As we enter the final stretch of the season, Jacob Blangsted-Barnor looks at the worst teams in the NFL and who is leading the race for the first pick in next year's draft.
As we enter week 14 of the regular season, some teams have had their playoff hopes dashed for weeks. However, last week we had the first teams mathematically eliminated in the 49ers and the Raiders.
For these teams, attention now turns to where they will be drafting, so we take a look at the four teams with a shot of walking up to the podium first come April time in Nashville, Tennessee.
San Francisco 49ers
- Record: 2-10
- Strength of Schedule: .526
- Remaining Schedule: Broncos, Seahawks, Bears, Rams
With the joint worst record and tough remaining schedule, it’s no surprise to see the 49ers as favourite for the No. 1 overall pick. The team has struggled with injuries on both sides of the ball and fans will be worried they might not see another win this season.
They were easily beaten by the Seahawks in Week 13 and will not be looking forward to the rematch in Week 15. It seems their best chance at a victory comes as four-point underdogs this week against a Broncos team on a three-game win streak. The 49ers benefit from an easier strength of schedule, which allows them to take the higher pick, should they be tied in record with Oakland
- Record: 2-10
- Strength of Schedule: .568
- Remaining Schedule: Steelers, Bengals, Broncos, Chiefs
After the Raiders were blown out by Nick Mullens and the 49ers in Mullens’ debut, it seemed the Raiders were nailed on for the 1st pick, this was until they battled to a victory against the Cardinals, winning the game 23-21, which sat them tied with the 49ers record.
They will look at their schedule and see at least one winnable game, versus free-falling Cincinnati. Other than that, their best shot would be a Chiefs team possibly resting all starters in Week 17. Due to their strength of schedule, they will need to rely on the 49ers winning a game for the Raiders to grab the No. 1 pick.
New York Jets
- Record: 3-9
- Strength of Schedule: .503
- Remaining Schedule: Bills, Texans, Packers, Patriots
With a lowly .503 strength of schedule, despite being a win ahead of Oakland, should both Oakland and San Francisco win a game, it will be the Jets taking the tiebreaker for the top pick. It was hard to see the team that so handily beat Detroit in week, falling down to competing for the top pick.
Darnold has shown flashes but struggled to put together consistent performances given the talent around him, before missing multiple games due to injury. Unluckily for the fans hoping for the top pick, their schedule is possibly the easiest of the teams in contention. They face a Bills team that is improving but still struggling and a Packers team who just lost to the Cardinals.
Strength of Schedule: .521
Remaining Schedule: Lions, Falcons, Rams, Seahawks
We enter that portion of the season where fan bases are split between cheering on their team and hoping for a good pick. Arizona fans were well and truly tested last week as they beat the Packers, on one hand showing their improving play but on the other, lengthening their odds for the top pick.
Next they face, two struggling teams in the Lions and the Falcons, then finish with two tough divisional games. They rely on all of Oakland, San Francisco & New York all winning at least 1 game, but should they manage this then Arizona should end up with the strength of schedule to take the top pick.