Survival Football Advice: Pick your Pennsylvania team for Week 5

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Resources: Yahoo survival pool pick distribution •
Week 4’s biggest killer: Buffalo over Atlanta (16.09 percent)
Week 4’s biggest success: Seattle over Indianapolis (44.32 percent)
My picks so far: Buffalo – Oakland – New England – Seattle

We’ve only been playing this game for four weeks, which means each of us still has 28 teams we can potentially pick for Week 5. That’s 87.5 percent of the entire league.

So why does it feel like our options are completely limited, even though October just began? If you’re like me, you looked at this weekend’s schedule and immediately noticed that the spots for safe harbor are few and far between.

The arrival of the bye weeks is one big factor, of course. Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and Washington are all sitting on the sidelines and unavailable for selection.

But it goes deeper than that.

Take one look at the matchups and you’ll see that you couldn’t have paired up the teams any worse if you were trying to foil as many survival leagues as possible. Almost all of the games feature teams of like quality. The Jets are playing the Browns in a game that could go a long way for the No. 1 pick. The Packers are playing the Cowboys in a race that could determine homefield in the NFC playoffs.

You get the idea.

The only two games that really stick out to me as being contests that feature squads with a clear cut edge are the Steelers over the Jaguars in Pittsburgh and the Eagles over the Cardinals in Philly.

That means the survival football world’s eyes are on Pennsylvania this weekend as both teams are commanding the majority of survival picks on Yahoo Sports.

I had a hard time picking between the Steelers and Eagles and I’m guessing it’s the same for you.

In the end, I went with the Eagles. Why?

In the end, I’m more confident that the Cardinals will play poorly than I am in the Jaguars lying down.

Arizona is 2-2 but has looked awful in all four games. They can’t run the ball, Carson Palmer has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns (five) and I think Carson Wentz will be able to do more than enough against that Cards defense.

The Jaguars? Yes, they lost to the New York Jets last week, but they also looked like world beaters in games against the Texans and Ravens. I’m not comfortable picking their Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act right now, especially with a Steelers team that’s been dealing with anthem controversies and whatever it is that has Antonio Brown flipping water coolers on the sidelines.

In the end, I think both teams will win. The Steelers are getting the luxury of playing the Jaguars at the end of a three-week road trip that started in London. Plus, it’s Ben Roethlisberger at home and Blake Bortles on the road. It’s not that complicated.

But the Eagles have a higher likelihood of winning according to Numberfire (72.9 percent to 61.8) while the Steelers are being outpicked over the Eagles on Yahoo (33 percent to 30). That’s not a huge spread, but any time I can exploit a team that’s favored by the odds but not the crowd I have a hard time passing it up.

Fly Eagles Fly.

Other thoughts: 41 percent of picks were knocked out in Week 3, while 33 percent bit the dust in Week 4. If either Pennsylvania team loses, I think we’ll soar past both marks in Week 5 … If you’re hot to trot to pick the Minnesota Vikings on the road against a bad team, wait until Week 8 when they visit Cleveland. Not only are the Vikings banged up, but the Bears have had 11 days to rest after a Thursday night loss to the Packers. Plus, they’ve played well at home … Who are the people riding with the uneven Patriots on the road in Tampa Bay on a Thursday night? … I really wish I had enough guts to roll with the winless Giants over the winless Chargers on Sunday. But I can’t get past what my colleague Scott Pianowski told me: “That’s one of those games where you’ll be like ‘What have I done?’ five minutes into it” … The Browns and Jets should never be allowed to play each other … Survive this week and next looks waaaay easier with the Bears, Browns and 49ers all on the road, plus the Patriots visiting the Jets … Jay Busbee is on the hook for this week’s Funishment. If the Eagles lose, he pledges to listen to “Already Gone” by The Eagles for five straight hours then write about it. That’s marvelous.

Who are you picking this week?

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)