Week 14 NFL Survivor Strategy: Ravens, Steelers, Packers or Jets. Which Is Ideal For You?

Somehow, the Chicago Bears lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. By a score of 10-3. Because of an end-of-first-half Hail Mary. Thrown by Tyler Palko. Not a pretty game.

The Bears were the third most popular choice in Yahoo’s survivor competition, and their loss knocked out 14% of contestants. A couple other minor upsets knocked out a few more opponents, and overall 79% of players survived the week, meaning there are only 615 people still alive.

Our pick, San Francisco, shut out St. Louis by a score of 26-0, so those who followed our advice advanced without much of a sweat.

[Welcome to the Week 14 installment of our series of Survivor advice columns, where we use a data-driven strategy to get an edge in NFL Survivor contests. This post includes analysis based on NFL predictions from our algorithmic Team Rankings models and other relevant data.

This discussion below is also meant to complement our Survivor Predictor tool, which provides a grid view of win odds predictions by week, from now until the end of the season. This presentation of prediction data will help you quickly grasp the current week’s best Survivor pick options, and will explain our logic in making our official pick.]

Week 14 Survivor Decision Factors

TeamOpponentSpreadTR OddsYahoo! Pick %Future ValNotes
Baltimorevs Indianapolis-16.584%36.9%1
Pittsburghvs Cleveland-14.084%16.4%2PICKED
Green Bayvs Oakland-11.081%3.4%3PICKED
NY Jetsvs Kansas City-9.083%9.2%0PICKED
New Englandat Washington-9.075%2.0%1PICKED
San Diegovs Buffalo-7.076%0.8%0PICKED
Detroitvs Minnesota-7.071%11.9%0PICKED, preliminary TR Odds
Seattlevs St Louis-5.074%12.9%0preliminary TR Odds
New Orleansat Tennessee-3.568%1.6%1PICKED
San Franciscoat Arizona-3.566%1.5%1PICKED
Denvervs Chicago-3.565%1.5%0
Dallasvs NY Giants-3.558%0.2%0PICKED
Miamivs Philadelphia-3.065%0.4%0
Cincinnativs Houston-3.058%0.2%0PICKED
Atlantaat Carolina-1.563%0.3%2
Tampa Bayat Jacksonville-1.039%0.1%0PICKED, preliminary TR Odds
Jacksonvillevs Tampa Bay+1.061%0.0%0preliminary TR Odds

Future Val = the number of future games where the team is expected to have win odds of 75% or greater, based on our NFL Survivor Tool.

Teams We Already Picked: Houston Texans (WIN), Pittsburgh Steelers (WIN), San Diego Chargers (WIN), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WIN), New England Patriots (WIN), Cincinnati Bengals (WIN), New Orleans Saints (WIN), New York Giants (WIN), Dallas Cowboys* (WIN), Green Bay Packers (WIN), Detroit Lions (WIN), New York Jets (WIN), San Francisco 49ers (WIN)

*Our original official pick in Week 9 was the Oakland Raiders. However, we issued a an update to the post well in advance of Sunday morning that suggested readers switch to Dallas. Because Oakland lost while Dallas won, we feel that this series will be more useful going forward if we assume Dallas was our official pick.

Weighing the Options

Baltimore (vs Indianapolis) — The Ravens are the most popular choice this week, but they’re only at 37%, not an overwhelming number. And it’s with good reason, as this is their easiest game of the season. They would be nice to save for Week 16 (vs CLE), but their value compared to the rest of the field is higher this week than it will be then. The Ravens aren’t a perfect pick but are a good, safe choice.

Pittsburgh (vs Cleveland) — The Steelers are very nearly as safe of a pick as the Ravens, but are significantly less popular, at 16% (though this is still second on Yahoo). They are a bit more valuable than Baltimore in Week 16 (vs STL), but being able to stay off the most popular team this week is a big plus. We prefer the Steelers to the Ravens this week. Unfortunately, we’ve already picked them.

Green Bay (vs Oakland) — The Packers are a notch below the top two in terms of the Vegas line and TR win odds, plus they have reasonable matchups in each of the last three weeks. However, they are not popular at all (3%), and they aren’t the safest choice in any week going forward. They are definitely a solid pick if you have them left. If you somehow have both Green Bay and either Baltimore or Pittsburgh available this week, think about taking Green Bay now and use the other in Week 16.

NY Jets (vs Kansas City) — The Jets are in tier 2 with Packers in terms of surviving the week, but they’re more popular (9%). However, they have no future value, which is a huge plus. If there are more than a few people left in your pool, then you’re going to want to plan on making at least a couple more picks. That means the Jets are a great pick this week. They are only a bit riskier than the top picks, but are less popular, and will let you save BAL/PIT/GB for Week 16. Unfortunately, we’ve already used them.

New England (@ Washington) — Now we’re down in the third line/odds tier. The Patriots are unpopular (2%) but are one of the better picks in Week 17 (vs BUF), as they may still be fighting for home for home field advantage in the AFC. We’d prefer to save them, but if you don’t have any of the top four left, they’re a fine alternative. We’ve already used them.

San Diego (vs Buffalo) — The Chargers are about as risky as New England, but have basically no future value. We’d go with SD over NE, if that’s the choice. If you’re comparing them to a team above, we’d take the safer pick. If you’re comparing them to a team below, we’d go with SD. We’ve already picked them.

Detroit (vs Minnesota) — We’ve now dropped into tier 4. Not only that, the Lions are pretty popular (12%). Sure, they don’t have much future value, but their popularity means they don’t have much current value, either. Definitely the worst option we’ve come to so far. We’ve already picked them.

Seattle (vs St Louis) — The Seahawks are in a position extremely similar to Detroit. They have no future value, but are way more popular than their win odds should dictate. You shouldn’t be considering Seattle unless you’ve used all of the above teams.

Other Teams — We realize that sometimes your hand is forced due to previous picks, but if possible we would definitely advise staying away from any team not listed. There is a big increase in the risk factor once you get past Seattle (and the ‘Hawks are already way riskier than, say, Baltimore).

Official Week 14 NFL Survivor Pick:  Baltimore Ravens over Indianapolis Colts

It’s getting to be late enough in the season that our choices are mostly dictated by who we have left. This week, there is clear top tier of four picks that stand out:

  • New York Jets — Lowest immediate value, but no future value. Best pick for people who need to survive several more weeks.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers — Highest immediate value, but also high future value. Best pick for people in pools with 5 or less people left.
  • Green Bay — Midway in immediate value, with some future value, but not the best pick in any future week. Good alternative to the above in any size pool.
  • Baltimore Ravens — Midway in immediate value, with more future value than Green Bay. The immediate value makes them better than any pick besides the above three.

The only one of those we have left is the Ravens, so they are our official pick.

Beyond that top four, San Diego and New England are the next tier of decent alternatives. After those two are Detroit and Seattle, but we’re already getting into pretty unappealing choices.

Of course, as always feel free to ask questions about your specific situation in the comments section.