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Early thoughts on Week 1 NFL Survivor pool picks

The NFL’s Week 1 schedule has arrived. Time to start considering Survivor strategies.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL dropped the Week 1 schedule Wednesday morning, and while we’re all interested in the full seasons late, Week 1 offers very specific interests. DraftKings Sportsbook posted point spreads, totals, and moneyline odds for people to get ready for picking the 16-game slate.

However, there is another aspect of Week 1 to consider: Survivor pools! This is a growing game where you pick one winner each week. If your pick wins you move on to the next week, if your pick loses you are eliminated. Your team does not have to cover the spread, but rather just needs to win. One of the most important rules of an NFL Survivor pool is that you can usually only use a team once during the entire season.

DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a $1 million winner-take-all Survivor pool in Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and West Virginia. Whether you’re playing in that contest or just doing one with your friends, it’s never too early to start thinking about your Week 1 pick.

Below we’ve put together a table with each team and their opponent, and then the Week 1 point spread, the team’s win total number for the season and their Super Bowl odds. The table is sorted by spread from heaviest favorite to heaviest underdog. However, picking a game each week is not just picking the most likely winner. It’s about picking who will probably win the game combined with looking at them as a long-term play.

Some good teams will turn out to be bad and some bad teams will turn out to be good, but looking at win totals and Super Bowl odds offer ideas on who might be worth waiting to use until later in the season. For example, the Lions are in a rebuilding mode and the 49ers are a 7.5-point favorite — making them the biggest favorites in Week 1. However, considering the 49ers are facing potentially bad Jacksonville and Houston squads later this season, maybe you wait on using them. And road games can be unpredictable, so maybe you wait to use them.

Looking at the Week 1 slate, the Panthers are an intriguing early option. They have some big questions over the course of the season, but they’re facing a potentially really bad Jets squad. You might be less inclined to use the Panthers later in the season so why not roll the dice early? Plenty will change over the next four months, but that’s an early lean for me. Of course, if you don’t think we see Sam Darnold regain some of what made him the No. 3 overall pick, you may disagree.

If you want to look at an underdog at the moment, the Giants are worth a look. They’re hosting a Broncos team that has seen its odds boosted in part because of the potential they land Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers ends up in Denver, this comes off the board for me, but if he does not end up there, Denver has enough questions and New York has made some intriguing offseason additions that this is at least worth taking a minute to think about. I don’t think people will pick the Giants right out of the gate, but don’t ignore them.

Week 1 Survivor table

Team Week 1 opponent Week 1 spread Win total Super Bowl odds
Team Week 1 opponent Week 1 spread Win total Super Bowl odds
49ers @ Lions -7.5  10.5 +1400
Rams vs. Bears -7.0  10.5 +1300
Buccaneers vs. Cowboys -6.5  11.5 +650
Bills vs. Steelers -6.5  11 +1400
Ravens @ Raiders -6.0  10.5 +1500
Chiefs vs. Browns -5.5  12.5 +525
Panthers vs. Jets -4.5  7.5 +6600
Vikings @ Bengals -3.5  8.5 +3300
Falcons vs. Eagles -3.5  7.5 +5000
Colts vs. Seahawks -2.5  10 +2500
Titans vs. Cardinals -2.5  9 +4000
Patriots vs. Dolphins -2.0  9 +2800
Broncos @ Giants -1.5  8.5 +2200
Chargers @ Washington -1.5  9 +3300
Jaguars @ Texans -1.5  6.5 +8000
Washington vs. Chargers +1.5  8 +5000
Giants vs. Broncos +1.5  7 +6600
Texans vs. Jaguars +1.5  4.5 +17500
Dolphins @ Patriots +2.0  9 +2800
Seahawks @ Colts +2.5  9.5 +2500
Cardinals @ Titans +2.5  8 +4000
Eagles @ Falcons +3.5  6.5 +6600
Bengals vs. Vikings +3.5  6.5 +10000
Jets @ Panthers +4.5  6.5 +10000
Browns @ Chiefs +5.5  10.5 +1600
Raiders vs. Ravens +6.0  7 +6600
Cowboys @ Bucs +6.5  9.5 +2500
Steelers @ Bills +6.5  8.5 +4000
Bears @ Rams +7.0  7.5 +5000
Lions vs. 49ers +7.5  5 +15000
Packers @ Saints No line No Line +1700
Saints vs. Packers No line  9 +2800

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