The San Francisco 49ers lost a tough one to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12, but one upside is that they moved a step closer to the top draft pick. I doubt they end up with the No. 1 pick, but every loss helps boost their draft position.
Over Thanksgiving, the Detroit Lions win moved the 49ers up a spot, but the Dallas Cowboys loss moved the 49ers down a spot. On Sunday, the 49ers loss moved them a half game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. Monday Night Football features the Ravens and Cleveland Browns. If the Ravens win, the 49ers maintain the current fifth position. If the Browns win, the 49ers drop back down to the sixth position due to strength of schedule. The 49ers SOS will decrease a little bit because the 49ers have both the Ravens and Browns on their schedule, so barring a tie they are guaranteed a 1-1 result from the day. That .500 performance will drop the .534 SOS just a little bit.
Here's how the draft order currently stands, according to Dan Kadar:
1. Tennessee Titans: 2-9 (.514 SOS)
2. Cleveland Browns: 2-8 (.511 strength of schedule)
3. Dallas Cowboys: 3-8 (.523 SOS)
4. San Diego Chargers: 3-8 (.529 SOS)
5. San Francisco 49ers: 3-8 (.534 SOS)
6. Baltimore Ravens: 3-7 (.500 SOS)
7. Miami Dolphins: 4-7 (.474 SOS)
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-7 (.486 SOS)
9. Philadelphia Eagles: 4-7 (.511 SOS)
10. St. Louis Rams: 4-7 (.517 SOS)
11. New Orleans Saints: 4-7 (.523 SOS)
12. Detroit Lions: 4-7 (.528 SOS)
A quick look ahead to the Week 13 NFL schedule opens the door to some possibilities. The 3-7 Baltimore Ravens travel to face the 4-7 Miami Dolphins. The 2-8 Cleveland Browns host the 9-2 Cincinnati Bengals. The 2-9 Tennessee Titans host the 4-7 Jacksonville Jaguars. The 3-8 San Diego Chargers host the 8-3 Denver Broncos. The week wraps up on Monday Night Football has the 3-8 Dallas Cowboys traveling to 5-6 Washington.
There might be no upsets in there, but underdogs have had some success this season. The 49ers are touchdown underdogs to the Chicago Bears, and you have to think Vic Fangio and Adam Gase will be looking to lay a little something extra on the 49ers after the coaching search.