We've narrowed it down to seven teams and we've gotten to know them as they've traveled across the world. At this point we're growing attached to some teams and wishing other teams would just go away. Here are my theories on what is keeping these teams in the game, and what could be their ultimate downfall.
Jill and Thomas
Biggest Strength: Speed and drive. They're incredibly motivated and didn't hold on to their Express Pass for too long, so their strategy is good, too. Also, they seem to be smart enough not to get stuck at any of the challenges for too long.
Biggest Weakness: Sense of direction and Thomas's ego. Thomas kind of needs to get over himself. He's implied several times that he's dating down, and Jill has mentioned that she wants to prove that she can be smart, too. It results in Thomas blaming Jill every time they get lost, which has happened a lot lately.
Brook and Claire
Biggest Strength: Likeability and sense of humor. I have grown to like these Home Shopping Hosts way more than I ever thought I could. Their enthusiasm is infectious and has helped them out in several tasks.
Biggest Weakness: Brook makes Claire do all the hard stuff. It's strange, any time an activity is extremely physically challenging, Brook volunteers Claire for it. Then after completing the task, Brook acts amazed that Claire could do anything. I know she's trying to be encouraging, but Claire got a watermelon to the face in round 1, give the girl a break!
Michael and Kevin
Biggest Strength: Kevin.
Biggest Weakness: Michael.
Nat and Kat
Biggest Strength: Can-do attitudes. Nat and Kat have been very impressive facing their fears and chowing down on that sheep face.
Biggest Weakness: Occasional bad luck. So far it's tough to pin-point a weakness with Nat and Kat, but they have been stuck with bad cab drivers in the past. Also, that severe fear of heights could come back to haunt Nat.
Chad and Stephanie
Biggest Strength: Stephanie as the wind beneath Chad's wings. Every time Chad gets frustrated or mentally blocked, Stephanie is able to reason it out and talk some sense into him. She's the quiet voice of reason while Chad represents . . . brute strength?
Biggest Weakness: Chad's temper. He spends more time yelling at Stephanie and threatening to quit than he does solving the problem at hand. In the end, they balance each other out, but Chad is the louder of the two and threatens to ruin them.
Gary and Mallory
Biggest Strength: Friendliness. Gary and Mallory are probably my favorite team, and the other teams seem to like them as well. They've been funny and enjoyable throughout the Race so far and they are loaded up with good Karma. They've made friends with other teams, sharing information and getting help in return.
Biggest Weakness: Friendliness. Mallory made a lot of friends on her crazy path toward Duck's End but didn't get a lot of answers. Also, they're in a position for other teams to take advantage of them, as Stephanie did by throwing the shovel deep into the manure (she felt bad about it, but did it anyway), or teams could tell them the wrong information. Unfortunately, nice guys have a history of finishing last.
Nick and Vicki
Biggest Strength: Physical strength. When it comes to physical challenges like scaling a rope back up to a bridge, Nick and Vicki dominate. Nick has also learned a valuable lesson in self-improvement, vowing never to lose his temper with Vicki again and simultaneously proving that he's willing to learn from the Race.
Biggest Weakness: They are not the brightest crayons in the box. This one is pretty obvious, even from episode 1 when they couldn't find their flag or the boats, or Phil. Also, Vicki suggesting they just wait at the Fast Forward upon discovering the "Fast Forward Taken" sign wasn't a well thought-out plan. Still, they are one of the most entertaining couples and I have a hard time not liking them.
Which team do you think has what it takes to win the whole thing?
(image courtesy of CBS)