Revamp your NFL office pool
Nine ways you and your colleagues can graduate from stale pick 'em pools this season
This story appears in the Sept. 19, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
1. DIVISION WINNER POOL
Predict each of the NFL's eight division winners. Four points if a team finishes first; one point if it finishes last.
A tip you'll thank us for: A team has gone from worst to first in each of the past eight years. Go Cardinals!
2. LOSER SURVIVOR POOL
Instead of picking winners, take one team you expect to lose every week. Most straight losers? Winner! It's even easier than being Troy Polamalu's barber.
Optional rules: You can pick a team only once all year. Pick the first four weeks of games before the season, and then go week to week.
3. PICK-SEVEN POOL
Everyone chooses seven teams at the beginning of the season. Come Jan. 1, the person with the most total wins is crowned champion.
A tip you'll thank us for: Avoid the NFC West -- a solid life lesson in general, unless of course you're looking for cheap seats on StubHub.
4. OVER/UNDER POOL
It's not about picking the winner of each game but whether the final combined point total will be over or under the Vegas betting line.
A tip you'll thank us for: If you like watching the entire game, never take the under. The second half is painful when you've already lost.
5. KICKER POOL
For each matchup in this weekly contest, you pick the team you think will have the most kicking points. Because touchdowns are for losers.
Optional rule: Bonus points if a kicker makes a tackle.
6. GOODELL GUYS POOL
Pick the five players you think will be suspended for the most games. Then wait for the sparks to fly!
A tip you'll thank us for: Snag James Harrison. And Bengals.
7. SPORTS BOOK POOL
Each week you get an imaginary $1,000 to bet on as many games as you see fit. At season's end, the biggest imaginary bankroll wins everyone's entry fee. It's like playing Monopoly, if the banker were a bookie.
A tip you'll thank us for: Never bet more than 40 percent of your stash on a single game. Money management is key. Daniel Snyder, take note.
8. FANTASY POINTS POOL
For each matchup every week, pick the team you expect to accrue the most total fantasy points. So even if the 'Skins edge your Texans 24-21, you can still get the win as long as Arian Foster and Andre Johnson dominate.
A tip you'll thank us for: The team with the top fantasy players won't necessarily be the team with the most fantasy points -- so look for teams that'll pile up the yards.
9. RANK POOL
Pick 10 games each week against the spread and rank them, giving 10 points to the contest you have the most confidence about and one point for your shakiest pick. The one with the most total points come Jan. 1 is the big winner. Be warned: Not only is this very hard, you're likely to look stupid in the process.
A tip you'll thank us for: Start with the game you're least sure about and work up to the Patriots.
Follow ESPN The Magazine on Twitter: @ESPNmag.