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NFL Week 9 survivor pool picks, predictions: Is it time to cash in on undefeated Eagles?

Philadelphia looks like a lock to win on Thursday night against the lowly Texans.

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles are huge favorites Thursday night in Houston. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles are huge favorites Thursday night in Houston. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Read moreMitchell Leff / Getty Images

Let’s face it: unless you’re one of the select few who have navigated one of the crazier NFL seasons in recent memory, you’re likely reading this week’s survivor column for entertainment and not for advice. And that’s okay.

That’s the case for the vast majority of survivor contestants, many of whom were knocked out in Week 1 or any of the unpredictable weeks thereafter. Just 123 of the original 6,133 entries (2%) in the Circa Survivor contest have lasted through the first eight weeks of the season, with similar rates defining most survivor pools across the country.

If you happen to be one of the lucky few, or you’ve fired up a pity pool for early knockouts, we’ve got you covered this week in what appears to be a fairly clear-cut slate – but not one without pitfalls, especially with road teams favored to win eight of 13 games at BetMGM. Here’s how we’d attack Week 9 of your survivor pool:

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Top play

Philadelphia Eagles

If you’ve managed to keep your powder dry on the Eagles to this point, it feels like the time to finally cash in on this undefeated group in easily the biggest mismatch of the week.

Philadelphia has looked nearly unstoppable through seven games on both sides of the ball, and won its last two games by a combined 31 points as it rolls into the easiest part of its schedule. Conversely, the Texans can’t seem to get anything going amid a 1-5-1 start, with that lone win coming against a 2-6 Jaguars team that the Eagles beat by a wider margin the week before.

It’s hard for me to imagine the script that leads to a Houston victory here, especially with sophomore passer Davis Mills (31.6 QBR) playing like arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league. If the Eagles can get out to an early lead, as they always seem to do, this one won’t be close.

» READ MORE: Philadelphia Eagles odds: Unbeaten squad flying high in futures markets

Sleeper pick

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are one of just three teams this week favored by more than a touchdown. And while the Bills are a compelling play here, too, I have more faith in Kansas City at home against a struggling rookie quarterback and a supporting cast mostly devoid of playmakers.

Yes, Derrick Henry is a stud, and he’s the lone reason to knock the Chiefs down to the “sleeper” category here given Kansas City’s history of upsets against run-first teams. Yet there’s only so much Henry can do to offset the inept play of Malik Willis, who has completed just seven of 14 passes for 61 yards through five-plus quarters this season.

On the other side, Kansas City is firing on all cylinders after throttling the 49ers two weeks ago before a bye week. That time off is a big deal here. Coach Andy Reid is 20-3 straight up following a bye week, good for the best win percentage in that spot in NFL history (87%). The Henry factor looms large, but this still feels like a safe bet on the juggernaut Chiefs.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Team to avoid

Cincinnati Bengals

We advised folks to stay away from the Bengals two weeks ago, when they cruised to a surprisingly easy win over the Falcons. Then they laid an egg on national television with Monday’s embarrassing home loss to the division rival Browns.

It’s clear that this offense is a work-in-progress without star wideout Ja’Marr Chase (hip), who missed last week and won’t be on the field for this contest, either. Cincinnati managed just 193 net passing yards and two garbage-time touchdowns through the air, which is concerning given this team’s completely ineffective rushing attack behind a substandard offensive line.

The Panthers are a team with clear issues, but they’ve shown some fight since firing head coach Matt Rhule, as evidenced by their Week 7 upset of the Buccaneers and last week’s miraculous near-win against the Falcons. The Bengals are the better team on paper, but I wouldn’t trust the team we saw last week if you’re somehow still alive in your pool.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.