By Justin Boylan
*Reminder: The 94WIP Suicide Pool homepage is CBSPhilly.com/suicidepool
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every team gets a bye week. It turns out the same goes for the Grim Reaper. After three straight ghastly picks that turned into pool-shaking upsets, my kiss of death took a holiday, which set up the first 3-0 Suicide Watch of the year. It only took seven weeks! I feel like I just ate a mango from Joe’s fruit store. I’m back, baby, I’m back!
For the second week in a row, almost every game on the NFL schedule currently has a point spread less than a touchdown. Last week it was 11 games, this week it’s 12 out of 15. The short answer for why is because the league is loaded with mediocre teams that are up one week and down the next. Eighteen teams are .500 or worse, and the four teams that are slightly above that mark at 4-3 (or 3-2-1), the Bengals, 49ers, Steelers and Bills, all have negative point differentials.
By my math, that leaves 10 teams that can stand up straight and be proud to call themselves a good NFL team. I won’t list the 10, you can figure it out, but if I had to guess I’d bet on that number shrinking to eight over the next few weeks rather than expanding to 12 or more. That will mean more wild weeks with more (in my Scott Hanson voice) fantastic finishes, which is bad news for the poor souls left in the Suicide Pool. Are there any people left?
There are, even if it feels like I’m sitting in the middle of a cemetery typing this up, but not many. We are down to 2,677 swimmers left in the deep end after another big week that sank more than 1,500 people.
The Seahawks did it again, killing a stack for the second straight week. Last week against Dallas was a forgivable and heartbreaking pick, but taking them in a divisional road game was just asking for trouble. Stop breaking rules. And there will be some people, with Seattle left in the chamber, who will go to the well this week because no way they lose three in a row. STAY AWAY. If you waited this long to use them, you can wait one more week until they are back home against the Raiders. We will find you another pick for week 8.
Other killers were those Jacksonville Jaguars, getting their first win of the season two week earlier than last year. They handled the Browns rather easily in a terrible game that nobody watched, but one that knocked out 387 competitors. I gave out the Dolphins last week so I’m shaking my head at the grave of the 96 people who now hate Jay Cutler. Smh. Lastly, shout out to the two people who picked the 49ers to win in Denver on Peyton Manning Touchdown Night. There isn’t a team in the history of mankind that was going into those circumstances and coming away with a win. Maybe the 2013 Broncos, but that’s it.
Grim Reaper Selection – Cowboys vs. Redskins
This seems a little too easy. There’s an overwhelming chance Colt McCoy will be starting a Monday night football game on the road. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have found a winning formula. As long as DeMarco Murray’s legs work and the Cowboys offensive line continues to treat defenses like the sled at practice, the pressure on Tony Romo to be the guiding force to victory is lifted.
Romo leads the NFL in completion percentage and it’s because he hasn’t been responsible for carrying the team. On top of the run game, he has a reliable trio of receivers, one of which is a complete freak of nature who keeps me up at night. His 30 pass attempts per game are five fewer than last season and 10 fewer than 2012 when the Cowboys finished 8-8. Romo is doing less and it’s giving the Cowboys more.
The bright side is if Grim is going to come back strong, there isn’t a better team to kiss goodnight. McCoy will have his Texas homecoming all over a Dallas defense that has overachieved through the first half of the year, and Romo is due for a three-interception game. It’s been six weeks.
Best Bet for Survival – Dolphins at Jaguars
I’m riding the Dolphins because I think they’re good. They went into Chicago and executed a perfect game plan to beat the Bears. If the run game can continue to set up manageable throws for Ryan Tannehill, their defense is good enough (third in DVOA) to carry them forward.
The Jags already got their win. They can take the rest of the year off.
Cheating Death – Eagles at Cardinals
The Grim Reaper can only do so much; if the Eagles want this division here is a gotta-have-it game. With an extra week to prepare, that means you Nick Foles, the numbers say the Eagles will have to win this game through the air. That means you, Nick Foles.
There’s a good chance that when the Cowboys and Eagles meet on Thanksgiving one of the teams will already have nine wins. If the Eagles want to put the pressure back on Dallas to keep up, this is how you do it.
Justin Boylan is a producer at 94WIP. Follow him on Twitter @justintboylan.
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