On Monday, we took a close look at where the Detroit Lions’ first-round pick will likely end up landing. You can read the long version here. The short version is this: they’re almost certainly going to have the second overall pick.
They aren’t likely to catch the Jacksonville Jaguars, seeing as interim head coach Darrell Bevell isn’t likely to win either of his two remaining games (@ Patriots, vs. Colts). And the only way the Lions drop down from the No. 2 spot is if they win their final two games (@ Seahawks, vs. Packers). So start building your mocks with that No. 2 pick in mind.
However, there’s a lot more to be settled with their second first-round pick, courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams via the Matthew Stafford trade.
This past week had huge ramifications on where that pick will land. Not only did the Rams officially clinch a playoff spot—guaranteeing that pick will be no higher than 19—but they also took the divisional lead away from the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, lining themselves up for a home playoff game should the current standings hold.
Here’s a look at the current NFC Playoff picture after Week 16:
- Vikings: 7-8
- Falcons: 7-8
- Saints: 7-8
With the Rams’ postseason ticket officially punched, here’s a reminder of where the Rams pick will fall, depending on postseason performance.
If Rams lose in the first round: Pick will be between 19-24
If Rams lose in the second round: Pick will be between 25-28
If Rams lose in the third round: Pick will be between 29-30
If Rams make it to the Super Bowl: Pick will be 31 or 32
The Rams’ spot within each of those intervals depends on their final record, which is currently tied for second-best in the league. So expect them to fall towards the back end of those intervals if they have an early exit.
The Rams jumped all the way from a five seed last week to a three seed this week. If the playoffs started this week, the Rams would host a home game against the San Francisco 49ers—which just so happens to be their Week 18 matchup.
Los Angeles has an outside chance at the one-seed, which would automatically put them into the second round of the playoffs and make their pick no higher than 25. However, because they already have a head-to-head loss to the conference-leading Packers, that seems unlikely.
But let’s take a closer look at the NFC West race. Is there any chance the Cardinals bounce back and retake the division title? Here are the remaining games for each team:
Rams: @ Ravens; vs. 49ers
Cardinals: @Cowboys; vs. Seahawks
The Rams certainly have the easier of the two schedules with the Ravens in free fall. But the 49ers also beat them handily the last time the two met. The Cardinals basically have to win out to give themselves a chance, and that won’t be easy against a hot Cowboys team.
If the Cardinals do win out and the Rams lose one of their games, the two teams would finish with a 12-5 record. Arizona and Los Angeles split head-to-head games, so the next tiebreaker is record in the division. That edge goes to the Cardinals, so they would take the division title and the first-round home game.
But if the Cardinals slip up this week against the Cowboys, just a single Rams win would clinch the division for Los Angeles.