The sledding gets tougher and tougher for NFL Survivor Pool entrants as the season goes on and top teams fall off the list. Anyone who only picked the biggest favorites are likely long gone anyway, thanks to shocking losses early on, most notably by the likes of the Vikings (-16.5 vs. Buffalo in Week 3) and Saints (-9.5 vs. Tampa Bay in Week 1). Lasting deep into the season isn't about just picking the biggest favorite each week, so before making your NFL Week 8 Survivor Pool picks and knockout picks, you'll want to hear what SportsLine's Mike Tierney has to say. The national sportswriter who has reported from seven Super Bowls whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, he has his finger on the pulse of the league. 

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

Last week, Tierney went with the Falcons, who hung on for a three-point win over the Giants on "Monday Night Football." He picked field-goal winners the two weeks before that: the Packers (33-30 over the 49ers) and Panthers (edging the Giants 33-31). The previous week, he picked a pair of teams -- both winners. 

Tierney finished a near-perfect 12-2 on his Week 7 straight-up picks and is 44-15 in the past four weeks. Now, Tierney has studied the matchups and locked in his optimal Week 8 NFL survivor pool picks, in which you need to pick one team each week to win but cannot select the same team twice in a season. 

We can tell you Tierney is not going with the powerhouse Rams against the Packers. 

Los Angeles is unbeaten, at home and a 9.5-point favorite over the inconsistent Packers (3-2-1), a team that hasn't won away from Lambeau Field this season. 

The Rams have the top run-pass punch in the NFL. Running back Todd Gurley leads the league in rushing yards (686) and TDs (11), while quarterback Jared Goff has 14 TDs to five INTs, leading an offense that ranks No. 2 in yards and No. 3 in scoring. The Rams' defense is just as dominant, led by defensive end Aaron Donald, who has eight of the team's 19 sacks. 

But the Packers rank just below them at No. 4 in total yards (421.0) and passing yards (317.3). The Packers were missing five key players two weeks ago against the 49ers, but have had two weeks to heal and should have all their weapons available. That includes quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is expected to play without a knee brace that's limited his mobility the last month.

Tierney believes the Rams will win, but there are much safer options out there for Week 8. 

Instead, Tierney has identified a team that has gotten out of its early-season funk and is getting hot at the right time. The time to pick this team is right now, and he's sharing his play over at SportsLine.

So which team is a must-back in your Week 8 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 44-15 the past four weeks.