... they are both bottom feeders
Welcome to the newest and most illustrious series at the Battle Red Blog. For the next eight weeks, we’ll document the other teams “competing” for the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s be clear, these teams are competing, to lose.
Last year, the first pick wasn’t an illustrious position. There was no true top pick or QB seeking the lust of teams. This year is different. There’s two top QBs in Bryce Young and CJ Stroud along with several top-15 candidates in Will Levis from Kentucky, or Anthony Richardson from Florida.
Being at the top of the draft will pay a price; a woefully painful next eight weeks or a burdensome bounty of draft picks. Either way, the toll will be heavy, but the rewards could be grand.
As we stand, your Houston Texans are leading the charge to the bottom. The Texans stand alone at the bottom like a bow-legged second grader at recess kick ball. There is a swath of teams that reside at 3-6 or 3-7 with only one team at 2-7, the Las Vegas Raiders. Those teams have varying views of their own inevitable doom. Some choose to embrace the suck like pledges in a
Houston sports are truly embodying Ricky Bobby; if you aren’t first, you’re last.
Current standings are as follows (in reverse order).
1. Houston Texans (1-7-1)
- Next opponent: vs. Washington Commanders (5-5)
- Odds: Washington -3.0
Welp, here we are...again. The Texans are the worst team in the league and it’s a close race with the Raiders. Houston’s schedule includes several must-lose games against the Jags, Browns, and Colts. Unfortunately, the Texans front office are being diligent in their competence and actually attempting to but a reasonable team on the field. They’ve added RB Eno Benjamin, but that’s as much to save RB Dameon Pierce for the future.
The Commanders announced Taylor Heinicke will start against the Texans fresh off his dramatic win against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
2. Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)
- Next opponent: at Denver Broncos (3-6)
- Odds: Denver -2.5
Extremely surprising, the LV Raiders team is abysmal and imploding. QB Derick Carr cried at a recent press conference. 2019 first-round pick Jonathan Abrams was released. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow both, their second and third best receiving options are both on IR. The Raiders are an extremely formidable opponent for the first overall pick. Raiders will also be in the market for a QB next season.
If the Raiders, who as a team appear to truly want to win, pull out a W against the woefully inept Broncos, then the Texans would have considerable breathing room if they want to [KITTEN] around and win a game for no good reason.
3. Carolina Panthers (3-7)
- Next opponent: at Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
- Odds: Ravens -13.5
The Matt Rhule era is over in Carolina and the experiment he started is boiling over into a Chernobyl-style meltdown. The Panthers have needs across the entire offense and their defense isn’t much better. I imagine they're too looking for a guy the throw the ball though.
4. New Orleans Saints (3-7) - Owned by Philadelphia
- Next opponent: vs. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
- Odds: New Orleans -3.0
The post-Drew Breese era hasn't been stellar in New Orleans. Again, a QB-needy team. They’ve got multiple winnable games throughout the season. The elite Eagles are soaring high knowing they can still possess a top-flight draft pick and make a run in the playoffs.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
- Next opponent: BYE, vs. Ravens (6-3)
- Odds: N/A, Baltimore -3.5
Jacksonville has won as many games as they did all of last season. They face a tough schedule including the Ravens, Titans twice, Cowboys, and Jets, all who have six wins. They do face multiple flushing teams including the Texans and Lions, but they have an inside route to another top five pick in 2023.
6. Chicago Bears (3-7)
- Next opponent: at Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
- Odds: Falcons -3.5
Chicago is the best-worst team in the league. They have a quality QB, but they need dynamic talent like a sorority needs recruits. They would be a candidate to trade back if any one in the top-10 are. Chicago has a must-lose game against 4-6 Atlanta, a team who also is also tanking harding than the Russians (that’s a double entendre right there too). This is a winnable game, but their four-way tie for the bottom of the NFC doesn’t obligate them as a win-necessary team.
7. Denver Broncos (3-6) - Owned by Seattle Seahawks
- Next opponent: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)
- Odds: Denver -2.5
The Seahawks are looking more like owls with the wisdom to trade away Russell Wilson. They own Denver’s first pick this year and it’s getting better and better with each passing loss. However, the Broncos do face several winnable games against the Raiders, Panthers, Cardinals, and Rams. Denver isn’t too-far out of the playoff race considering that schedule, but you know the Seahawks are hoping they lose every game here on out.
8. Los Angeles Rams (3-6) - Owned by Detroit Lions
- Next opponent: at New Orleans Saints (3-7)
- Odds: New Orleans -3.0
Another team who didn’t suspect to be here. The Lions easily could have two top 10 picks this year. The LA Rams have lost the last three weeks. They have a big lose-off against the New Orleans Saints in what could cost one of the two teams a top spot in the off-season draft. It’s a surprise that the Saints are projected to win this game, but the only team who appears to be happy about that would be the Detroit Lions.
9. Cleveland Browns (3-6) - Owned by Houston Texans
- Next opponent: vs. Buffalo Bills
- Odds: Buffalo -8.0
This is the one the Texans care about. The Deshaun Easton-Less Cleveland Browns need to continue to tank and improve the Texans draft position. Cleveland has a tough remaining schedule and are three games behind the division-leading Ravens. Tanking isn’t something they’re looking to do considering the Texans own their first and third-round picks, but the worse they play the better it is for us.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
- Next opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
- Odds: Cincinnati -4.0
For the most part, the Steelers have been competitive, but bad enough to lose a ton of games. They may have the easiest schedule out of the group. They play the Colts, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders, and Browns. If the Steelers did want to make a season out of this stinker, and save Mike Tomlin’s career, they certainly could. It may be too late for the Steelers to win in their competitive division, but they have the ultimate opportunity to decide which direction they want to go this week against their division opponent the Bengals.