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December 7, 2010 9:00 AM

Teams in Need of a Little Luck (Who Will Get Top Pick in NFL Draft)

Andrew Luck Lottery final copy.jpgLast week began the look at who will land the top pick in the NFL Draft (and presumably pick Andrew Luck of Stanford). A few of these teams looked prized to do what hasn't come often for them this past week, win a game. But of the bottom of the barrel bunch, only the Cowboys managed to eek out a win and because of that, they've been eliminated from this watch list. Let's look at how things have changed.

1. Carolina Panthers (1-11)
Remaining Schedule: vs. Falcons, vs. Cardinals, @ Steelers, @ Falcons
Last Week: The Panthers started hot and took a 14-3 lead at the half against the Seahawks. Jimmy Clausen even looked good. Perhaps they wouldn't even draft Luck if they got the top pick. And then the second half happened. The Seahawks scored the final 28 points and Clausen finished with a passer rating of 54.7.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 15 vs. Cardinals - This is probably their last winnable game unless the Falcons have clinched by the final week and rest all of their starters. It seems like it could be that much more winnable if the Cardinals look to fifth-round draft pick from Fordham, John Skelton to take over the reigns.

Chance of Landing Luck: 40% Last week: 35%. They still have their most winnable game coming up against the Cardinals but they are one step closer to the top pick and there's no reason to believe the Panthers will win another game.

2. Detroit Lions (2-10)
Remaining Schedule: vs. Packers, @ Buccaneers, @ Dolphins, vs. Vikings
Last Week: The Lions couldn't avenge an earlier season loss against the Bears where they were robbed of a touchdown in the closing moments. This time, it was a bad penalty call that just might have cost them the game. Ndamukong Suh was flagged for unnecessary roughness on what would be the game-winning touchdown drive. Suh pushed Cutler from behind and was flagged. It was an awful call. But the Lions have to be happy with how Drew Stanton played. Against a stout Bears' defense he completed 16 of 24 passes and didn't turn the ball over.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 17 vs. Vikings - Is Brett Favre done? I'm not sure if that makes this game more or less winnable. Tarvaris Jackson did throw three interceptions in relief against the Bills.

Chance of Landing Luck: 25%. Last week: 20%. I know the Lions played a really close game against the Bears and could've easily won that game but, currently they are projected to have the worst strength of schedule and that would be the tiebreaker if they wind up tied for the worst record. That could easily change but that, combined with their tough schedule, bump up their odds.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-10)
Remaining Schedule: @ Steelers, vs. Browns, vs. Chargers, @ Ravens
Last Week: They were oh-so close to notching that third victory. The Bengals aren't an awful team but they make some awful mistakes. Against the Saints they not only missed an extra point, but trailing by three and the Saints driving with under a minute remaining, on fourth and 2, Pat Sims jumped into the neutral zone to give the Saints a first down. They scored on the very next play. If they make that extra point, they probably win the game. If Sims doesn't jump, they go to overtime. But that's the Bengals for you - losers of nine straight. Talk about a team that could use some Luck.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 15 vs. Browns - Can they slow down Peyton Hillis?

Chance of Landing Luck: 15% Last week: 20% - The Bengals showed they have the talent to beat anyone. There's a very good chance they could pull out 1-2 wins before the end of the season.

4. Buffalo Bills (2-10)
Remaining Schedule: vs. Browns, @ Dolphins, vs. Patriots, @ Jets
Last Week: Bills got smoked by the Vikings and Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News wrote, "This was a dreadful performance, reminiscent of the Bills' worst road stinkers of the previous decade. It was a borderline unwatchable affair..." That's the way to get back in the Luck sweepstakes! Fitzpatrick, who had been playing so well was pressured all day long and threw for just 158 yards.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 14 vs. Browns - This will be the last winnable game at home for the Bills this season (they've lost 14 straight to the Patriots). Peyton Hillis will have a huge game but if they can keep him under 150 they have a decent shot of winning this one.

Chance of Landing Luck: 17% Last week: 15%. That's how to increase the odds! A game like that will make you look like the worst team in the league. Unfortunately, they currently sit behind the three teams above them in projected strength of schedule so it's an uphill battle for the Bills.

5. Arizona Cardinals (3-9)
Remaining Schedule: vs. Broncos, @ Panthers, vs. Cowboys, @ 49ers
Last Week: They started the game up 6-0, but then the Rams went on a 19-0 run as the Cardinals were held scoreless for the last three quarters of the game. Derek Anderson looked awful, and by the end of the game the Cards had used three QBs, none of whom looked anywhere near impressive, but clear they could use Luck if they could land him.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 15 @ Panthers - You can't ask for a more winnable game than a game against the worst team in the NFL. However, if the Cardinals start rookie John Skelton the rest of the way out winning even this game will get a little harder.

Chance of Landing Luck: 3% Last week: 5%. That game against the Panthers is all-too winnable. Not to mention the 49ers in the finale. They're bad but they could pull out another win or two before it's all over.

6. Denver Broncos (3-9)
Remaining Schedule: @ Cardinals, @ Raiders, vs. Texans, vs. Chargers
Last Week: The Broncos passing offense, which had been its strength, was completely shut down by the Chiefs in a 10-6 loss. Kyle Orton only managed 117 yards on 9-of-28 passing. The embarrassing performance, combined with the Spygate 2.0 incident cost coach Josh McDaniels his job.

Game Most Likely to Win: Week 14 @ Cardinals - The Cardinals have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and that's where the Broncos excel. And on the other side of the ball, the Broncos have one of the worst rushing defenses but the Cardinals have one of the worst rushing offenses.

Chance of Landing Luck: 4% Last week: 4%. All four of their opponents might be all-but eliminated from contention by the time they play. They now have an interim coach and perhaps the Broncos will react the way the Vikings and Cowboys have and play much harder for their new coach. But maybe they turn it over to Tebow and lose out.

7. Dallas Cowboys (4-8)
Remaining Schedule: vs. Eagles, vs. Redskins, @ Cardinals, @ Eagles

By beating the Colts last week, the Cowboys are being removed from the list. The chances of them drafting Luck was slim to begin with since they have Romo but now it's that much more unlikely after they got their fourth win of the season. They've won three of their last four and the loss was a close one to the Saints. Now that the top pick is out the window, the Cowboys can try and ruin the Eagles' season and prevent them from winning the NFC East (although, that would mean giving it to the Giants).

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