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
Cleveland is the only winless team at 0-14. The only team that can catch them for the No. 1 overall pick of the draft are the 2-14 New York Giants.
In order for that to happen, the Browns would have to win their final two games and the Giants would have to lose their final two games. Even if that happens, though, Cleveland currently has a lower Strength-of-Schedule (0.5134) than the Giants (0.5268). The Browns are almost a lock for the No. 1 overall pick at this point.
Outlook on Texans’ pick
Things didn’t look good earlier this year when DeShaun Watson was lighting teams up, but the Texans have now lost 7 of their last 8 games, most of which came after his injury.
- With the 49ers winning all three starts by Jimmy Garrapolo, that has allowed those two teams to flip when we previously thought it was out of reach.
- Presently, the No. 2 team is the Giants (2-14), followed by the Indianapolis Colts (3-13).
- The Texans, 49ers, Bears, and Buccaneers each have a 4-10 record, but the Texans (0.5045) have the lowest SOS of the group. The 49ers’ SOS (0.5134) could catch them, but it’s unlikely that the Bears (0.5580) or Buccaneers (0.5625) will.
- Currently, the Texans’ pick is No. 4 overall.
- That pick could easily slip, though. If Houston wins, there are three teams with a 5-9 record, two of which have a lower SOS than the Texans.
- The pick could rise to No. 3, but it’s unlikely because the Colts’ SOS is currently 0.4866.
Week 16 Rooting Guide Summary
In a best-case scenario for Cleveland’s draft position, we want the following to happen:
- Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Houston Texans
- Chicago Bears defeat Cleveland Browns
- New York Giants defeat Arizona Cardinals
To improve our pick from Houston, we want the teams ahead or close behind them to win, so that they drop or stay behind the Texans (and hence, Cleveland’s pick could stay a Top 5 pick). Therefore, we also want to root for:
- Indianapolis Colts defeat Baltimore Ravens
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat Carolina Panthers
- Cincinnati Bengals defeat Detroit Lions
- New York Jets defeat Los Angeles Chargers
- San Francisco 49ers defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
The Browns also own a second round pick from the Eagles, but at this rate, that pick won’t improve as they have the best record in football (and the pick will be determined by how far they go in the postseason).