Best survivor pool picks for Week 12 of the NFL season
Last week was a rough one for those who are still active in survivor pools, as some of the popular deeper picks, such as the Texans, went down for the count. However, we're sticking with the same theory that we used in Week 11. Just to give you the disclaimer again, this column assumes you do not have any significant powerhouse teams remaining. We're digging around for picks you can likely make if you've survived 11 weeks. With that, let's get to the best survivor selections for Week 12.
1. Baltimore Ravens (vs. New York Jets) -- First, the bad news for the Ravens. Ray Rice isn't likely to put up the 131 yards on the Jets that he did on the Bears last week. The Jets allow a league-best 2.9 yards per carry and have by far the best rush defense in the league according to Pro Football Focus. The good news, however, is that the Ravens feature the sixth-best rush defense, fourth-best pass rush and above-average pass coverage. That is terrible news for Geno Smith and company, who were dominated by the lowly Bills last week. Moreover, the line is moving in the right direction. It opened at Baltimore -3, and with nearly 65 percent of the public on the Ravens, the line has crept to -4. If Vegas trusts the Ravens, I do too.
2. Cleveland Browns (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers) -- I promised you we'd go deep this week. Here's the argument for the Browns. The Steelers' pass rush ranks in the middle of the pack in the league, and their pass coverage is below average. Meanwhile, when the Browns offense plays well, it's almost solely because of Jason Campbell, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. When the Steelers have the ball, they do everything they can to get it to Antonio Brown. Joe Haden has been a nightmare for receivers this season, so don't expect to see Brown running all over the field like he did against the Lions last week. If the Steelers are going to score enough points to win this game, either Jerricho Cotchery or Emmanuel Sanders will have to step up, or Le'Veon Bell and an offensive line that ranks 24th in the league in run blocking will have to thwart a Cleveland rush defense that has surrendered just 3.5 yards per carry this season. I don't like their chances. Back the Browns.
3. Detroit Lions (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) -- This is clearly the safest pick of the three, and one of the surest bets of the week. The Buccaneers have the sixth-worst run defense in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. They've allowed 7.2 yards per attempt and 19 passing touchdowns this season -- only five teams have allowed more. The Bucs' one saving grace could be Darrelle Revis, who held Calvin Johnson to one catch for 13 yards back in 2010, the only time the two have gone head to head in their respective careers. While the Lions would have trouble making the Buccaneers pay should Revis shut down Johnson, the latter is playing unmatched football at the receiver position this season. The main reason this isn't higher, however, is that this is likely to be a very popular pick among survivors who have yet to use the Lions this year. Zigging when everyone else zags this time of year can make you a survivor champion on that given week. That's what makes the Ravens and Browns better picks than the Lions for Week 12.