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Keeping an eye on the Browns’ 2017 draft position: Week 16 rooting guide

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Here is your Week 16 NFL rooting guide that would help Cleveland’s chances of finishing with higher draft picks.

Outlook on the Browns’ own pick

The 49ers and Jaguars lost last week. Cleveland remains the only winless team at 0-14, San Francisco is 1-13, and Jacksonville is 2-12. For the purpose of this article, we’ll only count teams with one or two wins as threats to that pick. SOS numbers come from SB Nation, where the SOS is forecasted to the end of the season.

  • The San Francisco 49ers still have one win and a lower SOS (.509) than the Browns (.557). As a reminder, the team with the lower number would get the higher draft pick if the teams finished with the same record.
  • This week, the 49ers are on the road against the Rams, while the Jaguars host the Titans. We want San Francisco and Jacksonville to win, but it doesn’t seem likely. Given the 49ers play the Seahawks next week, this is the final time Cleveland might be able to gain security to win a game of their own while preserving the No. 1 pick. Remember that San Francisco’s only win was a shutout over the Rams back in Week 1.

Outlook on Eagles & Titans

Last week, the Eagles lost, but they’ve already played this week (Thursday against the Giants) and won. The Titans’ winning ways also continued against the Chiefs. Heading into this week:

  • The Titans have an 8-6 record and the No. 17 pick. Cleveland has their second-round pick, which would be around No. 49, which is two spots worse than last week. The Titans are on the road against the Jaguars this week. We’re rooting for the Jaguars to win (for multiple reasons, as discussed earlier).
  • The Eagles have a 6-9 record. Because of the timing of this piece (teams above and below them haven’t played in Week 16 yet), we can’t pinpoint their current draft spot. However, due to SOS numbers, we do know this: the best the pick can be is No. 7 overall. It could drop as low as No. 15 in a worst-case scenario.

Week 16 Rooting Guide Summary

In a best-case scenario for Cleveland’s draft position, we want the following to happen:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Tennessee Titans
  • San Francisco 49ers defeat Los Angeles Rams

I won’t say I’m rooting for the Chargers to beat the Browns. In fact, I picked Cleveland to win this week. However, a loss by Cleveland continues to maintain their draft position, and it also can improve the Browns’ other draft pick, because it gives San Diego a chance to fall behind Philly in Week 17 if things go our way.

Bonus Rooting

To improve our pick from Philadelphia, we want the teams ahead or close behind them to win, so that they drop or stay behind the Eagles (and hence, Cleveland’s pick could become a Top 10 pick). Therefore, we also want to root for: