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2022 NFL Draft order update: Detroit Lions get no help in Week 14

The Lions remain in the top spot, but they got no help from the Texans, Jaguars or Rams this week.

NFL: DEC 12 Lions at Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Every week beyond the bye, we’ve been presenting a rooting guide to help you navigate Sunday’s game for the best possible outcomes for the Detroit Lions and their placement in the upcoming draft.

In our Week 14 version of our Rooting Guide, we highlighted seven different games that had an impact on where the Lions may pick. Unfortunately for Detroit, only two of those games went in the Lions’ favor, and both were mainly inconsequential given the other results of the week.

Most notable, the three teams closest to taking away the Lions’ current place atop the 2022 NFL Draft order—the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets—all lost this week. And when it comes to their second first-round pick in the draft, the Los Angeles Rams’ huge win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night has the potential of being the most damaging result of Week 14.

Let’s break it all down with the updated draft order and a closer look at the NFC Playoff standings.

Lions pick

Here’s a look at the current draft order:

Note: Strength of schedule is listed here, as it is the No. 1 tiebreaker. The easier the schedule, the higher the draft pick. Strength of schedule numbers are taken from tankathon.com/nfl.

  1. Lions: 1-11-1 (.536 strength of schedule)
  2. Jaguars: 2-11 (.507)
  3. Texans: 2-11 (.507)
  4. Jets: 3-10 (.502)
  5. Bears—owned by Giants: 4-9 (.518)
  6. Giants: 4-9 (.534)
  7. Seahawks—owned by Jets: 5-8 (.507)
  8. Panthers: 5-8 (.507)
  9. Falcons: 6-7 (.464)
  10. Dolphins—owned by Eagles: 6-7 (.466)
  11. Eagles: 6-7 (.482)
  12. Vikings: 6-7 (.509)
  13. Saints: 6-7 (.525)
  14. Raiders: 6-7 (.536)

The Lions continue to hold just a half-game lead at the top over the Jaguars and Texans. But here’s the good news. The Jaguars and Texans play each other this week, which means one of those teams will push to three wins on the season. If that’s the case, the only way the Lions are dropping out of the top two—Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson territory—is if the Lions go 2-2 in their final four games. Detroit’s remaining schedule is Cardinals, @ Falcons, @ Seahawks, and Packers, so that seems unlikely.

I suppose it’s worth pointing out here that a tie between the Jaguars and Texans would be the worst possible outcome. Detroit’s lead would increase to one game over both teams, but given Detroit’s much more difficult schedule, if all of those teams were to finish with 2.5 wins (two wins and a tie), then the Lions would fall to third in draft order due to tiebreakers.

Here’s a look at the remaining schedules of the Jaguars and Texans, just to see the likelihood that either of these teams pick up another win or two:

Texans schedule:

  • @ Jaguars (2-11)
  • vs. Chargers (8-5)
  • @ 49ers (7-6)
  • vs. Titans (9-4)

Jaguars schedule

  • vs. Texans (2-11)
  • @ Jets (3-10)
  • @ Patriots (9-4)
  • vs. Colts (7-6)

Rams pick

As noted above, the Rams’ big win hurts the Lions’ potential draft pick, because now the Cardinals’ lead in the NFC West is just a single game, whereas if Arizona had won, they would’ve come within a single game of clinching the division and forced the Rams to go on the road for their first playoff game. Here’s a look at the current NFC West standings:

  1. Cardinals: 10-3
  2. Rams: 9-4
  3. 49ers: 7-6
  4. Seahawks: 5-8

And here’s a look at the remaining schedules for the Cardinals and Rams:

Cardinals schedule:

  • @ Lions (1-11-1)
  • vs. Colts (7-6)
  • @ Cowboys (9-4)
  • vs. Seahawks (5-8)

Rams schedule:

  • vs. Seahawks (5-8)
  • @ Vikings (6-7)
  • @ Ravens (8-5)
  • vs. 49ers (7-6)

Those schedules are about even in difficulty, so it should be a photo finish with both of these teams, assuming one doesn’t fall apart down the stretch. For what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight still has the Cardinals with an 89 percent chance to win the division.

Now let’s look at the current overall NFC standings to see where the Rams currently stand.

  1. Packers: 10-3 (I hate it here)
  2. Buccaneers: 10-3
  3. Cardinals: 10-3
  4. Cowboys: 9-4
  5. Rams: 9-4
  6. 49ers: 7-6
  7. WFT: 6-7

  1. Vikings: 6-7
  2. Eagles: 6-7
  3. Falcons: 6-7
  4. Saints: 6-7

There’s a huge Wild Card battle rumbling in the NFC, but if you were hoping the Rams would fall out of the race, Monday’s win pretty much put an end to that. At this point, Los Angeles’ playoff odds are 97 percent, per FiveThirtyEight.

But the difference between winning the division or being a Wild Card team is striking. If the Rams stay a Wild Card team, it means traveling to either Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Arizona, or Dallas for the first round of the playoffs. That’s a tough draw considering how top-heavy the NFC is.

However, if they win the division, that would mean hosting one of these many mediocre teams fighting for a playoff spot (or facing the Cardinals in a rematch).

As a reminder, how the Rams do in the playoffs directly affects Detroit’s pick. If they get booted in the first round, Detroit’s pick will be somewhere between 19 and 24. If the Rams make it to the next round, Detroit’s pick will be no higher than 25. So we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Rams’ potential first-round partner. This week, it’s the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas.