NFL football knockout, survivor pool picks for Week 11: Avoid the Steelers

The sledding gets tougher and tougher for Survivor Pool players as the season goes and top teams fall off the list. And Week 11 presents one of the toughest challenges yet, with just two teams favored by a touchdown or more and nearly half of all point spreads at 3.5 or less. In order to survive and advance to Week 12, you'll need to choose carefully, and that doesn't always mean picking the biggest favorite. Just ask the Vikings, who were creamed by the Bills, 27-6, as 17-point favorites earlier this season. Before making your NFL Week 11 Survivor Pool picks, you'll want to hear what SportsLine's Mike Tierney has to say. The national sportswriter who has reported from seven Super Bowls has his finger on the pulse of the league, and he has developed a reputation as a Survivor Pool master.

Tierney excels both against the spread and straight up. The past two seasons, he hit on nearly 65 percent of his straight-up NFL office pool picks (330-180-2), beating the vast majority of experts on NFLPickWatch.com. 

Last week, Tierney took the Chiefs, who cruised past the Cardinals, another breezy victory for those following his picks. The week before, it was the Bears hammering the Bills, and before that it was the Patriots in a 25-9 win over the same Buffalo team, more winners for the NFL expert. Tierney is an amazing 72-28 picking every NFL game straight up over the past seven weeks.

Now, Tierney has studied the matchups and locked in his optimal Week 11 NFL survivor pool pick, in which you need to pick one team each week to win but cannot select the same team twice in a season. 

This week, we can tell you he's not going with Pittsburgh, a five-point road favorite at Jacksonville. 

Tierney knows the Jaguars have the tools to hang at home. Jacksonville's defense ranks No. 3 overall, but critical for this matchup is that the Jags allow only 215 yards passing, fewest in the league. That's a good strength to have as Ben Roethlisberger comes to town with time-tested home-road splits.

While Jacksonville's offense has under-performed this season, Pro Bowl running back Leonard Fournette returned after nearly two months off nursing a hamstring injury. Last week, he scored two touchdowns against the Colts and the Jaguars scored 26 points, their highest total since Week 4. 

If Fournette continues to regain his form and the defense keeps Roethlisberger in check, an upset is feasible. Don't forget that last season, the Jaguars beat the Steelers twice: 30-9 at Heinz Field and 45-42 in the AFC Divisional Round.

Instead, Tierney has locked in a very surprising pick that sets you up to last longer in your pool without causing too much stress. The time to pick this team is right now, and he's sharing his play over at SportsLine. He's also naming backup teams in case you've used his optimal option. 

So which surprising team is a must-back in your Week 11 survivor pool? Visit SportsLine now to see which team will survive and advance, all from the man who went 166-88-2 in straight-up office pool picks last season and 72-28 the past seven weeks.

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