NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Bills lost their seventh consecutive game on Sunday, going from first to worst in the AFC East over that time frame. Even so, the teams ahead of them in the draft order all lost games, or continue to hold tie-breakers over Buffalo, and the Bills were only able to move up slightly.
The only team that moved out of Buffalo's path were the Philadelphia Eagles, who made me happy on two fronts by beating the New York Jets. The Eagles' victory pushed them out of the Top 10 - allowing the Bills to ascend to that spot - but that's as far as Buffalo got.
Three teams have clinched higher picks than the Bills: the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, and St. Louis Rams.
Once again, here's a reminder how the NFL Draft order is determined through tiebreakers. Head-to-head match-ups do not come into play:
- Step 1 - Lowest overall record
- Step 2 - Lowest strength of schedule
- Step 3 - Lowest divisional or conference record, if applicable
- Step 4 - Coin flip
If the draft were held today, here's where Buffalo would pick. The "opponent wins" tie-breaker includes games the teams have yet to play:
1. Indianapolis Colts (1-13)
2. Minnesota Vikings (2-12)
3. St. Louis Rams (2-12)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10, 112 opponent wins)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10, 122 opponent wins)
6. Cleveland Browns (4-10, 124 opponent wins)
7. Washington Redskins (5-9, 105 opponent wins)
8. Carolina Panthers (5-9, 113 opponent wins)
9. Miami Dolphins (5-9, 116 opponent wins)
10. Buffalo Bills (5-9, 117 opponent wins)
11. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8, 112 opponent wins)
12. Kansas City Chiefs (6-8, 115 opponent wins)
13. Arizona Cardinals (7-7, 101 opponent wins)
14. Tennessee Titans (7-7, 104 opponent wins)
15. Seattle Seahawks (7-7, 110 opponent wins)
16. San Diego Chargers (7-7, 116 opponent wins, 2-3 divisional record )
17. Oakland Raiders (7-7, 116 opponent wins, 2-2 divisional record)
18. New York Giants (7-7, 118 opponent wins, 4-7 conference record)
19. Chicago Bears (7-7, 118 opponent wins, 6-4 conference record)
Thanks to losses by the Vikings and Rams, the Bills can now finish only as high as the No. 4 overall pick, though that would be extremely unlikely. The Bills seem virtually locked in to picking somewhere in the Nos. 5 to 12 range. If they don't win another game, they'll pick in the Top 10.
As for rooting, the Bills can move ahead of the Dolphins with some luck. Houston and Cleveland need to win one more game than Tennessee and Cincinnati. Houston faces Tennessee in Week 17, and could determine if Buffalo picks before or after Miami. If the two teams were to finish tied in opponent wins, the divisional record would be the first tie-breaker, followed by conference record. Miami is currently better in those two standings, which would mean Buffalo would pick before them.
To move ahead of the Panthers, the Bills could use a Jets loss to the Giants this week. Minnesota beating Washington would give the Panthers one opponent win while preventing a Bills opponent from picking one up. Detroit beating San Diego would do the same thing.