RCS Sidelines

December 29, 2010 9:25 AM

Teams in Need of a Little Luck (Panthers Secure Top Pick)

Lottery Luck final.jpgThe 'race' for the top pick is officially over. The Panthers laid another egg, losing to the Steelers, 27-3. Clausen, coming off his first win the previous week, was awful. He completed 10 of 23 passes for just 72 yards and threw an interception. A lot can happen between now and the draft but if Andrew Luck decides to declare himself eligible, the Panthers would almost have to take him.

The Panthers clinched the top pick, but there was a lot of movement among the rest of the draft rankings. A lot of the bottom-feeders pulled the upset in the second-to-last week of the season. Here's a look at where those awful teams stand now and where they might wind up in this year's NFL Draft (the tiebreaker for these picks is strength of schedule - that gives the NFC West teams quite the advantage). For many of these teams, a win in the final week could cost them at least five spots in the draft.

1. Carolina Panthers (2-12)
This Week's Result: Got killed by the Steelers, 27-3. They managed just 119 total yards.

Final Game: @ Falcons - The Falcons still need to win to secure the NFC South. Combine that with the fact that the Falcons are 6-1 at home and the Panthers have about as much chance of winning this game as Rob Schneider does of winning an Oscar. But it doesn't matter because the Panthers already have the top pick in the draft.

Draft Position: #1

2. Denver Broncos (4-11)

This Week's Result: TEBOW! The great Tim Tebow led the Broncos back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Texans, 24-23. His throws might not be pretty but he just get things done. That last line was probably said by 15 different sports analysts over the past few days.

Final Game: vs. Chargers - The Chargers have been eliminated from the playoffs and could come in flat in this game. The Broncos have all the faith in the world in Tebow right now and they could definitely pull this game out. The momentum could be good for the team but a win could really hurt their draft position.

Current Strength of Schedule: .507

Draft Pick Range: 2-8

3. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11)

This Week's Result: With Ochocinco and T.O. out, Carson Palmer had his best game of the season. He threw for 269 yards and 4 TDs as the Bengals knocked off the Chargers, 34-20.

Final Game: @ Ravens - The Ravens still have hope of winning their division. They need the Browns to knock off the Steelers and handle their business at home vs. the Bengals. Their defense hasn't been as fierce as it has in previous years and the Bengals' offense clicked last week. Bengals could win this game but it's more likely the Ravens win this one at home.

Current Strength of Schedule: .569

Draft Pick Range: 2-9

4. Buffalo Bills (4-11)

This Week's Result: Got absolutely crushed by the Patriots, 34-3. The Bills turned the ball over seven times and looked like a team deserving of one of the top picks in the draft.

Final Game: @ Jets - The Jets still have a chance to improve their playoff position but it would be difficult. Still, don't expect them to be sitting starters (although they might try and relieve Sanchez early). They should be able to run all day against the Bills and control this from start to finish.

Current Strength of Schedule: .578

Draft Pick Range: 2-9

5. Arizona Cardinals (5-10)

This Week's Result: The Cardinals knocked off the Cowboys on a late field goal to win 27-26.

Final Game: @ 49ers - Two 5-10 teams enter. One has to win. Whoever wins this game will most likely drop about five spots in draft order. How much is pride really worth?

Current Strength of Schedule: .467

Draft Pick Range: 2-10

6. San Francisco 49ers (5-10)

This Week's Result: The 49ers actually controlled their own destiny heading into their game vs. the Rams. If they won that game and then beat the Cardinals in the final game of the season, they would've won the NFC West. But they lost 25-17 and Singletary was fired shortly thereafter.

Final Game: vs. Cardinals - See above

Current Strength of Schedule: .502

Draft Pick Range: 2-12

7. Dallas Cowboys (5-10)

This Week's Result: The season of disappointment continued as the Cowboys fell to John Skelton and the Cardinals. The Cowboys out-gained the Cards 382 yards to 271 yards but three turnovers proved costly.

Final Game: @ Eagles - With the loss to the Vikings, the Eagles are locked into the 3 seed. They have nothing to gain and the way Vick has been beaten up much of this season they might very well rest him and some of their other starters.

Current Strength of Schedule: .511

Draft Pick Range: 3-13

8. Houston Texans (5-10)

This Week's Result: The Texans blew a 17-0 lead to the Broncos to fall to 1-8 in their last nine games. How could they possibly retain Gary Kubiak after this season?

Final Game: vs. Jaguars - The Jags have to win and hope the Colts lose to win the division and make it into the playoffs. David Garrard should have a field day playing against the worst passing defense in the league.

Current Strength of Schedule: .524

Draft Pick Range: 3-13

9. Detroit Lions (5-10)

This Week's Result: Don't look now but the Lions are one of the hottest teams in the league. With three wins in a row, only the Pats have a longer current winning streak. And those wins aren't against the worst teams in the league. They've beaten the Packers, Bucs and this past week, the Dolphins.

Final Game: vs. Vikings - The Lions will probably be favored in this game. Perhaps the momentum will help, but they went from potentially earning the top pick to possibly falling out of the top 10.

Current Strength of Schedule: .560

Draft Pick Range: 3-14

10. Cleveland Browns (5-10)

This Week's Result: The Browns fell to the Ravens, 20-10. Colt McCoy threw three picks as the Ravens took care of business.

Final Game: vs. Steelers - Steelers need a win to secure the AFC North. Mangini needs a win to possibly keep his job. 

Current Strength of Schedule: .564

Draft Pick Range: 3-14

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