If you are unaware what NFL survivor picks are, the basic concept is you make NFL picks throughout the season, but you can only pick a team once. Once you lose, you’re knocked out, so choose your Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool picks wisely.
If you are new to reading my survivor articles, what I do is outline my “lock of the week,” my “value of the week” and my “high risk, high reward pick.” The lock of the week details what team I think has the best chance of winning their matchup. This would most likely be a good team that plays a bad team. The lock is also the official pick for NFL Survivor Pools, meaning we will not reuse a “lock.” My value pick of the week details a mid-tier team that has a good matchup. And finally my high risk, high reward pick details a bad team that has a good matchup.
Last year, I went 17-0 on my locks of the week, which would have won your pool. I finished with a 36-17 record overall. With a tough Week 1 to predict, we may have to take an elite team off of the board right away.
Week 1 NFL Survivor Pool Picks
Lock of the Week | Week 1 Survivor Pool Picks
As I said, this is the hardest week, because you don’t have a good feel for every team. The one game that sparks my interest is San Francisco at Detroit. We know that Detroit has been nothing better than mediocre in the Super Bowl era. San Francisco also has one of the best defenses and offensive play-callers in the NFL. With Detroit’s new coach and quarterback, you have to think that it will take a couple of games for them to gel. With that being said, San Francisco is one of the better teams in the NFL.
In Jimmy Garoppolo’s career, it has seemed like he is a game-manager, at best. It’s obvious that the 49ers are looking to move on from Garoppolo, with the selection of Trey Lance. That should not factor into Week 1, as Lance played alright in preseason, but he also looked shaky at times. This is also a spot where Jared Goff, who struggles against good teams, gets his first start of the season for the Lions. Detroit doesn’t sport great weapons on offense or defense, so it seems like San Francisco can beat the Lions on brute force rather than scheme.
NFL Picks Lock: San Francisco 49ers
Value Pick of the Week | Week 1 Survivor Pool Picks
Both the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals are loaded with talent. Justin Jefferson is coming off of the greatest rookie receiving season in NFL history. Dalvin Cook is a top-five running back in the league. Finally, Adam Thielen is a touchdown monster. Joe Mixon is a good, young runner. Joe Burrow is ready to play again, after an ACL injury. The Bengals sport a loaded receiver group, with names like Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd.
This should be a fun game to watch, due to that talent. The Vikings have an improved defense and should somewhat be able to stop teams from passing all over them again. The Bengals did not take a lineman in the first round of the draft, which is worrysome for Burrow. Cincinnati does have an underrated defense, but they lack depth. If Cook can rip off some long runs early, the Bengals will be in for a long afternoon. And if the Vikings can get enough pass rush on Burrow, it seems likely that the Bengals will have a tough time adjusting. Look for Mike Zimmer to send a lot of pressure early and rely on Cook’s shoulders to start the year off with a win.
NFL Picks Value: Minnesota Vikings
High Risk, High Reward | Week 1 Survivor Pool Picks
How poetic is it that Sam Darnold gets to take on his former team in Week 1? Is this the change in scenery that Darnold needs to finally blossom into the star that was drafted to be? He absolutely has the weapons around him to do it, with a healthy Christian McCaffrey, Robby Anderson and DJ Moore. The Panthers also have Jeremy Chinn, Brian Burns and Jaycee Horn on defense to make Zach Wilson’s afternoon hell.
The Jets are on the right trajectory in their rebuild, with Mekhi Becton, Corey Davis, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore and Michael Carter. It is all reliant on how well Zach Wilson translates to the NFL. It feels like this first game can be a learning process, so we don’t really know what to expect from Wilson. With him being the franchise quarterback, the Jets will have to develop him into the star, rather than him being the star right away. That bodes well for the Panthers – as a win here will help to keep pace early with the Buccaneers as well as give Sam Darnold a moral victory.
NFL Picks High Risk: Carolina Panthers