There are two big favorites this week in the NFL. The Falcons are favored by 10 at home against the Cardinals, while the Rams are laying almost two touchdowns in L.A. against the Eagles, who will likely be without quarterback Carson Wentz. There are also teams like the Jaguars (-7.5 over the Redskins), Ravens (-7.5 over the Buccaneers), and Vikings (-7.5 over the Dolphins) who are all giving over a touchdown. But are any of these teams optimal targets for your Week 15 survivor and knockout pools? Underdogs decimated the competition last week, going 7-9 straight-up and upending the NFL playoff picture forever. Before making your NFL Week 15 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. Tierney is also an amazing 129-77 picking every NFL game straight up in 2018.
Now, he has studied the matchups and locked in his optimal Week 15 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 backing the Ravens, favored by over a touchdown at home against the Buccaneers.
Baltimore (7-6) proved itself in defeat last week, falling 27-24 in overtime at AFC-leading Kansas City. The Ravens' defense remains an elite unit, ranking No. 1 in the NFL in points allowed (18.5 per game) and No. 2 in yards allowed (294). And the offense has found a new gear since installing rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson as the starter.
Tampa (5-8), meanwhile, brings a similar style to Kansas City. The Bucs lead the NFL with 348 yards per game passing with former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston under center once again. He struggled in last week's 28-14 loss to the Saints, but in the three weeks before he had connected on nearly 73 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one pick.
The Bucs' defense isn't the porous unit it once was. It's allowing a respectable 21.6 points per game the last five weeks, compared to 34.4 the first eight of the season. And don't forget Jackson is still a rookie that defenses will begin to script against more effectively.
Tierney says there is a better option out there for Week 15, and he is revealing a confident pick that also sets you up for the final two weeks of the season. The time to pick this surprising team is right now, and he's sharing his play only over at SportsLine.
So which surprising team is a must-back in your Week 15 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 is 129-77 this year.