Tom Brady is in Tampa Bay, Philip Rivers is in Indianapolis and the Raiders are in Las Vegas. Since they can't attend many games to start the season, fans will get it on the action by joining an NFL survivor pool, picking a team they hope will win straight-up to propel them to Week 2 in the season-long competition. The format is simple: You can pick one team per week but only use a team once all season. Making NFL survivor picks isn't always simple, and timing is critical.

On Sunday, the NFC champion 49ers are favored by seven against the Cardinals, while the Ravens are eight-point favorites against the Browns according to William Hill's NFL lines. Are the big favorites the best bets when making your NFL survivor pool picks? Or should you save the top teams for another week of NFL knockout pool picks? Before you make any Week 1 NFL survivor picks, see what NFL guru Mike Tierney has to say.

SportsLine's all-time No. 1 NFL expert, Tierney excels both straight-up and against the spread. Anyone who has followed his NFL picks is up more than $3,700.

Last year, Tierney went 161-94-1 on straight-up picks, beating the vast majority of experts on NFLPickWatch.com. A renowned sportswriter who's reported from seven Super Bowls, Tierney is an authority on the survivor pool format. 

He has studied the entire regular-season schedule, plotting out which team he plans to take each week. You can only see his optimal survivor pool strategy over at SportsLine.

Top Week 1 NFL survivor pool predictions 

It all starts Sunday with Week 1. Tierney is not going with the host Bills, even though their opponents, the Jets, are mired in turmoil and missing several key defenders.

This is the second straight opener between the teams, and Buffalo had to rally to win a 17-16 squeaker last year. Quarterbacks Josh Allen of the Bills and New York's Sam Darnold are still wild cards entering their third seasons. Tierney says you're better off going with another option this week. "I will land on the Bills later," he told SportsLine. "They have plenty of appealing weeks on a soft schedule."

How to make Week 1 NFL survivor pool picks 

There's a much better option, Tierney says. He has a confident pick on a team he knows will storm out of the gates and put up a convincing Week 1 win. Picking this team will get you to Week 2 and puts you in the optimal position to go deep in your NFL survivor pool. The time to pick this team is now, and you can see the play over at SportsLine.

Which team is a must-back in your Week 1 survivor pool? Visit SportsLine now to see which team carries you to victory in Week 1, all from the No. 1 expert who crushes the NFL year-in and year-out, and find out.