If you’ve lasted in your NFL survivor pool five weeks through this unpredictable NFL season, bravo. Week 6 looks like it should have a few locks, but as we’ve seen, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. We’re now including Thursday games in the best survivor picks, so just ignore them if your pool only includes Sunday and Monday.
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1. Minnesota Vikings (vs. Arizona)
Even coming off a win that probably took a lot of energy against the Eagles, the Vikings are the biggest favorites of the week and should be able to win handily at home versus the Cardinals. After already getting upset by a rookie quarterback this season, the Vikings will make sure that doesn’t happen again. And Josh Rosen isn’t the type of playmaker Josh Allen is, so it’s unlikely he can carry his team to a victory.
2. Los Angeles Rams (@ Denver)
Mile High is a difficult place to play, but the Broncos are reeling and could be the first team to fire its head coach this year. Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks are both expected to clear concussion protocol before Sunday, in which case Jared Goff would have his full complement of receivers against a defense that really hasn’t been good since the start of last season. The Rams are touchdown favorites for a reason.
3. Green Bay Packers (vs. San Francisco)
Both the Packers and Niners have dealt with injuries, but San Francisco has clearly been hit harder and doesn’t have its franchise quarterback. C.J. Beathard should be able to make it a game, but it’s a tough task to go into Lambeau Field and get a win. Aaron Rodgers should be able to move the ball and help get his team back over .500. There might not be a better week to use Green Bay as your lock.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (@ Giants)
The Eagles are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Giants. Thursday games can be tricky, but Philadelphia hasn’t played to its potential since the opener, and a rainy primetime divisional matchup could be needed to get everyone on track. The Eagles’ team chemistry might not be the same anymore, which would be a major problem for them, but the Giants look to be in a worse situation with the Odell Beckham Jr. controversy—it could be an ugly week on a short week.
5. Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay)
Despite the injuries on defense, the Falcons are too talented to be 1-4 heading into Week 6. The Buccaneers exceeded expectations the first two weeks of the season, but the defense is still a liability, and Jameis Winston might turn the ball over a couple of times in his first start of 2018. It’s just hard to see the Falcons losing their third straight home game.
6. Houston Texans (vs. Buffalo)
The Bills have probably ruined as many survivor pools as any team this season, as they upset the Vikings in Week 3 and the Titans last week. And the Texans haven’t been great through five weeks, so there is reason for concern selecting them as a lock. At least they play at home, which should make it easier to avoid getting upset.
7. Carolina Panthers (@ Washington)
These last two are tough choices, so I recommend going with one of the top six (and preferably one of the top two or three). The Panthers have linebacker Thomas Davis returning from his four-game suspension, giving the defense a boost. This is basically a toss-up, though.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (@ Cleveland)
The Browns look like a tough team to beat at home if the defense plays well, but the Chargers should be able to move the ball and put up some points with all the talent they have on offense. Also, LA’s defense played up to their potential in a win against the Raiders last Sunday, and they’ll look to keep that momentum going against a rookie quarterback.