With yet another loss, the Detroit Lions are getting closer and closer to clinching the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Detroit is coming off a three-game series in which they played subpar teams, kept it close, but couldn’t manage to pull off the win in the waning seconds of each contest.
And while that continues to dig at this fanbase’s confidence in the new regime, it does have the benefits of ensuring this team will have their chance at the best player in the 2022 rookie class.
Week 12 provided a little help for Detroit when it comes to their first-round pick, and they also got a significant amount of help when it comes to their other first round pick, courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams.
Let’s take a closer look with an updated NFL Draft order.
Notes: Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker in NFL Draft order. The easier the schedule the higher the pick. Strength of schedule below is calculated by Tankathon.com and figures the entire 17-game schedule, not just the games played thus far.
- Lions: 0-10-1 (.542 strength of schedule)
- Texans: 2-9 (.497)
- Jaguars: 2-9 (.508)
- Seahawks (owned by Jets): 3-8 (.505)
- Jets: 3-8 (.508)
- Giants: 4-7 (.513)
- Bears (owned by Giants): 4-7 (.518)
- Eagles: 5-7 (.476)
- Dolphins (belongs to Eagles): 5-7 (.495)
- Panthers: 5-7 (.505)
There is one fewer two-win team now that the Jets defeated the Texans on Sunday. That leaves Houston the Jacksonville as the two biggest threats to Detroit’s No. 1 overall pick. The good news for the Lions is the Texans and Jaguars play each other in three weeks, meaning just one of those teams could lose out.
That said, the Lions do still have some very winnable games this season. That Falcons game looms large. Despite their 5-6 record, Atlanta hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record. And the Seattle Seahawks are a mess. If Detroit manages to pull off those two wins—or picks up a bigger upset along the way—they could still drop a spot in the draft order.
However, that all remains quite unlikely. According to Football Outsiders, the Lions’ chances at the first overall pick are currently at 77.7 percent. Note, that was before the Monday Night Football result. Seattle’s loss could drop that percentage a bit, but not significantly.
The Rams lost their third game in a row, and suddenly the NFC West is slipping away from them. But despite the losing streak, it doesn’t really appear that Los Angeles is in true danger of slipping out of playoff contention completely. While true their schedule is not very easy—Jaguars, Cardinals, Seahawks, Vikings, Ravens, 49ers—even if they pick up a win or two, they should be in.
Just look at the NFC Playoff picture. There isn’t a true team on the outside looking in that looks consistent enough to challenge the Rams.
Just on the outside
- Vikings: 5-6
- Falcons: 5-6
- Saints: 5-6
The Rams are two games out of missing the playoffs completely, but the Falcons have lost three of their last five. The Saints have lost four straight. The Vikings are probably the most promising team that could challenge the Rams’ spot. Their next three games are very winnable (Lions, Steelers, Bears) and then Minnesota will have a chance to face off against the Rams in Week 16. Still, it seems unlikely LA slips out of a playoff spot. Football Outsiders still has their playoff odds at 82.9%.
But they could certainly fall to a lower seed, which could make a huge difference. As of now, they’re still in the highest Wild Card spot, which would mean a first round matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, who certainly seem vulnerable.
Reminder: if the Rams miss the playoff their first-round pick will be no lower than 18th. If they get bounced in the Wild Card, the pick will be between 19-24. Divisional round loss = 25-28. Conference championship loss = 29 or 30. Super Bowl loss = 31. Super Bowl win = 32.