NFL Survivor/Eliminator Picks: Week 7
If anyone asks, I wrote about four instead of my usual five Survivor League picks for Week 7 because six teams are on bye and not so I could leave work an hour early to beat the Thirsty Thursday bar rush.
-8 vs. Cardinals
It breaks my heart to pick against my beloved Jo Cool in Week 7. But with the news that former No. 1 pick Kyler Murray could return from his December ACL tear within the next few weeks, one has to target the Cardinals while one can.
Murray has traditionally struggled in the second halves of seasons. He is 18-13 in September and October in his career but 7-18 in November, December and January. That means Murray may well have been playing chess with the timing of his knee surgery while we all were playing checkers. He should start this November with fresh legs like some modern-day, cross-sport Roger Clemens. And after a revitalized Murray wins his way to a trade and costs the Cardinals their chance at the Caleb Williams No. 1 draft pick, I’m sure Cardinals fans will enjoy watching Murray win titles with the Patriots the same way Red Sox fans enjoyed watching Clemens win with the Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros in the early 2000s.
-8.5 at Patriots
I made a mistake in naming Gardner Minshew my No. 1 revenge game player for Week 6 instead of Jakobi Meyers. Fortunately, the Week 7 Revenge Game rankings can avenge me with another player looking for some Patriots payback.
1. Damien Harris (by way of Latavius Murray), Bills at Patriots – Bill Belichick wouldn’t pay his 20-time touchdown scorer Harris $1.78 million to match his Bills offer, and now three different quarterbacks – Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and Anthony Richardson – have more rushing touchdowns than his Patriots replacements Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott combined. It’s a shame Harris won’t be able to drop four scores on his former team himself this Sunday after a scary neck injury last weekend. But he should be able to enjoy those touchdowns vicariously through his teammate Latavius Murray, who is basically the same player.
2. Drue Tranquill, Chiefs vs. Chargers – Chargers fans enjoyed seeing Tranquill play a modest 19% of snaps in the Chiefs’ Week 1 loss to the Lions. But the Chiefs haven’t lost since, Tranquill has ramped his snap share up to 80% the last four weeks and Eric Kendricks – the 31-year-old linebacker the Chargers paid double what they could have paid to keep Tranquill – has missed half of his possible snaps this season with a hamstring injury. I can only imagine how much those Chargers fans will enjoy seeing Tranquill locking down their de facto No. 2 receiver with Mike Williams injured (Austin Ekeler) on Sunday.
3. Rodney McLeod, Browns Colts – Given that Bills defenders carried their then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz off the field after he beat his former Lions team by three points in an early October non-conference matchup, Schwartz may have to circle the field a few times with McLeod after the veteran safety scores more points off Gardner Minshew interceptions than Minshew scores himself.
5. Scotty Miller, Falcons at Bucs – I can’t think of why Miller would want revenge. He went from playing with a sixth-round quarterback in Tampa Bay to a third-round quarterback in Atlanta. That sounds like an upgrade to me.
-3 at Indianapolis Colts
I was scared initially to guarantee a PJ Walker road win – even if Walker erased any doubt of his superiority to First Take catnip Brocky Purdy in beating the 49ers last Sunday. But then I saw The Exorcist: Believer at my local cinema and read the news that Anthony Richardson needed season-ending shoulder surgery, and the pieces clicked together for me. The Colts franchise is possessed by a demon spirit. No, I don’t mean owner Jim Irsay. I mean an actual demon from hell. What else could explain star quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and now Anthony Richardson suffering career-altering injuries with the team that also makes for compelling Survivor League picks column content less than two weeks before Halloween? Irsay better spend some of his whale-saving millions on a team of clergy to rid Lucas Oil Stadium of its possession in the next two days or else Myles Garrett might be the last thing Gardner Minshew sees in this life. I’ll take the Browns defense over the Colts offense 14-9.
Las Vegas Raiders
-2.5 at Chicago Bears
At first blush, I hated to see that Jimmy Garoppolo would miss this week’s Chicago trip with his reported back injury. But then I realized that the veteran Garoppolo is the NFL player equivalent of a late-2010s Al Michaels, happy to travel for a Sunday Night Patriots-Steelers or Cowboys-Eagles game but at an age when he needed a “rest week” whenever NBC couldn’t flex out the Jaguars or the Lions. Even if Aidan O'Connell or Brian Hoyer is more Jac Collinsworth than Mike Tirico, they should be plenty for the Raiders to handle undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent and a bottom-five Bears pass defense. Give me the Raiders by 7.
Scott's Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Scott's Record: 6-0