While there are 11 games that have playoff implications and a chance to either win a Lombardi or keep it, there are five games that mean nothing to some of the teams involved, aside from who is picking first in the 2016 Draft in Chicago in April.

That’s a spot nobody wants.

Picking first in the draft.

It’s like buying a prom dress or a tux and there’s one dress or tux left. Five games taking place this weekend will decide who moves up or down in the draft. It’s a thankless job but someone’s gotta do it.

Here are those five games with what’s at stake. (take notes… there will be a quiz afterward)

(In case you’re wondering, the draft order is determined by record, using strength of schedule, and then conference and division records as tiebreakers (record and strength of schedule are official tiebreakers to determine draft order). 

Tennessee (3-12) at Indianapolis (7-8)

Tennessee holds a comfortable lead in the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker (.493 to .529) with Cleveland and their respective Week 17 opponents will do nothing to close that gap. As such, Tennessee is poised to claim the number 1 pick with a loss to the Colts. If Tennessee beats the Colts and gives up the top pick to Cleveland, it also holds a tiebreaker edge over other contenders for the number 2 pick.

Meanwhile, the Colts, who announced that they are parting company with Chuck Pagano, are currently in the number 17 draft position, which is good. But… three other teams (Buffalo, St. Louis and Oakland) also have a 7-8 record, so the Colts’ draft position could still swing significantly in the final week. Indy’s also fighting Houston for the AFC South title, which means that a win by the Colts and a Houston loss would take them out of the loop.

Pittsburgh (9-6) at Cleveland (3-12)

Aside from fighting the Jets for a playoff spot, the Steelers have nothing to worry about draft-wise.

For the Browns, the number 1 pick looks to be out of their hands as they enter the final week of a dismal 2015 season for Cleveland fans. In order for them to get the top spot in the draft, they would need to lose to Pittsburgh and hope
for a Titans win to take the top spot in the draft. But… they can snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat if they somehow upset the Steelers at home, which means they would no longer have the number two pick. San Diego (.511) has a current tiebreaker edge over the Browns and Dallas (.529) is currently tied with Cleveland in SOS.

San Diego (4-11) at Denver (11-4)

San Diego’s strength of schedule rating of .511 has the Chargers holding the No. 3 position entering the week. If Tennessee and Cleveland both lose, however, San Diego can’t climb any higher than that. With a game against the 11-4 Broncos upcoming, San Diego’s SOS rating figures to rise.

Washington (8-7) at Dallas (4-11)

Dallas’ dismal season has the Romo-less, Dez Bryant-less Cowboys within reach of a top-five pick and a loss to the division-leading Redskins would guarantee it. Where the Cowboys’ draft position really could swing is with a win. Three 5-10 teams behind Dallas (Miami, Jacksonville and Baltimore) all have sub-.500 SOS ratings and as such, it’s possible that a Dallas win could sink the Cowboys’ first pick as low as number 8 overall, depending on other outcomes.

St. Louis (7-8) at San Francisco (4-11)49ers

San Francisco holds the nuber 5 pick entering the week, trailing the four-win Chargers and Cowboys in the tiebreaker. With an NFL-high SOS rating of .556, the 49ers will likely draft behind any team with an identical final record, regardless of what that record is. Like Dallas, San Francisco could slip to the number 8 pick with a win if Jacksonville, Baltimore and Miami (all at 5-10) end the season with a loss.

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