Best survivor pool picks for Week 13 of the NFL season

Friday November 29th, 2013

EJ Manuel threw for 245 yards and two TDs against the Bills in Week 11, and should have no problem versus the Jets.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

You're still full of turkey and mashed potatoes and pie, but the leftovers are calling your name. Let's get right to the best survivor picks for Week 13.

1. Buffalo Bills (vs. Atlanta Falcons) -- The Falcons have completely fallen from grace this season, and while the offense has been decimated by injury, the defense has been just plain bad. Pro Football Focus ranks the unit as the seventh-worst in the league, due largely to terrible pass rush and coverage. EJ Manuel lit up a similarly weak Jets defense in Buffalo's last game two weeks ago. He, along with the Fred Jackson-C.J. Spiller combo, should be too much for Atlanta to handle.

In addition to that, the Bills defense has been better than you'd probably guess. In fact, Pro Football Focus ranks it as the fifth-best in the league through 12 weeks. It allows just 7.0 yards per attempt, 4.1 yards per carry and leads in the league in both interceptions (16) and sacks (37). Meanwhile, the Falcons have been a league-doormat offense since losing Julio Jones. The more you peel away layers, the more you realize just how bad this matchup is for the Falcons. The Bills are favored by three points here, a line I expect them to cover with relative ease.

2. Cleveland Browns (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars) -- Speaking of bad pass defenses, the Jaguars have allowed 7.7 yards per attempt and 20 passing touchdowns this season. Cleveland's offense isn't rewriting the record books by any means, but they've shown an ability to have success through the air regardless of who is under center thanks to Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. The offense can only get better with a larger dose of Chris Ogbonnaya, which is expected this week.

Like the game above, the more you look into this one, the more you realize just how tough it will be for the underdog. Despite the success of Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jacksonville run game last week, it is a true weak spot on a weak team. They have by far the worst run blocking in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and the second-worst rushing attack as a whole. With Cleveland's rushing defense ranking 10th in the league, it will likely be on Chad Henne to keep the Jaguars in the game. If you think he can do that on the road in suboptimal conditions on Sunday, you're probably still in a food coma from Thanksgiving. Back the Browns, who are laying seven points.

3. Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets) -- Here me out on this one. The Dolphins are a solidly average team that does a handful of things well and two things really poorly. They have trouble stopping the run, ranking in the bottom-third of the league against rushers, and cannot protect Ryan Tannehill. The good news for them, however, is that the Jets are not exactly suited to take advantage of either of those weaknesses. The Chris Ivory-Bilal Powell hydra threatens to eat itself, as neither has had a chance to establish a rhythm with the other one there at all times. As such, the Jets rush offense ranks fifth from the bottom in Pro Football Focus' rankings. Meanwhile, the Jets' pass rush ranks 23rd in the league. Again, your choices are going to be less than ideal this late in a survivor pool. The Dolphins, while not a perfect pick, will help you survive to Week 14.


GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- Analyzing the post-Thanksgiving slate of games
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- Will Demaryius Thomas light up against the Chiefs?
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- Could Adrian Peterson run for 200 yards?
EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Bold Strategies -- Start Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Richardson
SI STAFF: Weekly Roundtable -- Will Dennis Johnson take over for Ben Tate?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Benny Cunningham could start if Zac Stacy cannot play
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Philip Rivers, Maurice Jones-Drew turn it on in Week 12
BELLER: Early Advice -- It's time to sit Andrew Luck, who's struggling without Reggie Wayne

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