The Detroit Lions buried any hope for the playoffs even for the most optimistic of fans on Sunday by getting blanked by a Carolina Panthers team that hadn’t held an opponent below 21 all season. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to start talking about the NFL Draft, among several other offseason activities that will likely transform the look of this franchise for the future.
And while we probably have to wait for some dominos to fall when it comes to management and coaching, we can start looking at draft status right now.
If you were entering into Week 11 as a firm believer in Team Tank, then you came away pretty darn happy with the results. Not only did the Lions lose, but several teams that entered the week with a worse record than Detroit came out victorious. The Panthers, Washington Football Team, Texans, Broncos, Chargers, and Cowboys all came out of Sunday with a win, pulling Detroit ever so close to a top 10 pick and putting them in serious contention for a top-five pick.
Here’s a look at the updated draft order as of Monday morning
(Note: We are using Tankathon’s tiebreaker calculations, which take into account strength of schedule for all 16 games for each team, not just the games played. The easier the schedule, the higher the draft pick.)
- Jets: 0-10 (.585 strength of schedule)
- Jaguars: 1-9 (.553)
- Bengals: 2-7-1 (.534)
- Cowboys: 3-7 (.469)
- Football Teams: 3-7 (.472)
- Chargers: 3-7 (.500)
- Giants: 3-7 (.500)
- Texans*: 3-7 (.553)
- Falcons: 3-7 (.556)
- Panthers: 4-7 (.544)
- Lions: 4-6 (.503)
- Patriots: 4-6 (.503)
- Vikings: 4-6 (.509)
- 49ers: 4-6 (.522)
- Broncos: 4-6 (.571)
- Bears: 5-5 (.494)
*The Texans’ first-round pick is owned by the Dolphins
As you can see, the draft order race is incredibly tight right now. Everyone from Pick 4 to Pick 15 is within a game of each other, so there is a lot that can potentially change between now and the end of the season.
However, the Lions have a couple of things working in their favor. For one, their overall strength of schedule is pretty easy. That will come in handy when it comes to tiebreakers. Sure, the overall strength of schedule is likely to fluctuate in the final six weeks, but their current figure (.503) already includes the entire schedule, including the gauntlet at the end of Detroit’s schedule.
Which brings me to my next point: the Lions’ future schedule. Detroit still has to play the Titans, Buccaneers and Packers—three teams comfortably in a playoff spot. They also have games against the Bears and Vikings, and we all know how the Lions have played within their division thus far. According to Football Outsiders, the Lions have the fourth most difficult schedule remaining, and that included the Panthers game Detroit has already lost.
As our own Hamza Baccouche said last week, the Lions may have already tallied their final win of the 2020 season. So it feels like there’s a pretty good chance Detroit shoots up these rankings before the season is over.