Survival Football Advice: Deshaun Watson's injury changes everything in Week 9

Week 8’s biggest killer: Miami over Baltimore (0.31 percent)
Week 8’s biggest success: Minnesota over Cleveland (40.6 percent)
My picks so far: Buffalo – Oakland – New England — Seattle — Philadelphia — Atlanta (x) — Minnesota — New Orleans

Deshaun Watson’s season-ending ACL injury sent shockwaves through the NFL on Thursday afternoon. The loss of the star rookie quarterback has a huge impact on the AFC playoff picture and erases one of the few positive storylines the league had going for it in 2017.

It sucks any way you look at it.

And if you’re addicted to survival football like I am, you’ll also look at it from a survival football standpoint (yes, while feeling a tiny bit bad about doing it). Watson’s injury has both an immediate and long-term impact on the 2017 survival football season.

How immediate? Let’s put it this way. I was putting the finishing touches on a “Pick Houston in Week 9!” column when news of Watson’s injury landed. Four of our six experts were going with Houston and I’d already taped my weekly video imploring people to take the Texans.

I pitched all of it into a figurative wastebasket and went back to the drawing board.

Picking the Texans over the Colts this weekend seemed an easy layup and 35 percent of Yahoo players agreed with me at the time of Watson’s injury. The only quibble you could make with the pick is that maybe the Texans were worth saving with Arizona and San Francisco still set to make trips to Houston.

Now with Tom Savage back under center, it’s not when but if you’ll ever pick Houston.

(Also, if you’re one of the people who also didn’t take Green Bay before Aaron Rodgers went down, you’re left feeling like you’re standing on the corner after missing the bus twice.)

The fortunate among you used up the Texans against Cleveland in Week 6 and are probably feeling bad about feeling good about that fact.

But if you’re like me and you weren’t among that 31 percent, well, things got a little rougher for you today.

So where does that leave us for Week 9?

The Saints at home over the Buccaneers should probably supplant the Texans as the most popular pick before Sunday. New Orleans is hot and while 4 percent used the Saints to beat the Packers in Week 7 and another nine percent used them against Chicago, they’re still an option for most.

Having just picked the Saints last week, however, I’m forced to move down roster.

Picking the Seahawks over the visiting Washington Redskins is a nice option, but I’ve burned the Seahawks. Same goes for the Eagles, who are playing the struggling Broncos in Philly.

That leaves … Jacksonville over Cincinnati?

It looks like it was meant to be.

The Jaguars are rested and coming off a bye week. They’re listed at 78.8 percent favorites at Numberfire and are being picked by less than 10 percent of the Yahoo crowd. If the Bucs get their act together on offense and upset the Saints, it’ll be a good place to be.

While I feel better about the Jags’ chances in their Week 13 matchup against the Colts — especially since Leonard Fournette is coming off an injury —  Watson’s injury doesn’t leave me with much choice.

Jacksonville, it is.

Other thoughts: The Rodgers and Watson injuries are sure to spur plenty of “I told you sos” from the crowd that believes you should never “save” a team. It’s hard to argue with them, particularly when I passed up Houston over Cleveland so I could pick Atlanta in its loss to Miami. Still, I don’t think you can plan for injuries, nor will I apologize for taking a 13-point home favorite that held less future value than another big home favorite … Not to ruin the rest of your week, but the last two months of this season are going to be absolute hell. With eight weeks remaining and a few double-pick weeks in there, you’re probably going to find yourself in a position where you’re talking yourself into a quarterback like Brock Osweiler, Brett Hundley or, like me this week, Blake Bortles … It did cross my mind that maybe Tom Savage could still beat the Colts. Then I regained my common sense … Liz Loza is on the hook for this week’s funishment (lucky her). If Seattle loses, she promises to eat a snack-size serving of the “blazin'” hot wings at Buffalo WIld Wings and film it for our enjoyment … Who’s your pick this week?

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports graphic)