49ers vs. Lions: Previewing Week 16 for San Francisco

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Dec 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Implications for 2016 NFL Draft

Week 16 will have an impact on each team’s standings in the upcoming 2016 NFL draft.

The 4-10 49ers are currently slated to pick ahead of the 5-9 Lions — advanced analytics determined this — if the season were to end today.

But it doesn’t, and both teams could be looking at 5-10 records if San Francisco is able to pick up its second road win of the year.

Last November, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport hinted at Detroit not being fully committed to quarterback Matthew Stafford beyond 2015, which opened up the door for speculation towards a possible trade and/or a Lions selection of a quarterback in the 2016 draft.

Combine that with the near-certain probability the 49ers will take a signal-caller early in the draft as well, and this game suddenly has more implications than just late-season bragging rights between two bad teams.

But, as mentioned on the previous slide, Stafford has been playing well as of late. And the Lions’ shortcomings on the defensive side of the ball could dictate Detroit aiming at another target other than quarterback.

So a better draft pick may not necessarily be all that is on the minds of the losing side after all.

Or maybe it is, if the 49ers elect to go defense in Round 1.

Next: Offensive & Defensive X-Factors for San Francisco