As Week 9 of the NFL season approaches, the pool of top-tier teams to choose from for your Survivor Pool is shrinking. But it's not completely empty, especially if you've incorporated a key strategy. Picking the right team at the right time is important -- lasting deep into the season isn't about just picking the biggest favorite each week. And that strategy doesn't work anyway -- the Vikings were 16.5-point favorites and were routed at home by the winless Bills in Week 3. So before making your NFL Week 9 Survivor Pool picks, you'll want to hear what SportsLine's Mike Tierney has to say. A national sportswriter whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, he has reported from seven Super Bowls and has developed a reputation as a Survivor Pool master.
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 NFLPickWatch.com.
Last week, he took the Patriots in an easy 25-6 victory, just another winner for the Survivor Pool veteran. Not only that, Tierney finished also a near-perfect 12-2 on his Week 8 straight-up picks and is 56-17 in the past five weeks. Now, Tierney has studied the matchups and locked in his optimal Week 9 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.
We can tell you Tierney is not going with the Chiefs, eight-point road favorites at Cleveland.
No team has scored as many points as the Chiefs (36.2 ppg), and only the Buccaneers and Rams have piled on more yards. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an amazing 26 TDs to just six INTs, and he's flanked by one of the more dynamic running backs in the game, Kareem Hunt, who has 592 yards and five TDs.
But Tierney gives slight pause to this seemingly massive mismatch.
For one, as great as the Chiefs' offense has been, their defense ranks second-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed. Enhancing that issue is the possible absence of two starting linebackers: Anthony Hitchens (groin) and Frank Zombo (hamstring). They won't be at 100 percent even if they do play.
Top wide receiver Tyreek Hill (groin) didn't finish last Sunday's game against the Broncos and could also be limited in Week 9.
Meanwhile, the Browns have a new head coach and coordinators after jettisoning Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams takes over, but does Cleveland respond with an inspired effort or will the newness cause issues on Sunday?
Tierney believes the Chiefs will win, but there are safer options out there for Week 9, and Tierney is revealing a confident 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.
So which team is a must-back in your Week 9 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 56-17 the last five weeks.