The Detroit Lions are still winless, but they’re not quite winless anymore. After their tie to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon, the Lions technically have a win percentage that is no longer zero.
Obviously, with an 0-8-1 overall record, the Lions still are the worst team in football—and are still the odds-on favorite to end up with the first overall pick for the 2022 NFL Draft—but that tie could change things down the stretch.
The presence of a tie may be a little confusing to some, so I’ll break down how it could affect the draft standings here. Before I get into the details, though, here’s a look at current 2022 NFL Draft order after 10 weeks of the season.
Note: Strength of schedule, which is the No. 1 tiebreaker in draft order, is based on Tankathon’s numbers. This number represents the entire 17-game schedule for each team, not just games played thus far.
- Detroit Lions: 0-8-1 (.541 strength of schedule)
- Houston Texans: 1-8 (.515)
- New York Jets: 2-7 (.494)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-7 (500)
- Miami Dolphins: 3-7 (.494) — Pick owned by the Eagles
- New York Giants: 3-6 (.512)
- Seattle Seahawks: 3-6 (.519) — Pick owned by the Jets
- Chicago Bears: 3-6 (.522) — Pick owned by the Giants
- Washington Football Teams: 3-6 (.541)
- Philadelphia Eagles: 4-6 (.471)
The Lions didn’t quite get the help in Week 10 that they got in Week 9. The Texans, Jets and Jaguars all lost their Week 10 games, and only the Jaguars looked even remotely competitive.
With the Lions’ tie, they don’t budge from the first overall pick, but it obviously does have an impact here. NFL rules determine a tie is worth a half-win when it comes to winning percentage. Theoretically, if the Lions finish 1-15-1 and the Texans finish 1-16, Houston would take over the first overall pick. If the Lions were to somehow finish the season with a second tie and a 0-15-2 record, that would be considered one win and tie with a 1-16 Texans team. The tiebreaker would then go to strength of schedule.
Speaking of strength of schedule, that tiebreaker is now unlikely to be a factor for Detroit. With their “half win,” tiebreakers won’t come into play unless another bottom team earns a tie or, as I just alluded to, if the Lions manage another tie down the stretch, pushing their “win” total to one.
Once again, I’ll remind you that we can’t just determine where the Los Angeles Rams’ pick will be based on current standings. Because the Rams currently hold a playoff spot, their pick in the 2022 draft will depend on their postseason performance. The earlier they exit from the postseason, the higher the draft pick.
But for now, let’s take a look at what playoff matchups would look like for the Rams after another disappointing loss on Monday night. Here is the NFC playoff picture through 10 weeks:
Though the Rams lost, it wasn’t a great week for a lot of the top NFC teams. Most importantly, the Cardinals failed to take advantage of another poor performance from Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense, so they still hold just a one-game lead at the top of the NFC West. Circle December 13 on your calendar, when the Rams travel to Arizona for a matchup with the Cardinals on Monday Night Football.
Anyways, the way the standings currently hold, the fifth-seeded Rams would have to travel to the defending champion Buccaneers for a Brady vs. Stafford showdown. That could very well result in a disappointing first-round exit for the Rams. That would put the Lions’ second first-round pick in the 19-24 range, with the exact position depending on how the Rams’ record compared to other Wild Card losers.