road. New England at home on Monday night against a Bears team that feels like it shouldn’t have two wins is also a bit enticing.
The ultimate revenge game is being played in KC this week – many folks probably don’t have the Bills to use. But if you do, stop saving them. The Rams can’t possibly come up short again against the mess in Carolina, can they? There’s some caution tape around this one due to the combination of desperation and changing of the guard with the Panthers – but not much.
And as a general rule, going with the league’s only undefeated team at this point in the season in a divisional matchup sounds a bit scary – but there’s so much good juice flowing in Philly right now. Getting them at home in prime time feels more right than wrong.
Remember, we don’t condone “chasing losers” – meaning, don’t make your picks based only on the fact that your pick’s opponent is playing the league’s worst of teams. With that as the baseline at this point in the season, it feels like it’s time for the Rams to decide that they can be for real in their post-Super Bowl-winning season and handle a surprisingly upstart Cowboys team at home.
Also remember, we don’t condone “saving teams” – meaning don’t avoiding picking a team because they are among the elite and you’ve mapped out a course to use them later. Notably, if you haven’t utilized the Bills yet, what are you waiting for against Pittsburgh at home – especially with a rookie quarterback poised for his first start?
Also give some consideration to picking teams who are matching up against teams headed on bye next week, preferably the Patriots versus the Lions at home of the Jags hosting the Texans.
We’re starting to get to the point in the season where we can rule certain games out. Namely, the Sunday morning international games. Woof. These games are enticing few and far between. We will also soon be in the space where teams coming off byes will offer initial intrigue for further evaluation – soon.
This week, think long and hard about the Bengals and Packers, if you still have them around.
Las week was more manifesto friendly than Week 1.
Once we get to this point in the season, there are generally two main guidelines: Don’t chase after a loser and try to avoid divisional games as much as possible. With increasing NFL parity, however, this second point becomes more of a challenging ask.
And Week 3 looks pretty tough.
That said, if you haven’t used the Bills yet – and it is ok if you did since the general guidance is to not “save” great teams.
Sometimes you have to just pick the best team in the league when you can. And the Dolphins could be primed for a mouth smack even if they will be victorious troublemakers most of the year.
The Bengals simply can’t go 0-3, can they?
Minnesota would feel like an easy pick if their quarterback was not so wishy-washy.
Another fallback rule in this point of the year is to lean home team during the 3 prime time games. But this Week 3 is not presenting any real favors there.
Of the Browns, Giants, and Broncos – Cleveland seems the most enticing, but taking that plunge on a Thursday to begin the “betting” week is a tall order. If this game were Monday, it might be higher ranked.
The Manifesto took it on the chin in Week 1, with only six home teams winning (and one playing to a tie that seems to more often than not eliminate people from pools). Yikes. Some curious coaching calls and missed field goals played a big hand in many of the more popular pool picks that lost, but nobody’s giving out sympathy points.
For those who’ve advanced to Week 2, the Manifesto will remain strong in its style – as Week 2 tends to be the easiest week, generally speaking, for those who follow the guidance. Week 2 tells us simply to focus on a team that lost in Week 1 that has no business being 0-2 after two weeks, whether or not they play at home. If you can snuff out a game that would be against an opponent that realistically has no business being 2-0, all the better to choose.
This week the best candidates appear to be – Rams, Bengals, Broncos, Packers, and Colts – not necessarily in that order.
One of the guidelines that has generally remain safe is the first rule of Week 1 – that the best place to start looking for a winner to get you through a traditionally tough week is to cut the schedule in half and focus only on the home teams.
This rule is being challenged in a big way this week, simply on the basis of the amount of home underdogs – namely Dallas and Arizona. But don’t be swayed strictly by the allure of talent of the road teams this week. Surely there will be road winners, but that still doesn’t mean there aren’t safer picks to find among some of the home teams. Remember that even teams that end up being terrible on the year have some significant advantages in Week 1 at home – advantages that are more likely intangible and tougher to “defend” against on the field. (See the Texans as recently as last season – although it is fair to say with real hindsight that the Jaguars were well set for failure anywhere with their bum [former] coach.)
So think about teams like the Bengals this week, even though they host their division rival, the Panthers, despite their many roster question marks, and the Titans before choosing teams like the Eagles, Colts, and 49ers. This is not actually advised – but if any road team were to have particular flair it might be Denver as Russell Wilson gets an early crack at “revenge.”
Good luck and …. Survive!