Each week, I’m going to give you three suicide-pool suggestions that you can use in your eliminator pools. These, of course, are the pools in which you pick one team a week to win. If your team loses, you’re out for the season, and you can only use a team once. This is one of the more interesting NFL prediction games out there, and it’s easy to do, so you may want to join an online league if you want. (In fact, I’ve created a competition on ESPN.com, in case you want to compete against me and Football Relativity readers.)
I’m providing three to give you options in case you have used teams before, but I’ll only keep my record on my No. 1 pick. I won’t repeat teams in the No. 1 spot, just to keep to the spirit of the game. I’ll also try to identify the trap game to avoid each week to help you avoid the landmines that kill you in a suicide pool.
1. New Orleans over Detroit – The Saints, at home, take on a winless team that’s starting a rookie quarterback. That’s as secure of a suicide-pool formula as there is. I don’t buy the Saints as much as many people do this year, so I like the idea of using them early and saving teams higher in our Football Relativity comparison for later. (Team management is a key test in this game.)
2. Baltimore over Kansas City – The Ravens at home against the Chiefs are a very solid pick – especially if Chiefs QB Matt Cassel can’t play.
3. New England over Buffalo or San Diego over Oakland – In both Monday night games, the home teams are riding 11-game winning streaks over their opponents. I’d prefer to save the Patriots and Chargers for later, because I think they’ll be good. San Diego will have more good shots in-division, and New England is a great team to save because they’re so powerful. But if you want a sure-fire pick to start the season, either one of these will work.
The trap to avoid: Seattle over St. Louis – The Seahawks traditionally have a big home-field advantage, and the Rams were terrible last year. I don’t like the Seahawks as much of a bounce-back team this year, in large part because they’re missing two starting offensive linemen to start the season. St. Louis’ defense is better, even if its offense stinks. Seattle should win, but I could see the Rams’ defense getting going and making this a headache of a game for Seattle. So don’t get cute and take the Seahawks here.