NFL survivor pools are becoming more and more popular every season. If you aren’t familiar with survivor pools, they also go by the names of suicide pools, eliminators, or knockout pools.

They basically work like this: Each week you pick one team that you think will win their game outright. The catch is that you are only able to use each team one time.

As easy as this might sound, it’s a lot harder than you think. The parity in the NFL makes it tough to consistently pick outright winners. Especially once you’ve used up some of the best teams in the league.  The last man (or woman) standing wins the pool and the pot.

Each week I’m going to post the teams that I feel are your best bets for the week, those that are on the bubble, and those that I think you should avoid (that you might be tempted to take) if at all possible.

The strongest tool I use is the NFL lines.  The bigger the favorite the more likely they are to win the game.  But, I also use the same logic as I do when handicapping the point spreads.  For more great free content this week check out my teaser of the week.

Week 17 NFL Last Man Standing Pool Picks

Best Survivor Team Pick – Week 17

  1. Minnesota Vikings (vs Chicago Bears) – Lot’s of good option available for Week 17, but my favorite of them all would have to be the Vikings at home against the Bears. Minnesota can lock up the No. 2 seed a number of different ways, but I don’t think they want to leave their fate in the hands of another team. I expect the Vikings to come out and take care of business on their own. Chicago simply doesn’t have the offensive fire-power to put up enough points here to keep this close. 

Top Bubble Teams This Week

  1. New England Patriots (vs New York Jets) – The Patriots are the biggest favorite on the board and a near lock to win at home agains the Jets, but chances are most of you won’t have them available as an option. This is a must-win for New England to ensure the No. 1 seed, as a loss and win by the Steelers at home over the Browns would give Pittsburgh the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Cleveland Browns) – I’m expecting the Browns to go out with a fight, as this is their final chance to avoid going 0-16, but it would take a miracle for Cleveland to win this game. As unlikely as it might be that the Patriots will lose at home to the Jets, the Steelers will come out motivated for a win here.
  3. Seattle Seahawks (vs Arizona Cardinals) – Here’s another double-digit favorite that would be hard to pass up if they are still available to use. Seattle bounced back in a big way from that loss to the Rams with a 21-12 victory at Dallas. The Seahawks playoff hopes now come down to them winning this game and the Panthers upsetting the Falcons on the road, something that could easily happen given how well Carolina is playing. Expect the very best the Seahawks have and I see no reason why they don’t come away with a win at home over the Cardinals.

Suicide Teams to Avoid This Week

  1. Denver Broncos (vs Kansas City Chiefs) – Usually I’m one to fade teams that are resting starters, but I actually like the Chiefs in this one. Kansas City will be sending out rookie Patrick Mahomes and I think he’s more than talented enough to keep this offense rolling. As for the Broncos, they are taking another look at Paxton Lynch, who I don’t think is any good. Biggest thing here is that with the Chiefs locked into the No. 4 seed, there’s zero reason for Denver to get excited about this matchup.
  2. Baltimore Ravens (vs Cincinnati Bengals) – This one might surprise some people. Baltimore is currently a 10-point favorite over the Bengals at home in Week 17. I’m not sure why. The Bengals have been a disappointment, but really played well last week, defeating the Lions and knocking Detroit out of the playoff picture. With this likely the last game for head coach Marvin Lewis and a chance to knock a division rival out of the playoff hunt, I expect a big time effort from the Bengals in this one.
  3. Los Angeles Rams (vs San Francisco 49ers) – As expected, the Rams are going to rest some starters in Week 17, as there’s no scenario where they can move up to the No. 2 seed and get a first round bye. That’s going to make it really hard for them to beat the 49ers at home, as there’s clearly no motivation for LA in this one and I don’t think they have the depth to compete at a high-enough level without their key playmakers. On top of that, San Francisco is rolling right now, as they have gone a perfect 4-0 in Garoppolo’s first 4 starts and will be highly motivated to close out the year on a high note.