The close of Week 12 has the San Francisco 49ers currently settled in at the No. 5 spot in the 2016 NFL Draft order. They are tied with the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers at 3-8, a game back of the 2-9 Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns. The strength of schedule tiebreakers have left the 49ers at the back of the pack, at .534, compared to the Chargers (.528) and the Cowboys (.523). The Tennessee Titans get the edge for the top pick (.511) over the Cleveland Browns (.517).
We have five weeks left in the season, which means draft positioning is going to change a decent amount. All five teams will lose more games, but I would be surprised if in five weeks the top five looked exactly like it does today. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at the schedules of the teams ahead of the 49ers. I might do a one-off looking at the 4-7 teams, but for these four teams in front of the 49ers, I thought I'd break it up into four articles over the next four days. Today, we start with the team holding the No. 1 overall pick, the Tennessee Titans.
Titans remaining schedule
Week 13: vs. Jaguars
Week 14: @ Jets
Week 15: @ Patriots
Week 16: vs. Texans
Week 17: @ Colts
Week 12 Injury news
LOLB Derrick Morgan - Shoulder injury cost him Thursday/Friday practices, was listed as questionable, was inactive
NT Sammie Hill - Knee injury led to DNP Wednesday, LP Thursday, FP Friday, probable and played in
KR/PR Dexter McCluster - Knee injury cost him all three practices, was ruled out for the game
WR Kendall Wright - Returned from knee injury, making first game appearance since Week 8
What to make of them
The Titans are a very bad team, but they could have a bright future. Marcus Mariota is showing signs of growth. He's making his fair share of rookie mistakes, but the Titans have to be pleased with the possibilities moving forward. The defensive side of the ball has been more impressive than I think some expected. They rank tied for 15th in points allowed and tied for 13th in opponents yards per play. Football Outsiders ranks them No. 11 on total defense, including eighth against the pass and 23rd against the run.
They are a 2.5-point home favorite against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, and lost to them 19-13 two weeks ago in Jacksonville. This is a very winnable game, and I think they do in fact get the victory. After that, I doubt they win any of their remaining four games. I do think an upset mixed in there is possible, with Houston or Indianapolis as my two primary culprits, but I am not holding my breath. I see 3-13 in this team's future. Odds are very good they are picking ahead of the 49ers next April.