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Friday, December 23, 2011
BBAO: Colts vs. Vikings for No. 1 overall

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Thanks to everyone who participated in Thursday's late-night Twitter discussion on the draft ramifications of the Indianapolis Colts' last-second upset of the Houston Texans. From an NFC North perspective, here's what I can tell you: If you're hoping the Minnesota Vikings will parlay the result into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, you need to root for another Colts victory.

Based on research from ESPN Stats & Information, the Vikings would lose the tiebreaker with the Colts if they both finish 2-14. The St. Louis Rams would likely have the No. 3 pick in that scenario if they are also 2-14.

Ties are broken in reverse order of strength of schedule (SOS), and the Indianapolis Star has an easy-to-read projection of each team's SOS through 16 games. The Rams currently have a lower SOS than the Vikings, but those figures could swap when you consider the Rams finish the season against the 10-4 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 11-3 San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings' final two games are against the 5-9 Washington Redskins and 7-7 Chicago Bears.

I know it's complicated and more than you're probably willing to think about on the morning of December 23. But in terms of the No. 1 overall pick, the Vikings' best-case scenario is for the Colts to win next weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Combined with two more losses by the Vikings, of course.) That would leave the Colts 3-13 and the Vikings sweating out the SOS tiebreaker with the potentially 2-14 Rams, which they have a good chance of winning based on Week 16 and 17 matchups.

Continuing around the NFC North: