There is no bigger match-up than this one that will determine where the Seahawks draft in 2011.
I thought about delaying this post until next week. I mean hell, the work of determining and guessing the different draft scenarios will be rendered moot once the standings are final come Sunday evening. But hey, it’s a good opportunity to test my abilities of prediction. And to give those watching this Sunday’s epic matchup against the Rams an additional layer of context.
A quick note before we move on: some of the language in the post may suggest that I’m for the Seahawks losing out and getting a better pick. As I stated in my previous post, I’m not. The language is strictly related to draft position. So when I say “best case scenario” – I mean the best possible draft position the Seahawks could get. That’s all. Onward.
In probably the oddest NFL occurrence in decades, the 6-9 Seahawks are fighting for a playoff berth. So instead of three possible draft scenarios (best case, worst case, most likely case), there are four scenarios (best, worst, playoffs, most likely). I’ve got a pretty complicated draft spreadsheet, but I’ll save you a set of glazed-over eyes. The four scenarios are as follows:
1. Best case scenario: 6th overall.
For this scenario to occur, the Seahawks lose to the Rams, miss the playoffs, and every team that’s currently 5-10 or 6-9 will win. A 6-9 team that wins will end the season at 7-9, and automatically draft below the 6-10 Seahawks. A 5-10 team winning would put them in a tie with the 6-10 Seahawks. But since the Seahawks had the third easiest “Strength of Schedule” this season, they’ll win in a tiebreaker with nearly every team in the NFL. The only current 5-10 team the Seahawks will not beat in a 6-10 tie is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will draft above the Seahawks in every scenario.
This scenario is possible, but highly unlikely to happen. CLE would have to beat PIT, MIN would have to beat both PHI (in week 16, Tuesday night) and DET, HOU would have to beat JAX, DAL would have to beat PHI, etc. Yeah, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Regardless, the best draft position the Seahawks will achieve if they miss the playoffs is 6th overall.
2. Worst case scenario: 11th overall.
This scenario is similar to the above, with the exception that each team the Seahawks are competing with for draft position will instead lose. Pretty simple. The worst draft position the Seahawks will achieve if they miss the playoffs is 11th overall.
3. Seahawks make the playoffs: 22st overall or worse.
The Seahawks beat the Rams, establish a playoff berth, and by NFL rules are automatically slotted below every NFL team that does not achieve a playoff berth. The best possible outcome, in terms of draft position, would be a loss in the first round, which would award the Seahawks with the 22nd overall pick. If the Seahawks win, the pick would only fall. Hurray, playoffs!
4. Most likely scenario: 9th overall.
This is the one you’ve been waiting for. To put it simply, I don’t think the Seahawks are beating the Rams in week 17. I haven’t written a post about the Buccaneers beat down. It was painful to watch, and I’m sure even more painful to analyze and write up. The Seahawks are regressing pretty heavily on both sides of the ball (for various reason), and a turnaround big enough to beat the Rams would be nothing short of miraculous. If Matt Hasselbeck was guaranteed healthy, I’d say it’s a 50/50 shot. But Carroll said after the game that he would not practice all week, and is questionnable for Sunday. I doubt he’ll play. And Charlie won’t put up enough points to account for the points the Seahawks defense will likely give up.
So, with that said, I looked at each of the other teams’ week 17 match-up and made a best guess at who’d win, and what the final standings would be. There are four key week 17 match-ups that will determine where the Seahawks will draft:
- Dallas loses to Philadelphia and drafts above the Seahawks (so pray for a Dallas win)
- Cleveland loses to Pittsburgh and drafts above the Seahawks (so pray for a Cleveland win)
- San Fransisco wins with Arizona and drafts below the Seahawks (I know it’ll be tough, but pray for SF in this scenario)
- Houston wins with Jacksonville and drafts below the Seahawks (so pray for a Houston win)
There is a fifth matchup (Lions and Vikings), but it’s likely meaningless. Minnesota will likely lose to Philadelphia on Tuesday, putting them at 5-10. In week 17, the outcome of Detroit at Minnesota will only determine which of the two teams pick above the Seahawks (because the loser will end season at 5-11). The only scenario that benefits the Seahawks would be Minnesota beating Philly on Tuesday, and then losing to the Lions in week 17. That’d put both teams at 6-10, but drafting below the Seahawks due to strength of schedule. I wouldn’t hold your breath for this one.
In regards to draft position, there is no bigger match-up than the Rams at Seahawks. A win over the Rams would be devastating to the Seahawks’ draft position, but as I stated before, a playoff berth is likely more valuable than a loss and a high draft pick, from the position of the franchise. Part two of this post will be a shot in the dark at players the Seahawks may target at 6th overall, 9th overall, 12th overall and 22nd overall. Stay tuned!
Until then, what do you think?