Loss to Lions keeps Cardinals in competition to earn top NFL Draft pick

Dec 10, 2018, 7:42 AM | Updated: 9:43 am
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)...
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

A loss to the Detroit Lions at home Sunday kept the Arizona Cardinals right in the conversation when it comes to earning a top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Helping matters, the Cardinals’ competition at the bottom of the NFL standings, the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, came out of Week 14 with surprising wins. The Niners held off a second-half rally by the Denver Broncos to win, 20-14, while the Raiders came from behind in the final seconds to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-21, on Sunday.

That means Arizona, San Francisco and Oakland sit at the bottom of the NFL with 3-10 records. Four teams are a game back at 4-9, and four more are 5-8 with three weeks of regular season play left.

The Cardinals and 49ers have the same record and strength of schedule, meaning their divisional record acts as the second tiebreaker. As of now, Arizona is 2-2 in the division thanks to two wins over the 49ers. San Francisco is 0-4 against NFC West opponents.

Also of note is the fourth team in the draft order standings, the Atlanta Falcons. The Cardinals visit them this coming Sunday, and the result will have significant draft implications.

Here’s a quick look at how the 2019 NFL Draft order stands with all but a Monday game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks — neither of whom are in play to mix up the top of the reverse standings — to play this week.

A few quick rules:

• The top of the draft order is decided by the inverse winning percentage of non-playoff teams.

• Tiebreakers are based on inverse strength of schedule — the aggregate winning percentage of a team’s opponents. In other words, the team that played the weakest schedule with the worst combined record will earn a higher pick.

• The second tiebreaker is divisional records against common opponents.

2019 NFL Draft order (as of Week 14)

Pick Team Record Strength of schedule
1 San Francisco 49ers 3-10 .527
2 Arizona Cardinals 3-10 .527
3 Oakland Raiders 3-10 .565
4 Atlanta Falcons 4-9 .493
5 New York Jets 4-9 .505
6 Buffalo Bills 4-9 .531
7 Jacksonville Jaguars 4-9 .546
8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-8 .500
9 New York Giants 5-8 .505
10 Detroit Lions 5-8 .507
11 Cincinnati Bengals 5-8 .529

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