The San Francisco 49ers are still in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Niner Noise breaks down the rooting guide for Week 17 to close out the regular season.
Believe it or not, the San Francisco 49ers still have a legitimate chance to secure the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Niners close out their 2018 regular-season campaign with a Week 17 road contest against the Los Angeles Rams who, at 12-3, can no longer secure the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoff picture behind the New Orleans Saints. And L.A. could still lose out on a first-round bye, with the 11-4 Chicago Bears just one seed behind in the standings.
Meanwhile, for San Francisco, the Oakland Raiders’ Monday Night Football win over the Denver Broncos in Week 16 was, perhaps, the best thing that could have happened for head coach Kyle Shanahan and his team’s draft prospects next year. That win gave the Raiders four victories on the season, dropping Oakland to No. 4 in draft standings based off the tie-breaking strength of schedule.
If the draft were to start today, the top 10 would select as such:
- Arizona Cardinals (3-12)
- San Francisco 49ers (4-11)
- New York Jets (4-11)
- Oakland Raiders (4-11)
- Detroit Lions (5-10)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10)
- Buffalo Bills (5-10)
- New York Giants (5-10)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10)
- Atlanta Falcons (6-9)
The lowest the 49ers could pick this April is at No. 5, according to SB Nation’s Adam Stites. So, for those riding the Niners’ 2018 Tankathon efforts, a win over the Rams in Week 17 could cost three spots.
And while a win over San Francisco’s NFC West division rivals would be nice, the fact the 49ers have already pulled off two recent upsets over playoff-hopeful squads (the Denver Broncos in Week 14 and the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15) makes a likely loss to L.A. sting a little less.
So, how should Niners fans ally their rooting efforts to close out the regular season?
Those Cardinals visit the Seahawks in Week 17, and Odds Shark has Arizona as 14.5-point underdogs. Stranger things have happened. But like the Niners’ visit to L.A., the Cardinals aren’t exactly going to be playing a B-team roster resting its starters after clinching everything possible.
Still, you can hope Arizona pulls off some sort of road miracle.
Meanwhile, the Jets visit the Patriots, who could still manage to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs or miss out on a first-round bye as well. They won’t be resting starters versus New York, and the Jets are pegged as 13.5-point underdogs for that contest.
And then the Raiders close out Week 17 with a road matchup against the current No. 1 AFC seed, the Kansas City Chiefs, again not looking like much of a victory prospect for Oakland.
The good news for San Francisco, however, is a loss for any of the other four-win teams wouldn’t change the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker much at all, not from the Niners’ vantage point at least.
Still, if you’re hoping for the 49ers to get the best pick possible in the 2019 NFL Draft, root this way:
- Cardinals over Seahawks
- Rams over 49ers
- Jets over Patriots
- Raiders over Chiefs
Asking for one miracle in three isn’t too much, right?