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NFL picks, Week 9: Straight up, and considering Survivor pool strategy

We’re back with more NFL picks, including a look at the 49ers, Week 9 straight up picks, a Survivor pool, and a look at Thursday Night Football against the spread.

Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We are officially entering the second half of the San Francisco 49ers scheduled with the launch of Week 9. The 49ers are one of 14 teams that have yet to have a bye week, and will get their weekend off in two weeks during Week 11. Well, most of the players will have time off. I’m guessing Jimmy Garoppolo will have plenty to keep him busy.

The 49ers kick off the second half of their schedule with a divisional home game against the Arizona Cardinals. Garoppolo will not get the start, and barring an injury, will not play on Sunday. C.J. Beathard will get the start against Drew Stanton, who took over when Carson Palmer went down with a broken arm. It’s been a while since we have had a matchup this atrocious.

The 49ers are a 2.5-point favorite, which aside from next week’s Giants game, will probably be the closest line the rest of this season. It’s certainly a winnable game against a struggling Cardinals team. They are 3-4 and coming off an ugly 33-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Their supposedly strong defense has given up 33+ points each of their last three games, and the offense faces serious questions without Carson Palmer. So, yes, I’ll take the points!

While we wait for the 49ers on Sunday, it’s time to ponder options in NFL Survivor pools. I was knocked out of my own double elimination pool thanks to back-to-back picks of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos in Weeks 6 and 7. That ended ... poorly.

In a Survivor pool, you pick a different team each week. You can only pick a team once. If your team wins you stay alive. I have set it up so you get two strikes. If you lose once, you get another chance. If you lose twice, you’re out. Once you pick a team, you can no longer pick them this season.

I’m out of my pool, but I’m down to offer some strategy for your pool. Although, given my back-to-back losses, you probably want to take my advice with a grain of salt. The Houston Texans at home against the Indianapolis Colts will be a popular pick for anybody who still has Houston available. Philadelphia and Seattle might both be gone for you, but New Orleans at home against Tampa Bay is an interesting one.

Tonight, things get going with the New York Jets hosting the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football. This is a much more intriguing matchup than I think anybody would have expected at the beginning of the year. The Jets have lost three straight, but all three were by a touchdown or less. Josh McCown is actually looking competent for the most part. The Bills are a field goal favorite, but I’ll take the home dog.

Who are you taking?

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