Congrats on making it through the opening week of your NFL survivor pool by not busting in Week 1. We narrowed down the slate of Week 2 games with three potential survivor pool picks, including the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Bucs, and Green Bay Packers.

Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns Survivor Pool Week 2 Picks NFL
Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Image: Jamie Squire/Getty)

If you didn’t pick Tampa Bay (1-0) in Week 1, then you have an option to back the Super Bowl champions against the Atlanta Falcons (0-1) as a -12.5 favorite at home at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

NFL Week 2 – Survivor Picks
Pick Game Line
Browns Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns CLE -12.5
Bucs Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Bucs TB -12.5
Packers Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers GB -10.5

We’re leaning toward the Cleveland Browns (0-1) in our survivor pool against the Houston Texans (1-0), who visit the Dawg Pound as a +12.5 underdog in Week 2.

If you want to avoid the overreaction trend, then you can back the Green Bay Packers (0-1) on Monday Night Football as a double-digit favorite over the Detroit Lions (0-1).

Week 1 recap: Stafford’s Hollywood debut

I’m playing in a mid-stakes survivor pool with a friend of mine who lives overseas. We managed to stay alive in the first week by selecting the Los Angeles Rams, who dominated the Chicago Bears 34-14 on Sunday Night Football. The Rams gambled on a lopsided trade with the Detroit Lions to acquire Matthew Stafford, and Stafford looked good in his first game in LA. Thanks to a 20-point victory from the Rams, we advanced to Week 2 without much of a sweat.

Survivor pools are tricky and no matter how I generate picks, it seems like I either bust in the first week, or go on a deep run; there’s no in-between. A couple of entrants in our pool were eliminated in Week 1 when dogs dominated the schedule. The Week 1 bust-outs poorly chose the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota Vikings.

The four most popular survivor pool picks in Week 1 were the Rams, Bucs, San Francisco 49ers, and Carolina Panthers. All four favorites won.

Week 2: Browns or bust

When picking a survivor team, you can choose a couple of routes. A popular route is to make survivor pool picks based on the largest point spreads on a week-to-week basis. In our case, we pinpointed three teams in Week 2, which are the Cleveland Browns at -12.5, Tampa Bay Bucs at -12.5, and Green Bay Packers at -10.5.

Another popular philosophy is to fade the worst teams in the NFL. For example, fading the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars last season provided a relatively easy path deep into December for many survivor pools.

This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are among the consensus worst teams in the NFL. You can continue to fade them week-to-week, depending on matchups and home/road games. The Texans won their first game of the season in Week 1, but then again, they beat up the Jacksonville Jaguars with Urban Meyer making his NFL head coaching debut and Trevor Lawrence making his pro debut.

If you prefer the fade bad teams route in survivor pools, then selecting the Houston Texans’ opponent would mean backing the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.

It’s always good when two different routes lead you to the same place. In this case, that’s the Cleveland Browns. They’re the biggest favorite on the betting board at -12.5, and they’re hosting the fade-worthy Texans.

Packers overreaction?

The Green Bay Packers looked awful on Sunday and barely resembled the same team that went to the NFC Championship Game in January. Aaron Rodgers threw a couple of interceptions and played one of the worst games of his career.

The Packers are eager to bounce back in Week 2  after a 38-3 shellacking by the New Orleans Saints. A home game at Lambeau Field against a bad team like the Detroit Lions is exactly what the Packers need right now.

The Lions backdoored the San Francisco 49ers, who won 41-33, but failed to cover. The 49ers eased up on the gas in the second half and let the Lions sneak in the backdoor to beat the +9.5 spread.

Week 2 is known as “overreaction week,” with the public overestimating the results from the first weekend of the season. The Packers are a worthy pick if you want to avoid the tidal wave of overreactions. Yes, the Packers played like crap, but they’re a better team than what we witnessed in Week 1. The Packers are -10.5 favorites and it’s tough to beat Rodgers at Lambeau Field when he’s a double-digit favorite.

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