2014 NFL Draft: First Pick Strength Of Schedule Tiebreaker

Brought to you by the writer of previous posts on the playoff tiebreakers in 2009 (the 9-7 almost year) and the Kubiak Konundrum, which looked at Gary Kubiak’s on field coaching decisions during the 2011 season (you softened with winning, loyal readers--not my fault)...

So, now that the Texans' playoff chances are officially nil (cough, cough), it’s time to look towards the draft. That was weeks ago, you say? Fair enough, but the picture is clearing. The Houston Texans obviously had a gigantic loss/victory on Thursday, firmly entrenching them as the favorite for Teddy Bridgewater, or really entrenching them to shock and awe us all with a pick out of nowhere. But, with the Titans and Colts still on our schedule, a win or two is not unfeasible and several teams lurk close behind.

Most fans following the proceedings know the tiebreaker is bizarro strength of schedule (a/k/a the team who faced the worst schedule gets the number one pick). However, I’ve seen conflicting reports on who has the worst SoS. Mainly, the confusion comes from the fluid nature of the schedule, which has much left to be decided.

Most sources posting the first pick "standings" are stating what would happen if the season ended today. The season doesn’t end today. And while a myriad of upsets will dump the proverbial apple cart, I still find it shortsighted that they are not taking into account who said teams still have to play, which is a known quantity. The Texans still have the Colts and Broncos on the schedule, which changes things significantly.

So, I have compiled the SoS totals for the teams with 3 wins or less for the entire schedule, save the Vikings, whose tie makes them extremely unlikely to need a tiebreaker. So we're down to the Texans, Falcons, and Redskins.

My methodology--add up the wins for all their opponents this season, even those that they haven’t played yet. No projections--just wins as of now. These figures will be fluid as upsets happen, but I feel it’s still a better indicator of the end of the season tiebreaker than not factoring in tough (or weak) teams ahead.

Let me know if you see fault with my methodology or numbers. If people enjoy it, I will update it as games are played.

Without further BS (remember, low win totals are good):

Redskins 109/Falcons 113.5/Texans 114.

Here’s the full breakdown:

(note: I had the Bucs on the spreadsheet before their victory Sunday. Their SoS total is now 121)

Tere you have it. The Redskins have the pole position, with the Falcons and Texans neck and neck. Man, that Falcons loss yesterday was a heartbreaker.

The Redskins still have the Falcons, Cowboys, Giants on the schedule. The Falcons have the Redskins, 49ers,and Panthers. My guess is we should root for the Falcons to beat the Redskins, and then hope the Redskins can win one of the always up for grabs NFC East divisional matchups. The closeness of the Falcons and Texans' SoS might mean we should hope the Redskins win and pray for the best with the Falcons SoS. Who knows?

Neither the Rams (who own the Redskins' pick) nor Falcons need a QB. Okay, the Rams might be arguable, but all reports are that they would not take a QB. Would a team inevitably trade up to leapfrog the Texan? Me thinks probably, though the Texans could also trade up to number one from two or three if they loved Bridgewater (or someone else).

I for one won’t root for a loss. We got the glory of J.J. Watt by winning a few late season games; otherwise, we would have ended up with a mere more. It's still fun to look at.