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Monday, December 23, 2013
Texans aren't guaranteed top pick

By Tania Ganguli

Although the Texans have the worst record in the NFL at 2-13, Washington's loss to the Cowboys on Sunday means the Redskins (3-12) are still in contention for the top pick. Theirs would go to the St. Louis Rams because of the trade that enabled Washington to draft Robert Griffin III in 2012.

While other outlets have used a strength-of-schedule tabulation that includes future opponents, we've been using one that considers only current opponents in order to provide a hypothetical look at the league's draft order if the season ended on whatever day it was that we were writing. Part of the reason we did that was that strength of schedule (the combined records of all of a team's opponents) can change for future opponents based on how those opponents fare the rest of the season.

As only one game remains in the season, strength of schedule shouldn't change too dramatically, so I asked ESPN Stats & Information to help me decipher what would happen if the Texans win next weekend and Washington loses.

Here's what they offered:

The Texans' full-season SOS right now is .566 (133-106).

The Redskins' full-season SOS right now is .511 (119-114-2).

It's still close enough that they could flip a coin, but as things stand right now, the Texans would lose that tiebreak. A stronger strength of schedule for the Texans means that if Houston and Washington both finish 3-13, Washington will hand the first overall pick in the draft to the St. Louis Rams.