EASY MONEY? Our first crack at NFL ‘Survivor Pool’ picks for the 2020 season

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Patrick Mahomes and the world champion Chiefs should be prohibitive favorites for at least 11 games this season, including the Week 9 home outing with the Panthers.

Ever hear of an NFL survivor (or ‘suicide’) pool?

It’s a simple game of chance, where hyper-focused and ambitious contestants are asked to select one lead-pipe cinch for wins in Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., with the caveat of only using a particular club once per season (in victory, at least).

For example, if I had Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert and the Niners beating the Cardinals at home in Week 1 … by virtue of that, I could not designate San Francisco to win for Weeks 2-17.

The same holds true for the Browns (over the Bengals) in Week 2. After this game, I can no longer pick Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and breakout tailback Nick Chubb to prevail the rest of the way.

Now for the kicker: Any incorrect picks automatically knock a contestant out of the pool; and if any suicide owners should be left standing in the pool by Week 17 — an implausible occurrence for me in recent years — they’re entitled to all or some of the winnings (which can be quite lucrative).

Here are my initial picks for 2020. Adding to the degree of difficulty, I can only choose teams to lose no more than twice.

(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)

2020 SURVIVOR/SUICIDE PICKS

WEEK 1 — SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona
WEEK 2 — CLEVELAND over Cincinnati
WEEK 3 — INDIANAPOLIS over N.Y. Jets
WEEK 4 — CHICAGO over Indianapolis
WEEK 5 — NEW ORLEANS over L.A. Chargers
WEEK 6 — MINNESOTA over Atlanta
WEEK 7 — BALTIMORE over Pittsburgh
WEEK 8 — BUFFALO over New England
WEEK 9 — KANSAS CITY over Carolina
WEEK 10 — DETROIT over Washington
WEEK 11 — HOUSTON over New England
WEEK 12 — NEW ENGLAND over Arizona
WEEK 13 — SEATTLE over N.Y. Giants
WEEK 14 — CAROLINA over Denver
WEEK 15 — TENNESSEE over Detroit
WEEK 16 — LAS VEGAS over Miami
WEEK 17 — PHILADELPHIA over Washington

SURVIVOR LEAGUE RULES TO LIVE BY

a) Whenever humanly possible … please target a home team to win that particular week.

b) When in doubt, exploit (presumed) bottom-feeder clubs on the road (Redskins, Dolphins, Bengals, Falcons, Jets).

c) Historically speaking, it’s typically best to avoid prime-time games between teams of similar stature.

d) Don’t clamor for the Chiefs, Niners, Saints, Bills, Ravens or Packers in Week 17 — out of fear of these powerhouse clubs potentially clinching a playoff spot before the NFL’s final weekend.

e) Whenever feasible, please avoid picking against the Rams, Vikings, Bears, Browns or Bills.

f) The golden rule: Only pick significant home upsets from games involving intra-divisonal opponents.

g) When in doubt, don’t be afraid to pick against the world champion Chiefs on the road.

h) When considering intra-divisional foes, don’t be afraid to guarantee Team A’s victory the first time around — and then Team B’s triumph on the flip side.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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