When it comes to the Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes, the team got some help from the Sunday games of Week 12. However, on the other end of the spectrum, things are looking pretty damn promising for their 2023 NFL Draft picks. The Lions, of course, still have rights to the Los Angeles Rams’ first-round pick after the Matthew Stafford trade last year, and the Rams are in complete freefall.
On Sunday, the Rams lost decisively to the Chiefs 26-10, dropping them to 3-8 on the season. It was also the team’s fifth loss in a row. Any long-shot odds of a playoff run are thoroughly dead, and the news keeps getting worse for them. Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol, was dealing with numbness in his legs, and has a neck injury. Cooper Kupp could be done for the season with a high ankle sprain. Allen Robinson will miss the rest of the season with upcoming foot surgery.
Combined with other Week 12 outcomes (wins by the Raiders, Jaguars, Panthers, and Browns), the Rams have fallen all the way to third-worst in the league—or from the Lions’ point of view, the third-best pick in the next draft. It’s a miracle situation for Detroit, as no one could have predicted the returning Super Bowl champions would fall so quickly and thoroughly.
Here’s a look at the top-13 draft order, not including Monday Night Football results (this post will update after the game is over):
Note: Tiebreakers are decided by strength of schedule. Currently using strength of schedule tallies according to Tankathon, which measure the full 17-game strength of schedule rather than just games played thus far.
- Texans: 1-9-1 (.529 strength of schedule)
- Bears: 3-9 (.568)
- Rams (owned by Lions): 3-8 (.487)
- Broncos (owned by Seahawks): 3-8 (.492)
- Steelers: 3-7 (.534)
- Panthers: 4-8 (.435)
- Saints (owned by Eagles): 4-8 (.482)
- Cardinals: 4-8 (.511)
- Packers: 4-8 (.568)
- Raiders: 4-7 (.457)
- Browns (owned by Texans): 4-7 (.505)
- Jaguars: 4-7 (.521)
- Lions: 4-7 (.554)
The only team with more draft capital than the Lions in the first round is the Houston Texans, but that team looks like they’re in a horrible pit of despair right now, while the Lions have rattled off wins in three of their past four games and still have an outside chance at the playoffs.
This is turning out to be a pretty darn successful season for the Lions. Let’s hope the last six weeks of the season continue down this trajectory.