The Carolina Panthers may be eliminated from the playoffs, but much of the rest of the NFL still has high stakes to play for this weekend. From playoff seeding to draft order, Week 18 is when the whole NFL season snaps into focus.
For the Panthers, that means figuring out where they will pick in the draft. They hold the ninth overall pick entering this week and could move as high as the sixth pending Sunday’s results. The Las Vegas Raiders, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Detroit Lions (via the Los Angeles Rams) hold the eighth, seventh, and sixth picks, respectively. The Raiders and Falcons have the same record as the Panthers, and the Rams are one game behind.
That means that a Panthers loss combined with a Raiders, Falcons, or Rams win would move the Panthers up in the draft. The Rams and Panthers would end with a tied overall record, which would put the Panthers lower in the draft order thanks to the Rams victory over the Panthers in Steve Wilks’ debut as interim head coach in Week 6.
Moving the other direction, the Panthers could leave the weekend with as high as the 13th overall pick. They are within one win of the New Orleans Saints, the Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Browns, and the New York Jets. A Panthers win moves them back in the draft by one slot for each one of those teams who loses this week.
Fortunately for Panthers fans, none of those teams play each other this week. All of them can win and preserve or improve Carolina’s current draft position. Isn’t that nice?
Thanks to a partnership between our friends over at Tallysight and the folks at DraftKings Sportsbook we can bring you a helpful widget* to keep track of the staff picks here at CSR for each game this season.