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Updated 2021 NFL Draft order: Detroit Lions just outside the top-10

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

With the Detroit Lions’ playoff odds now firmly under a single percentage point, it’s time we all face reality and look towards the future. With a 5-8 record, an injured franchise quarterback, and only three games remaining, this team is going nowhere in 2020.

So, while I’m not asking you all to #EmbraceTheTank, it’s at least time to address the elephant in the room. This team has a very good chance to finish the season with a top-10 draft pick, and could even jump into the top five with some “luck.”

After 14 weeks in the 2020 season, here’s where the draft order currently stands.

Note: Tiebreakers are decided by strength of schedule (SOS). SOS is listed for every team in parentheses. These numbers are provided by Tankathon, which takes into account the entire 17-week schedule, not just games played.

  1. Jets: 0-13 (.596)
  2. Jaguars: 1-12 (.546)
  3. Bengals: 2-10-1 (.531)
  4. Chargers: 4-9 (.488)
  5. Cowboys: 4-9 (.488)
  6. Panthers: 4-9 (.538)
  7. Falcons: 4-9 (.538)
  8. Texans*: 4-9 (.546)
  9. Eagles: 4-8-1 (.531)
  10. Giants: 5-8 (.498)
  11. Lions: 5-8 (.510)
  12. 49ers: 5-8 (.546)
  13. Broncos: 5-8 (.558)
  14. Vikings: 6-7 (.500)
  15. Bears: 6-7 (.505)
  16. Patriots: 6-7 (.510)

*Texans’ first-round pick is currently owned by the Dolphins

It is mathematically impossible for the Detroit Lions to grab a top-two pick, and extremely unlikely for them to slide into the top three. To surpass Cincinnati, the Bengals would have to win all three of their next games (Steelers, Texans, Ravens) and the Lions would have to lose out. In other words, don’t even dream about it.

That being said, a dip into the top five is certainly possible. There are currently six teams with four wins already, and here’s the good news: there are nine games to be played with two bottom-16 teams facing off against each other:

Week 15

  • Bears vs. Vikings
  • Cowboys vs. 49ers

Week 16

  • Bears vs. Jaguars
  • Bengals vs. Texans
  • Broncos vs. Chargers
  • Eagles vs. Cowboys

Week 17

  • Vikings vs. Lions
  • Jets vs. Patriots
  • Cowboys vs. Giants

With Detroit still having one of the most difficult schedules remaining, a losing-out scenario is very much on the table. And while it may be tough to jump some NFC East teams given their easy strength of schedule, there are still a lot of divisional games to be had in the East, which means someone has to win those games.