It wasn’t a great day for our Week 13 Rooting Guide. When it comes to the playoff race, the Detroit Lions only got a single game in their favor. You may think, then, that the rooting guide must have had a pretty good day when it came to the Lions’ race for a top-three pick, since oftentimes playoffs vs. draft picks are on opposite sides of the coin.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on Sunday. Of the seven preferred outcomes to maximize the Lions’ draft capital, only two came to fruition: a Seahawks win over the Rams and a Raiders win over the Chargers.
In fact, when you look at the current draft order, each team in the top 10 either lost or didn’t play.
Obviously, the Lions got the most important outcome in their favor, a Los Angeles Rams loss. And with Matthew Stafford now expected to be out for the season, it’s looking like they could shoot the moon and lose out. Lions fans are going to want to keep a close eye on Week 16’s game between the Rams and Broncos on Christmas day.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the current top 15 in the 2023 NFL Draft order as it stands through Week 13 (prior to Monday Night football):
Note: We are using Tankathon’s strength of schedule calculator, which takes into effect the entire schedule of each team, not just the games played.
- Texans: 1-10-1 (.505 strength of schedule)
- Bears: 3-10 (.575)
- Broncos (belongs to Seahawks): 3-9 (.478)
- Rams (belongs to Lions): 3-9 (.498)
- Panthers: 4-8 (.449)
- Saints (belongs to Eagles): 4-8 (.500)
- Jaguars: 4-8 (.502)
- Cardinals: 4-8 (.510)
- Colts: 4-8-1 (.507)
- Falcons: 5-8 (.444)
- Packers: 5-8 (.563)
- Raiders: 5-7 (.439)
- Browns (belongs to Texans): 5-7 (.439)
- Steelers: 5-7 (.539)
- Lions: 5-7 (.539)
The Rams’ pick actually dropped a spot despite their loss, because the strength in schedule dramatically shifted this week in favor of the Broncos. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Chicago Bears blew a nine-point fourth-quarter lead over the Packers, otherwise Detroit would’ve jumped them this week. And while Chicago seems like a team that should very well win at least one more game, their schedule is brutal (Eagles, Bills, Lions, Vikings). The good news is that if the Rams and Bears finish with the same record, the Rams would jump them due to a much easier strength of schedule.
Below the Rams are a bunch of four-win teams who could certainly threaten Los Angeles’ bottom-five finish. The Rams currently hold the tiebreaker in strength of schedule over all but one of them, however, the win percentage is close enough that a lot could change over the final five weeks of the season.
As for the Lions’ original pick, it has plummeted in recent weeks. Going into November. the Lions had a stranglehold of the first overall pick. Now they’re barely in the top half of the draft. The Rams and Lions have essentially flip-flopped places from five weeks ago.
If Detroit runs out of gas, it’s worth noting they could creep back into top-10 pick territory. There are currently six teams with just five wins, but the issue is Detroit’s tough schedule. They will likely lose most tiebreakers with the bottom-feeders of the league, so they’d have to finish with an outright bottom-10 record.
Going back to the Rams for a minute, they did play a very competitive football game against the Seahawks with a newfound run game that rushes for a season-high 171 yards and 5.2 yards per carry. If that continues, the Rams could win a game. However, the play of backup John Wolford (14-of-26 for 178 yards, 2 INTs) may keep that win away.
Here’s a look at the Rams’ final five games:
- vs. Raiders (5-7)
- at Packers (5-7)
- vs. Broncos (3-9)
- at Chargers (6-6)
- at Seahawks (7-5)
How many wins do you see in that schedule?