Last year Duhamel/Radford took almost the whole season to get to the point where they were completing all their difficulty relatively cleanly. It seems that the same may be happening this year too. So, I wouldn't assume that because they lost to Berton/Hotarek at Skate Canada in October (and not by much), that means the same would happen in the team competition at the Olympics in February. Maybe, maybe not
Re: Reynolds skating the free instead of Chan, that sounds like something that would have made sense after last year's worlds when Kevin was 5th (and few if any of the guys who placed ahead of them were likely to be in the free program in the team event anyway). Now, after all of Reynolds' boot problems and missed training it would be a pretty risky move.
Any skater/pair/couple is capable of sudden brilliance just as they are all capable of bombing. No one could predict Dennis Ten's sudden brilliance at the 2013 Worlds while almost everyone else bombed.
D/R has the advantage of higher BV than pretty much everyone else, including V/T and their tendency to peak towards the end of the season as evidenced by their most recent competition's protocols here:
A total of 6 clean Triple Lutzes, including two SBS and two successful throws were performed. 18 out of the 19 required elements were performed successfully. This is getting very close to their level at the 2013 World Championships. With Pang/Tong's absence, it is unlikely they can be challenged by the Italians or the 2nd/3rd rank Chinese teams short of substandard skate. Then again, since we can't predict who will skate up to their normal standard and who won't, I am limiting any speculation to merely potential just as I wouldn't use V/T's most recent disastrous FS to predict they will bomb the Olympic SP either.