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NFL picks, Week 15: Straight up, and considering Survivor pool strategy

We’re back with Week 15 NFL picks, including a look at the 49ers, straight up picks, a Survivor pool, and a look at Thursday Night Football against the spread.

Welcome back for Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season. Thankfully the 49ers only have three more games of this, to quote Richard Sherman, “poopfest.” Speaking of the Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Thursday Night Football brings us a potential slog as the Seahawks host the Los Angeles Rams.

Later this weekend, the San Francisco 49ers are on the road facing the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers are 1-12 and currently a 14-point underdog against the 8-5 Falcons. Atlanta could be without wide receiver Julio Jones, and fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu is banged up and also a question mark. And yet, I still see no reason to think the 49ers win this game. The defense has shown some life at times, and the offense seems to get off to solid first quarter starts, but week in and week out things fall apart.

And so, this week I will be picking the Falcons in my NFL Survivor pool. With the pool, you can only pick a team once. You get one grace loss, so if I pick a team and they lose this week, I’m still alive (I lost in Week 2 with the Oakland Raiders). If I pick a team next week after that loss, and that latter team loses, then I’m done. I remain alive in the pool after picking the Detroit Lions over the Chicago Bears last week. It was a close one, but they pulled it out. A lot of people will be picking the Falcons this week, but I’m going to stick with my plan.

This week’s Thursday Night Football game features an NFC West matchup that could be closer than oddsmakers might think. The Seahawks are currently a 15.5-point home favorite against a Rams team that fired Jeff Fisher earlier in the week. Special teams coordinator John Fassel is the team’s interim head coach the rest of the season. The Rams are actually 4-1 in their last five matchups against the Seahawks. All four wins were by six points or less, while the one loss was by 14. There is a lot to digest with a new head coach, but I think the Rams cover once again.

Here are my straight up picks for the week.

Rams @ Seahawks: Seahawks
Dolphins @ Jets: Dolphins
Packers @ Bears: Packers
Jaguars @ Texans: Texans
Browns @ Bills: Bills
Eagles @ Ravens: Ravens
Titans @ Chiefs: Chiefs
Lions @ Giants: Giants
Colts @ Vikings: Vikings
Steelers @ Bengals: Steelers
Saints @ Cardinals: Cardinals
49ers @ Falcons: Falcons
Patriots @ Broncos: Patriots
Raiders @ Chargers: Chargers
Buccaneers @ Cowboys: Cowboys
Panthers @ Washington: Washington