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.