By Justin Boylan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There have only been five teams in the league you can count on for survival. And I mean really count on. They rarely make you sweat, and when they do it’s only a temporary perspiration until they regain control of the game. These teams are the Broncos, Chiefs, Patriots, Seahawks and Saints.
Obviously, the reason for their reliability is because they are the five best teams in the NFL, but what make them all the more valuable is the drop off in the level of security and safety. When you have to go with one of the other 27 teams, it’s basically a crapshoot.
The top five have a combined record of 27-3, while the rest of the league is 65-89. That’s right, the five best teams are 24 games over .500 and everyone else is 24 games under .500. They all beat up on each other and you can’t trust any of them.
So when you’ve used up the Big-5, or one of them hits the bye (like the Saints this week), the 94WIP Suicide Pool might feel more like playing a game of Russian roulette with Glen Macnow screaming at you in Vietnamese.
That’s kind of how I feel this week having already used three of the top five to get to this point. With the Saints off and the Patriots in a divisional road game sporting a banged-up defense, I’m looking for one of those middle-of-the-pack teams to get me to the halfway mark of the season.
My Selection – Chargers at Jaguars
(Teams used: Colts, Falcons, Seahawks, Chiefs, Packers, Broncos)
I could go with the Dolphins at home against the Bills, but Miami has stumbled recently and might not be as good as we thought they were three weeks ago. Plus, it looks like Thad Lewis will start, and I’ve already reserved a seat on the Thad Lewis bandwagon.
The Chargers are coming off a big Monday night win, which makes me hesitant. The last time I considered taking the Chargers they lost in Oakland, which also makes me hesitant. But this game won’t be on at 2 a.m., and the Bolts have answered questions for two days about looking past the Jags and this as a possible trap game. Head coach Mike McCoy has made it clear that after their valiant effort against the Broncos, Jacksonville has their full attention.
Speaking of their Denver match-up, the Jags played their best offensive game of the year last week and scored 19 points. Chad Henne threw for 300 yards while Maurice Jones-Drew had his best day on the ground. They still lost by double digits for the sixth straight game. Come on Jacksonville, do us all a favor and keep losing to keep us living.
Best Bet for Survival – Packers vs. Browns
Last week I had the Browns over the Lions hoping their defense would carry them to their longest winning streak in four years. But poor Brandon Weeden is just terrible at his job. I don’t see this professional quarterback thing working out for him. He’s only 30 years young. With his business management degree from Oklahoma State, I could see him running a successful chain of yogurt shops or something. I’m just saying there are options.
Green Bay’s fresh-faced run game will make up for their injured weapons. All Aaron Rodgers needs this week is Jordy Nelson, but watch him turn Jarrett Boykin (no relation to our Brandon) into the fantasy pick-up of the week.
Cheating Death – Panthers vs. Rams
No, this is not an upset, but it’s a chance to sneak by on a marquee middle-of-the-pack match-up. The Rams can’t possibly be good enough to win three in a row, especially coming off a win like the one they had in Houston. The Panthers have allowed the fewest number of yards in the league and are holding opponents to 14 points per game. They run the ball well, and St. Louis has problems clogging the holes.
Then again, Carolina has only beaten the 1-4 Vikings and the 0-6 Giants, and Cam Newton is 0-4 against the NFC West in his career. All these teams are the same. I can’t take it anymore.
Here’s to playing with fire and avoiding the burn.
Justin Boylan is a producer at 94WIP and graduate of Temple University. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justintboylan.