Welcome to the final week of the NFL regular season! This week could be easier or tougher if you have some of the top teams left because teams like the Browns, Ravens, 49ers, and Rams will rest most, if not all, of their top stars before the playoffs. 

Even then, we’ve got some very enticing matchups to select from in this last week, so go with your gut and we’ll help give you a nudge in the right direction with our five picks this week.

We will help you get to the promised land this last week with our picks, but in case you’re not familiar with Survivor pools, here’s a quick rundown:

Pick a team that wins in each NFL week. Typically, you choose a team just once, so each selection is essential. Some survivor pools have double-elimination so that you can slip up and still be in the running. Make sure you’re checking out our weekly matchup previews and our Survivor League Strategy in the Fantasy Alarm Draft Guide as guides toward picking the best winners for each week and developing a strategy.

Let’s dive right in with Week 18’s picks!


2023 Survival Pool Picks Record

Week 17: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 57-23 (.713)

NFL Week 18 DraftKings Odds, Implied Totals, Spreads, and Over/Under

*All lines current as of 10:00 PM ET, 1/3/24, courtesy of Vegas Insider*

NFL Week 18 Survivor Picks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As is tradition, it’s the team that’s playing the Carolina Panthers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are 4.5-point favorites on the road against the terrible Panthers, and the Bucs have an extra incentive here to win this game. Tampa can clinch the NFC South with just a win, and they won’t fall flat against the league’s worst team like the Bucs did last week against the Saints at home.

Expect a refocused Bucs team in Week 18, and against the Panthers, they should be able to lock up the NFC South with a win on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals

There are a few factors working in concert that lead to placing the Bengals here as one of the top teams to select in Survivor pools in Week 18. First: the Cleveland Browns are resting most, if not all, of their important players for the playoff run. This includes Joe Flacco, who will sit for practice squad journeyman Jeff Driskel in Week 18. Second, the Bengals are 7.0-point favorites thanks to the Las Vegas odds moving after Cleveland’s starting quarterback announcement. Third, the Browns have the second-lowest implied point total of any team in Week 18 at 15.25. And fourth, the Bengals are at home.

Put all these factors together, and that’s a resume to select the Bengals in Week 18 over the playoff-bound Browns.

New England Patriots

It’s almost a guarantee that everybody has the Patriots left in their Survivor pool. And why wouldn’t you? They’ve been one of the worst teams in the league and a target opponent for Survivor pool players all season.

This week, they play the New York Jets, with the lowest implied point total at 14.5 points on the road in Foxboro. The Jets have been abysmal on offense, and at the very least, the one redeeming quality about the Patriots is that their defense has been pretty decent. They could be better than their 4-12 record suggests, as they took the fight to the Buffalo Bills last week. Hopefully, the Patriots build off of that and take care of business against the Jets in what could possibly be Bill Belichick’s last game with the team.

Other NFL Week 18 Survivor Pool Options

Las Vegas Raiders

I do have some confidence in the Raiders this week, and more confidence than most people do. They’re home favorites against the Denver Broncos by 2.5 points, and we know the Broncos have been pretty terrible offensively.

Denver benched Russell Wilson for Jarrett Stidham, and even with Courtland Sutton potentially coming back this week after missing Week 17 with a concussion, nothing is less inspiring this season than the offensive performance of the Broncos. The Raiders’ defense has been fantastic over the last three weeks or so, so selecting them over the Broncos seems safe, considering what we’ve seen from Denver.

New Orleans Saints

Just like the Bengals earlier in this article, selecting the Saints is in big part, thanks to the Saints being 3.0-point favorites at home vs. the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have been a terrible road team with a 2-6 record this season away from the confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Saints have every reason to go all-out and take care of their own business, as with a Buccaneers loss and a Saints win, New Orleans would take the NFC South, make the playoffs, and guarantee themselves a home game. While the Falcons can also take the NFC South with a win against the Saints and a Panthers win at home against Tampa Bay, the percentages, the personnel, and Atlanta’s poor history on the road all point to the Saints being able to withstand Arthur Smith and the Falcons in Week 18.