Wednesday, December 12, 2012
DraftWatch: Draft order and tiebreakers
By Kevin Seifert
Those of you who enjoy the perverse sport of tracking draft order are surely gearing up for another fantastic finish.
As we've already noted, ESPN's Stats & Information projected the Detroit Lions in the No. 7 overall spot if the season had ended this week. But there are three games left to play, and as the chart shows, the Lions are less than three games separated from the No. 1 overall spot.
The chances of the Lions leapfrogging six teams in three weeks are not high, but it's worth noting they are one of five teams with 4-9 records. That at least gives them a chance at a top-five pick depending on their final record.
It should be noted, however, that at the moment the Lions might not have much of a tiebreaker edge if it comes to that.
Remember, the NFL breaks ties in draft position by using reverse order of strength of schedule. At the moment, the Lions' 16 opponents this season have a combined winning percentage of .563, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That number will change over the next three weeks, but at the moment it's tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the highest strength of schedule among the teams in this chart.
In other words, at the moment, the Lions would lose the tiebreaker to nine of these 10 teams. (ESPN Stats & Information used strength of schedule through Week 14, where the Cardinals hold a slight edge, explaining why the Lions are ahead of them in this chart). After Sunday's game at University of Phoenix Stadium, the tiebreaker between the the Lions and Cardinals will be moot -- unless the game finishes in a tie, of course. Heaven help our math if that happens.