The upside of the Detroit Lions' non-winning streak is that they are coming closer and closer by the day in securing the 2022 NFL Draft’s first overall pick. At this point, the Lions aren’t just the only winless team in the NFL, but every other NFL franchise has at least two wins.
At this point, the Lions are heavy favorites to land the first overall pick. Prediction models have them finishing the season in the basement of the league somewhere between 62.4 percent and 69 percent, depending on the source.
Let’s take a closer look at where the draft order stands after 11 weeks of the 2021 NFL season.
Note: Strength of schedule listed here, 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: 0-9-1 (.540 strength of schedule)
- New York Jets: 2-8 (.500)
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-8 (.508)
- Houston Texans: 2-8 (.514)
- New York Giants: 3-7 (.514)
- Seattle Seahawks: 3-7 (.520) — Pick owned by the Jets
- Chicago Bears: 3-7 (.520) — Pick owned by the Giants
- Miami Dolphins: 4-7 (.480) — Pick owned by the Eagles
- Atlanta Falcons: 4-6 (.454)
- Washington Football Team: 4-6 (.541)
In order to lose their grasp of the first overall pick, the Lions would have to win two more games down the stretch. Here is the rest of their schedule:
Lions remaining schedule:
- vs Bears
- vs. Vikings
- at Broncos
- vs. Cardinals
- at Falcons
- at Seahawks
- vs. Packers
Three of those games are against teams currently in the bottom 10 of the league, so I’m not willing to rule out the possibility of Detroit potentially picking up a couple wins.
Of course, for that to matter, at least one of the three 2-8 teams below them would have to lose out, too. Let’s take a look at their schedules to see how realistic that is.
Jets remaining schedule: @ Texans, vs. Eagles, vs. Saints, @ Dolphins, vs. Jaguars, vs. Buccaneers, @Bills
- Winnable games: Texans, Dolphins, Jaguars
Jaguars remaining schedule: vs. Falcons, @ Rams, @ Titans, vs. Texans, @ Jets, @ Patriots, vs. Colts
- Winnable games: Falcons, Texans, Jets
- Winnable games: Jets, Seahawks, Jaguars
As you can see, all three teams have winnable games on the schedule. In fact, all three teams still play each other, so there will be wins. While it’s certainly possible one of these teams goes winless the rest of the way, it seems far more likely each team has at least one more victory in them. If that’s the case, Detroit is very close to already wrapping this thing up.
The Rams didn’t play this week, sparing us of Matthew Stafford hot takes for a week. It was a mixed bag of scoreboard watching for Los Angeles in Week 11. On one hand, top NFC teams like the Packers and Cowboys lost. On the other hand, the Arizona Cardinals managed to tally another win without their starting quarterback, further extending their lead over the Rams at the top of the NFC West. Here’s a look at the current NFC playoff standings.
The Rams are a game and a half out of the division lead with a huge matchup against the Cardinals looming on December 13 in Los Angeles on “Monday Night Football.” Because they’re not leading the division, they’re relegated to the top Wild Card spot. Given how top-heavy the conference is, there doesn’t seem to be a real risk of dropping out of a playoff position for Los Angeles, but if they can’t win the division, it would mean going on the road in the first week of the playoffs.
The way the playoff picture currently stands, the Rams would head to Dallas in the Wild Card round, setting up Stafford for some more home-cookin’. If the Rams were to lose that game, the Lions’ draft pick would be somewhere between 19th and 24th.