The Best Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks & Strategy | Cowboys & Patriots

It was another crazy week for survivor pools, with the most popular team (The Titans at 46%) going down, and the other large favorite in the Bills (-7) falling as well. At this point in the season, saving picks for later is no longer important; surviving until the next week is hard enough. Be sure to check out Awesemo’s new NFL Survivor Optimizer Tool when making NFL bets and survivor picks the rest of the way. Here are some potential NFL survivor pool picks for Week 12.

What is an NFL Survivor Pool?

There are several variations of the survivor pool format, but the most basic and common one is each Week everyone in the pool must select one team to win a game straight up, not against the spread. If the team wins, that player survives the week; if that team loses, the player is eliminated. The twist is that teams can only be used once, making it increasingly difficult as the season goes on. The pool ends when there is one player left.

Week 12 NFL Schedule


Bears (-3.5) at Lions Raiders at Cowboys (-7) Bills (-4) at Saints


Steelers at Bengals (-3.5) Buccaneers (-2) at Colts Panthers at Dolphins (-1)
Titans at Patriots (-5.5) Eagles (-3.5) at Giants Falcons (-1) at Jaguars
Jets at Texans (-3) Chargers (-2.5) at Broncos Rams at Packers (-1)
Browns at Ravens (-4.5)


Seahawks (-1) at Washington

Week 11 NFL Survivor Pool Picks Recap

Tennessee Titans

The Titans fell to the 1-8 Texans as 10-point favorites on Sunday. They took the dreams of many surviving players along with them, as the Titans were used by almost half of the field according to Yahoo. They were this column’s official pick as well. The Titans never put up much of a fight here, trailing 19-0 before scoring their first point. Being down both Derrick Henry and Julio Jones has left their offense a mess. The defense performed admirably considering the five turnovers they had to deal with, but it was too much to overcome. The Titans are now 5.5-point underdogs against New England for Week 12.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were the third-most popular pick of the week, with roughly 10% of the field choosing them. They took care of business Monday night, handling the Giants easily in a 30-10 victory. The downside is that the Bucs have the highest future value score in Awesemo’s NFL Survivor Optimizer Tool, meaning using them now was not without cost. However, given the low number of players who have made it this far, pools might be wrapped up before Weeks 17 and 18, and Tampa projects as at least a 9-point favorite in both games.

Cleveland Browns

It was closer than it should have been, but the Browns got it done in Week 11. They held on to defeat the Lions 13-10. It was a miserable day offensively, with both quarterbacks throwing two interceptions and combining for only 253 yards passing. The Lions even had a chance late in this one but opted for a field goal on fourth-and-1 at the Browns 25 instead of pushing to take the lead. Still, the Browns held on to keep the Lions winless.

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Week 12 NFL Survivor Pool Picks

Teams Already Used: San Francisco 49ers (W), Cleveland Browns (W), Denver Broncos (W), Cincinnati Bengals (W), Baltimore Ravens (W), Indianapolis Colts (W), Arizona Cardinals (W), Kansas City Chiefs (W), Dallas Cowboys (L, Switched to Miami after the fact), Buffalo Bills (W), Titans (L, switched to Buccaneers after the fact)

With the column losing in Weeks 9 and 11, moving forward the picks for those weeks will pivot to Miami and Tampa Bay, respectively, for continuity’s sake.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are the only team in Week 12 to be favored by at least a touchdown. They host the Raiders for their traditional Thanksgiving game. However, health could be a major problem for Dallas here. Their offense looked entirely lost without both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in Week 11. That game was against the Chiefs’ 30th-ranked defense. Vegas profiles slightly better, at 23rd. Still, one of both of the receivers should be back, and that makes this an attractive get-right spot for Dallas.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are laying 5.5 points to the Titans this week in a surprising reversal of what this spread would have been a few weeks ago. The Patriots are winners of five straight and now lead the AFC East. Tennessee also leads their division but is coming off a loss to the hapless Texans. The decision comes down to whether one thinks the game against Houston was a fluke or the logical progression of a team missing most of its top offensive talent. The Patriots pick is more appealing if A.J. Brown (ribs) is ruled out of this game, and that news will not come out until late in the week or Sunday morning.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are 4.5-point favorites hosting the Browns on Sunday. They are ineligible for this column (having been used in Week 5) but are an appealing choice, nonetheless. While the Ravens struggled in Week 11, the assumption is that Lamar Jackson will return from his non-COVID illness and be under center for the Ravens in Week 12. Obviously, shy away from this pick if Tyler Huntley remains under center. Otherwise, the Ravens are a fine choice as the week’s third-heaviest favorite.

Betting lines as of Monday likely also include some degree of uncertainty about Jackson, so expect the Ravens to be bigger favorites if Jackson gets in some full practices early in the week.

Week 12 NFL Survivor Pick: Dallas Cowboys/New England Patriots

The dual picks are not an attempt to waffle out of a firm decision. However, there is some key news coming down the line that impacts the pick. If one of — though ideally both — Lamb and Cooper are active on Thursday, roll with the Cowboys. They should have enough offensive firepower to get the job done. However, pivot to the Patriots if both remain out of the lineup.

As a bonus, both teams rank near the bottom of future value scores in Awesemo’s NFL Survivor Optimizer Tool, so it is a bit of a “now or never” play with either of them. However, the Patriots should rise a bit in that metric, provided their hot streak continues (which is another reason to go with Dallas if possible).

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