Right now, the Carolina Panthers have the worst record in the NFL at 1-11 and could potentially lose out with 2 games against Atlanta, one game on the road against Pittsburgh and one game at home against Arizona left on the schedule. The game against Arizona is the only "winnable" game on that list, in my opinion. The 2nd Atlanta one might be if they rest their starters but I’m not too sure of that with how this team’s been playing lately. Anyway, the point I’m getting at is it’s looking like we could finish 1-15 with the #1 pick in next year’s draft. However, there’s still a couple teams that are only a mere win ahead of us. Let’s say we do win one or two of those games, who would challenge us for the #1 pick? Just for fun, let’s look at them!
Remaining Games: vs. Cleveland, at Miami, vs. New England, at New York Jets
The Bills are an interesting case. They are 2-10 but have managed to play competitive games against the Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, Bears and Chiefs. However, their only wins are against the Lions and Bengals who have a combined 4 wins so that does say something about them. The Bills aren’t an awful team but they aren’t good either. Chan Gaiely has them motivated but it’s hard to win with Ryan Fitzpatrick as your QB and a depleted linebacking corps like they have. Fitzpatrick is kind of like the Bills, not terrible but not good enough to win games. That said, the Bills will have their chance in pretty much all four remaining games unless the Jets need to win to get into the playoffs on Week 17. I actually think they have the best chance of beating Miami out of all of them. Why? Because Miami’s been awful at home this year for some reason and their offense is beyond awful. That and the Bills always seem to come to play against the Dolphins. Cleveland’s winnable too but the Browns have played good football this year for the most part.
Remaining Games: at Pittsburgh, vs. Cleveland, vs. San Diego, at Baltimore
The Bengals are one of the league’s biggest disappointments after winning the AFC North last season and creating so much noise during the summer signing Terrell Owens. T.O. hasn’t been the problem for Cinci, bad defense, injuries and horrible play in the clutch by QB Carson Palmer are what put the Bengals in this position. The Bengals could also be in the hunt for drafting a QB (possibly Andrew Luck) since their situation with Carson Palmer isn’t the best right now. He’s definitely looking a lot older than he used to and he can barely move in the pocket. Not to mention they would owe him a lot of money if he were to stay on the roster the next few years. It’s a possibility that he could end up being a casualty of the uncapped year where the Bengals could cut him without taking any cap penalty. However, there’s one problem, there’s no one behind him who can take over unless they draft a QB. That’s where this situation comes into place.
How good of a chance do the Bengals have of losing out? Well, the game against Cleveland seems like the most winnable even though the Browns are playing a lot better than Cinci right now. They have beaten the Ravens once at home but I don’t think it will happen again. I never know which Chargers team will show up but I don’t think the Bengals can beat them either. Personally, I think they will all end how most Bengals games have gone this year. Bengals will fall behind early thanks to a lot of critical mistakes, stage a comeback and fail on the last drive with Palmer getting sacked or throwing a pick. Thus, I can actually see them losing out.
Remaining Games: vs. Green Bay, at Tampa Bay, at Miami, vs. Minnesota
I think Detroit’s had the worst luck out of any of the teams in this group. They have a lot of promising young talent on the team and I thought they would get at least 4 wins this year and they’re at a point where they may not improve on last season due to injuries and a lot of bad luck. Whether it’s blowing leads, bad calls, penalties or on the last play, the Lions have just found new ways to lose games and it’s got to be disheartening for their fans.
Things don’t look too good right now since their secondary has constantly blown leads and given up big plays while their QB is led by Drew Stanton right now. Granted, Stanton didn’t play bad against the Bears, it still has to be frustrating to have a potential franchise QB like Matthew Stafford always injured. The question here is can the Lions win at least one of their remaining games? Maybe….I’m a believer that any team at home has a shot against a division rival despite their record so it’s possible they might upset the Vikings but I wouldn’t put money on them. Tampa has a banged up secondary and I mentioned that Miami’s struggling a lot too but the last time Detroit won a road game was in 2007. It’s a real bummer that the Lions might finish with another 2-14 record since I know this team is an improvement over the last couple of seasons but hey, now they can use this high draft pick to rebuild the secondary! God knows it needs help.
Remaining Games: vs. Denver, at Carolina, vs. Dallas, at San Francisco
This is the one team I could see the Panthers beating…seeing how Arizona’s been beyond terrible the past few weeks. Like, almost worse than the Panthers. Their QB situation is getting similar to what ours was a few weeks ago. Both QB’s Derek Anderson has a concussion and Max Hall which leaves rookie John Skelton the only healthy QB on the roster….until they signed Richard Bartel. Who the hell is he? Well, he’s been on the practice squad of the Browns, Cowboys, Jaguars and Redskins but never made the roster of any of those teams. His most recent gig was being Duante Culpepper’s back-up for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the United Football League. Now Arizona is considering starting him against Denver.
I feel that everything about this guy sounds like something you’d hear in a football drama move. "Unknown QB from Tarleton State finally gets his chance in the pros." I’m sure Cardinals fans are feeling pain that’s similar to ours given their QB situation and state of their team right now, especially after coming off two playoff appearances. Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston’s productivity has gone down a lot without Anquan Boldin or an adequate QB to get them the ball. It also doesn’t help that Ken Wisenhunt’s "rushing offense" which he wanted to implement this year not working out at all.
So, are the Panthers worse than them? Good question. Th e possibility of the Panthers getting the #1 pick may fall on their game in two weeks, strangely enough. I’ll just say this. If Skelton or Bartel can be decent then they may win a couple more games, if not, then I could see them losing out.
Remaining Games: at Arizona, at Oakland, vs. Houston, vs. San Diego
With the Cowboys and Vikings having modest success with their interim coaches, it makes me wonder if the Broncos will have similar results. I don’t think Denver is nearly as talented as either of those teams, so I’m going to say no. Then again, looking at the schedule, there are a couple games I could see them winning. I already mentioned how bad Arizona is and Houston’s poor secondary is a perfect matchup for this offense that loves to pass. Oakland and San Diego can go either way with how the West has been.
One things for sure, it’s a good thing that Josh McDaniels isn’t around because who knows what he would have done the high pick the Broncos will likely have. However, they still aren’t bad enough to have a shot at the #1 pick.
Well that was fun. Any disagreements? Any possibility that one of these teams could trade up for the #1 pick if we end up getting it? The Bills, Cardinals and possibly the Bengals could all be in need of a QB next season and if they really want Andrew Luck, should we take their offer?