Handicapping the First Overall Pick for the 2013 NFL Draft: The Raiders-Chiefs Rivalry Game in Two Weeks Could Decide It

Kansas City won this weekend, beating the 3-9 Panthers. Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Carolina all lost (while the Browns jumped up to 4 wins with the victory over Oakland). With five teams now within one game of the worst record in the league, it’s time to handicap the chase for the top pick.

PREVIOUSLY: 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Thanksgiving Edition

Unlike last year, the prize at the top is not as clear. Still, with the reduced rookie salaries, picking first is better. While the right to choose may be overvalued and teams may be overconfident in their abilities to distinguish, it still has value.

Compared to the playoff scenarios, the first overall pick ones are a little simpler. The tiebreakers are not as convoluted. If teams end up tied on record, the first tiebreaker is strength of schedule. While there are still games to be played, many of the remaining games are divisional contests, so that the relative standing in strength of schedule order won’t change much.

The strength of schedule tiebreakers likely play out as follows:

Oakland would win a tiebreaker over any of the other five. They play the same schedule as Kansas City except for Jacksonville instead of Indianapolis (and the AFC East teams with the same record). Oakland likely prevails over all others.

Kansas City, Carolina, and Philadelphia project as too close to call and are undecided at this point, as my current projections have them within a couple of wins of each other.

Jacksonville would lose a tiebreaker to any of the others for having the stronger schedule. Jacksonville has played the AFC North, has two winning teams in the division, and drew Cincinnati in addition to Oakland.

Here are the remaining games for each team:

Kansas City: at Cleveland, at Oakland, vs. Indianapolis, at Denver

Jacksonville: vs. NY Jets, at Miami, New England, at Tennessee

Oakland: vs. Denver, vs. Kansas City, at Carolina, at San Diego

Philadelphia: at Tampa Bay, vs. Cincinnati, vs. Washington, at NY Giants

Carolina: Atlanta, at San Diego, Oakland, at New Orleans

Using a combination of various power rankings, including an analysis of Vegas lines, I came up with an estimate of each team’s likelihood of winning the remaining games, then finishing at each respective record. For example, I’ve got Kansas City with a 16% of not winning another game and finishing 2-14, and a 38% chance of finishing at 3-13.

Here are the chances I’m giving for each team acquiring the first overall pick, based on likelihood of getting to certain records and then the tiebreakers.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: 42%
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: 25%
  3. Oakland Raiders: 22%
  4. Philadelphia Eagles: 8%
  5. Carolina Panthers: 3%
  6. Other Team: <1%

My estimate of the record for the team earning the first overall pick:

2-14: 28% chance

3-13: 63% chance

4-12: 9% chance

The Kansas City at Oakland game in two weeks is the single most important game remaining in deciding who gets the first overall pick. The two teams are rated similarly, with Oakland having a slightly better than 50% chance of winning at home. Because the Raiders likely win any tiebreaker for draft picks, a loss to Kansas City at home leaves them only needing a Jacksonville win to become the favorite.

[photo via US Presswire]

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