NFL Survivor/Eliminator Picks: Week 12
After he contributed four touchdowns to a 34-14 blowout win over the Titans on Sunday, Trevor Lawrence laughed off Arden Key’s comments about his perceived difficulty in making it to his second and third reads. “Arden said that?”, Lawrence joked. “Love Arden. Former teammate. It hurts that he said that…” Lawrence laughed and smiled. “But I really don’t care. It’s about how you perform on Sunday.”
It's going to take a lot more for me to forgive you, Arden, after you — plus six Commanders turnovers — cost me my perfect Survivor season!
But I will carry on. For those of you with double-elimination leagues. For those of you who zagged on my Week 11 pick. And because I’m being told I have to keep writing this to get paid.
Week 12 NFL Eliminator Picks
-3.5 vs. Panthers
I would love to lock up an early Survivor win with a heavy favorite Thursday or Friday. But I’ve already used the Lions, Cowboys, 49ers and Dolphins this season. And so, Arden, here is your chance at redemption!
After the aforementioned 20-point loss to the Jaguars Sunday, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel told reporters that the Jags are “better coached and they're a better team right now.” But you know which team isn’t better coached? My beloved Panthers. Their head coach Frank Reich has 31-36-1 record over the last five seasons and was fired by the Colts last November. And their play-caller Thomas Brown lasted three weeks with that extra responsibility. And you know which team isn’t better right now? The Panthers. They have the worst record and second worst DVOA in football, and they don’t even own their own draft pick to incentivize their tanking. Will Levis hasn’t lived up to his four-touchdown debut in his pair of encore performances. But I’m pretty sure Vrabel could run Derrick Henry in Wildcat for 60 plays on Sunday and beat the Panthers by a touchdown.
-10 at Jets
I thought it would be hilarious to bet on the Jets after they benched a former No. 2 draft pick for a quarterback with 1 touchdown and 13 interceptions in three seasons at UConn. But the Week 12 Revenge Game rankings tie my hands.
1. Mike White via Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins at Jets
As the Jets bench Zach Wilson for Tim Boyle, I hope Mike White reminds them that he has a better career passer rating (75.9) than either Wilson or Boyle (71.9 and 50.9) and would only have cost them $4.5 guaranteed million to retain.
2. Braxton Berrios, Dolphins at Jets
Braxton Berrios isn’t a lock to play Friday because of his nagging hamstring injury. But I wouldn’t count on Allen Lazard, Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee or Randall Cobb to catch more passes even if Berrios spends Friday in his street clothes.
3. Kyle Van Noy, Ravens at Chargers
When he was still unsigned in late September, Kyle Van Noy wondered “Are people watching the film and whatnot? Because I’ve produced and, you know, you get a little annoyed cause you’re, like, watching and you’re saying I can’t play?” Maybe noted fourth-down-analytics apostle Brandon Staley does all his scouting work in spreadsheets? If that’s the case, Staley should re-sort his Excel tables and realize that Van Noy’s six sacks would be the second most on this Chargers defense now that Joey Bosa is on injured reserve.
4. Shaquill Griffin, Texans vs. Jaguars
In an era when lame players like Jason Kelce are telling reporters that they don’t believe in revenge games, Shaquill Griffin is a breath of fresh air. After his Texans’ 37-17 beatdown of the Jaguars in Jacksonville in Week 3, the veteran cornerback reflected "I got released by that team during my surgery. So, it got very personal." Griffin also told reporters that he trash-talked the Jaguars saying “I bet y’all miss me” on the sideline during the game. Derek Stingley should fake an injury this week so Griffin can have another shot at some defensive revenge.
5. Joe Judge, Patriots at Giants
Wait, Joe Judge is an offensive assistant on the Patriots now? This is the first I’m hearing of this. Frankly, that might explain why Mac Jones is averaging 203 passing yards per game. I don’t know who wants revenge more, Judge for his Giants firing or the Giants for Judge’s 10-23 record as their head coach.
Kansas City Chiefs
-9.5 at Raiders
So Marquez Valdes-Scantling drops one tiny, would-have-been game-winning-touchdown pass and suddenly every fan is an expert on receiver drops?
There’s nothing to see here, folks. Based on FTN’s charting, Chiefs receivers have just 16 drops this season, a total that barely ties them for fourth worst in football. Definitely not alarming!
What, you don’t believe me? Well, believe Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, who declared in his press conference that “In the end, we have a lot of trust in these guys, and we believe in them.” Ask Bears fans, they’ll tell you that Nagy is a name you can trust.
In time, I’m sure cooler heads will prevail and absolutely no one will believe the silly conspiracy that your favorite Survivor League columnist has clandestinely orchestrated a dastardly experiment to see how bad a set of wide receivers the Chiefs can play while Patrick Mahomes still looks like the best quarterback in football.
[The No. 6 passing offense? Still too good, I have to keep pushing the envelope. I’ve already removed Tyreek Hill and added Mecole Hardman, and my co-conspirator Taylor Swift will have Travis Kelce out of football and on reality television any day now. I think the next move will be to re-injure Kadarius Toney’s hamstrings and then bring Toney’s former Giants teammate Kenny Golladay out of retirement. Excellent.]
-1 at Bengals
One might assume that the conflictingreports of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and president Art Rooney being the one who fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada indicate a fissure in the building that could continue to hurt the team in the second half of the season. But in this case, I think everyone just wants credit for what was so obviously a tremendous development. I half expected T.J. Watt to claim he fired Canada in an effort to boost his defensive player of the year candidacy. And while I’ve never heard of interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner and am not going to take the time to Google him when I’m trying to get out of the office and enjoy my Thanksgiving, I feel I can confidently report that he will steer the offense toward George Pickens and Jaylen Warren and score more points than his predecessor. Give me the Steelers over Jake Browning’s Bengals by a touchdown.
New York Giants
+3 vs. Patriots
Tommy DeVito may have won last week’s battle with Washington. But he may also have lost the war for Caleb Williams. DeVito’s upset win over the Commanders dropped the Giants from a 19.4% chance to land the No. 1 draft pick to a 10.2% chance. And while that still technically bests the Patriots’ current 6.6% chance, it reveals the motivations that the math can’t see. DeVito is a 25-year-old undrafted rookie quarterback. His only shot at an NFL future is to play well with his current opportunity, and Giants fans and coaches can only watch and hope that he fails to do so. In contrast, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been building for his current tanking moment for the last few years. His “poor decisions” to hire Matt Patricia and Bill O’Brien — and Joe Judge, apparently — to overpay Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith and Mike Gesicki, and to draft N'Keal Harry and Tyquan Thornton have completely undermined his quarterback Mac Jones. And now that he refuses to name a starting quarterback until game day, Belichick has ensured that Jones won’t sleep all week. It’s a tanking clinic. Belichick continues to play chess while the Giants, Bears, Cardinals and Commanders coaches play checks. Giants by three.
Scott's Pick: Tennessee Titans
Scott's Record: 10-1