As it currently stands, using every team's strength of schedule over the entire season (and not just the games that each team has played so far), the Eagles would be drafting 4th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Before we dive in on the Eagles chances for the #1 overall pick, let's first look at how the tie-breakers work. Tie-breakers for draft position are nothing like tie-breakers for playoff berths. In fact, the tie-breakers for draft position are extraordinarily simple:
- Record is first, obviously.
- Strength of schedule. The worse your strength of schedule, the higher you pick.
- Coin toss. Yep, a coin toss is just your second tie-breaker. Couldn't add something in there a little more scientific, NFL? They are actually fairly common, too. Last year, two separate coin tosses determined the draft order.
Here are the teams that are relevant to the Eagles' draft position:
|Order||Team||Record||Strength of schedule|
We'll include the 4-8 teams just to illustrate that the Eagles' new head coach doesn't have to worry much about dropping too low in the draft order, as long as the Eagles don't win more than one remaining game. At worst, they could potentially drop below the Browns, which would put them at 7th. Once you get to the Titans at 8, those teams' strength of schedules are likely too far apart from the Eagles.
However... If the Eagles lose out:
- They would need the Jaguars to win just one more game to leapfrog them, since their strength of schedule is far more difficult than the Eagles'
- They would need the Raiders to win just one more game. The Eagles and Raiders currently have the same record, but the Raiders' strength of schedule was far easier than the Eagles'.
- The tie-breaker between the Chiefs and Eagles is where it gets a little tricky. Currently, the Eagles and Chiefs have very close strength of schedules. If the Eagles lose out and the Chiefs win one more game, it will come down to how each teams' opponents fare the rest of the way. In this scenario, it's all the more reason to root for the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins to lose their games, as each loss by a division opponent would weaken the Eagles' strength of schedule by 2 games. There is a very real possibility that exists that the Eagles and Chiefs would have to have a coin flip to determine the #1 overall pick.
- It wouldn't hurt if the Panthers won one more game. The Eagles are currently behind the Panthers in terms of strength of schedule (and thus ahead of them in terms of draft order), but not by so much that it couldn't change by the end of the season.
So how likely is it that the Chiefs, Jaguars, Raiders, and Panthers win at least one more game? Well, let's look at their strength of schedules:
First, the Eagles. As you can see, the Eagles not only have no teams left on their schedule with losing records, but they'll also be playing teams very much fighting for their playoff lives. If you're one of those fans that can stomach rooting against your own team to get a better draft position, the one game that should worry you the most is Week 17 in NJ. There's a possibility that the Giants could have the division wrapped up and be locked into their playoff seeding by then, in which case they might opt to take it easy, although that has not been their M.O. in recent seasons in those situations. However, after losing three of their last four games, it is looking more and more like that game will indeed have meaning for the G Men.
The Chiefs' have a couple of games coming up in which they play bad opponents. They travel Cleveland to play an improving Browns team, but the one to really keep an eye out for is their game the following weekend against the Raiders. Somebody has to win that one. Also noteworthy is Week 17. They play the Broncos, but a possibility remains that the Broncos could already be locked into their playoff seed, so they could opt to rest their starters.
The Jaguars play three very beatable teams, and one of those happens to be the Jets this weekend, who are a complete and utter mess on offense.
The Raiders still have 3 teams remaining on their schedule that have 4 or fewer wins. More importantly, they play two teams (Chiefs and Panthers) that are relevant to the Eagles chances at the #1 pick.
And finally, the Panthers also have a soft remaining schedule. They play 3 teams with 5 or fewer wins.
The Eagles actually have a fairly decent chance at the #1 overall pick. Wooooo!
Of course, they're a year too late, missing out on the Andrew Luck / Robert Griffin III sweepstakes, and a year too early on being able to draft a freak of nature like South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney. Unfortunately, the Eagles can't even pick the right year to be terrible.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @Jimmy_Beast