Week 17 by the numbers
The 4-11 49ers enter the week in a competition with four teams — the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions — for the top five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
A loss to the Rams would put the Niners in position to draft second, but a victory by the Cardinals would catapult the 49ers into the top spot. The wildcard for the Niners is the New York Jets, who also have a 4-11 record, but are a half-game behind San Francisco in the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. If the Jets also lose on Sunday, they would bypass the 49ers if three of the following four teams lose: the Dallas Cowboys, the Atlanta Falcons, the Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns.
If the 49ers defeat the Rams, they’ll be out of the hunt for the top pick in 2019, but they wouldn’t fall farther than pick No. 5. San Francisco holds the tiebreaker over the Raiders, and the same tiebreaker rules would apply if both the Niners and Jets pull off Week 17 upsets. However, San Francisco would lose a potential strength-of-schedule tiebreaker to the Lions, unless the Cowboys, the Falcons and the Carolina Panthers all win on Sunday, which would leave the two teams with matching strength-of-schedule numbers.
The 12-3 Rams locked up the NFC West weeks ago, and appeared to be destined for a first-round bye prior to the team’s late-season slip. With the No. 1 seed already clinched by the New Orleans Saints, just two potential outcomes remain for the Rams.
Clinching the No. 2 seed would give the team a first-round bye followed by a game in Los Angeles, while falling to the No. 3 seed would force the Rams to prepare for a home game next week against either the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings or the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Rams would clinch the No. 2 seed with a win in Week 17 or a loss by the Chicago Bears, who also kick off on Sunday at 4:25 E.T.