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Ravens Currently 8th in 2016 Draft Order; situation remains fluid

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The Ravens stand in the eighth spot for the draft, but on closer inspection, there is a strong reason for them to win in order to preserve a top-10 standing.

Who will be Commissioner Goddell's selfie buddyfrom Baltimore at the 2016 NFL Draft?
Who will be Commissioner Goddell's selfie buddyfrom Baltimore at the 2016 NFL Draft?
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If the season were over today, the Ravens would be sitting on the 8th pick in the NFL draft.

It's comic to see people arguing over whether the 8th pick can be a good one.  Let's not go there (are there only 5 good players in the draft every year?  OK then-- Tom Brady, go home). Instead, let's look at how this could possibly change.

The Ravens Strength of Schedule (SOS) is .498.  This is sort of an inverse tiebreaker; the weaker SOS gets a higher place in the order.  At this point, even if we lost on Sunday, we cannot get any lower than the 3rd spot.  In order for that to happen, there would have to be some very unlikely upsets by Dallas, San Francisco, AND San Diego.  Two of those three are playing against hungry playoff-bound opponents.  Their win combined with a Ravens loss would create a tiebreaker of Win/Loss records, in which case the SOS is compared.

The next thing to look at is the immediate vicinity--the Buccaneers, Dolphins and Jaguars.  Again, Miami and Jacksonville both play playoff-bound, hungry opponents looking to win.  As we know, the Ravens will most certainly be competitive on Sunday and looking to hurt the hated Bengals' playoff standing.  It is safe to say that the Ravens have more of a chance of pulling this off, especially with the Bengals' quarterback situation, than the other two mired in this tie.  What this means is that the Ravens are unlikely to jump ahead of these two even with a loss.  Yet, the Dolphins' opponent, the Patriots, along with other happenstances, could ratchet Miami's SOS higher than the Ravens if the Ravens lose.  So a slight jump up is possible.  The Buccaneers are playing the 14-1 Panthers on the road, and either will win due to players resting for Carolina, which would "hurt" their seeding, or would lose but still see a likely rise in their SOS because of Carolina's excellent record.

In a unique scenario, of the five 6-9 teams beneath the Ravens in the pecking order, four are playing each other. This means we will see two 6-10 teams out of that number, and if the Ravens win to elevate to 6-10, it is very possible that they will lose spots to these teams with a greater SOS total in short because Cincinnati is better than those four (Giants and Eagles; Lions and Bears).  New Orleans is at Atlanta, who is on a small roll, so that could also produce another 6-10 team.  So, yes, there is a true possibility of Baltimore, with a win, heading downward in the order due to SOS, at least another two spots, possibly three.  But no more than three--the two teams will now be 7-9-- which is good news for Ravens fans.

The bottom line is, much is still fluid, and the possibility stands for the Ravens to stay within the top 10 picks of the draft.

Could this be an illustration why it is important not to tank?  Losing helps one's opponents record, which BUILDS the SOS.  So the NFL appears to have built this right: the weaker team with a losing record to weak teams, gets a higher pick.  Conversely, winning against winning teams aids the draft position as well.

Feel free to take that to the water cooler and stymie the "draft flop" crowd.