For the first time in weeks, the owner of the top pick in the NFL Draft has changed. In one of the biggest upsets in league history, the New York Jets’ winless campaign ended against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Immediately, fans recognized the long-term implications of their 23-20 win.
As the Jets have been winless up to this point, the Jacksonville Jaguars have lost every game since winning their opener. Yet with the Jets win, the Jaguars now are in the driver’s seat to secure the first overall pick. Both are tied for the league’s worst record, except, Jacksonville has an advantage.
The Strength of Schedule Tiebreaker
With both teams tied at 1-13, the league tiebreaker scenarios come into play. After record, strength of schedule is taken into consideration next. The team with the weakest strength of schedule, being they have lost to lesser teams, gets the advantage. As things stand entering Week 16, the Jaguars’ strength of schedule is .556, while the Jets’ strength of schedule is .598.
Of course, there are two weeks left in the season, and a lot can change. Except neither team has a favorable matchup to win. Gang Green plays the 10-4 Cleveland Browns before closing out against the New England Patriots, who are 6-8. As for the Jaguars, they are set to play the 7-7 Chicago Bears before the 10-4 Indianapolis Colts. Given the Jaguars own the strength of schedule tiebreaker and unlikely to win another game, Jets fans panicked on social media over the win.
What’s with the Panic?
With the win, the Jaguars are now in a position to land Clemson superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The top prospect in the draft, Lawrence is considered the best quarterback since Andrew Luck. Jets’ Sam Darnold has struggled to develop with the supporting cast around him and no longer fits the team’s timetable. Meanwhile, the Jaguars have had three different starting quarterbacks this season. Gardner Minshew, the team’s current starter, is a former sixth-round pick who has overperformed to this point, though is not the future franchise quarterback.
Both teams have awaited a Lawrence-type quarterback forever, and clearly, Jets’ fans are aware of what happens now that they sit behind the Jaguars’ for first overall. Following Lawrence, there are a handful of other very talented quarterback prospects. Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and BYU’s Zach Wilson could be options at second overall but are nowhere near the same level as Lawrence. Even running with Darnold for another season maybe the team’s best option if picking at second overall.
Nothing is set in Stone… Yet
Again, with two weeks remaining in the season, a lot can change. As the Jets just proved, these are professional competitors who try to win every game they play. And even if the odds are against them, they can get it done. Nevertheless, with the tiebreaker in Jacksonville’s hands, chances are they will be selecting first overall this April.