Welcome to Week 15! The San Francisco 49ers host the Cincinnati Bengals later this afternoon, with kickoff set for 1:25 p.m. PT. The 49ers are 4-9, coming off an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns. The upside to that bad loss was that it bumped up their draft position. They face a Bengals team that is two games up in the AFC North with three games remaining. However, they will be playing without quarterback Andy Dalton, tight end Tyler Eifert, and safety George Iloka.
The 49ers currently hold the No. 7 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. They dropped one spot following the Dallas Cowboys loss to the New York Jets on Saturday. If the 49ers lose, they likely will move back ahead of the Cowboys due to strength of schedule. However, much of that will depend on the various other results on Sunday and Monday. Here is how the draft order currently looks, with the strength of schedule for each team listed last. Thanks to Scott Carasik for putting this together.
1. Tennessee Titans (3-10) - .495
2. San Diego Chargers (3-10) - .524
3. Cleveland Browns (3-10) - .533
4. Dallas Cowboys (4-10) - .543
5. Baltimore Ravens (4-9) - .517
6. Detroit Lions (4-9) - .531
7. San Francisco 49ers (4-9) - .538
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8) - .467
9. Miami Dolphins (5-8) - .479
10. New Orleans Saints (5-8) - .507
11. Chicago Bears (5-8) - .524
The 49ers don't get going until later this afternoon, and there are some intriguing matchups in the meantime. The best chance for the 49ers to get some help would be the Ravens at home against the Chiefs. Matt Schaub should be back at quarterback, which is an upgrade from Jimmy Clausen. Schaub is good for a turnover or two, but he gives Baltimore a better chance at the upset.
The 3-10 Titans and Browns are each two touchdown underdogs on the road, with Tennessee up at New England, and Cleveland out in Seattle. The 3-10 Chargers are at home against the Dolphins, and San Diego is actually a small favorite. I think Miami wins this one, but there is a chance to drop another 3-10 team into the four-loss category. The week wraps up on Monday with the 5-8 Saints hosting the 4-9 Lions. If the Lions win, the 49ers could move ahead of Detroit, and if the Saints win, the 49ers solidify their position ahead of New Orleans.
Here is the schedule of games featuring teams ahead, or one game back of the 49ers. I've bolded teams we are rooting for in Week 15.
Bears (5-8) @ Vikings (8-5)
Falcons (6-7) @ Jaguars (5-8)
Titans (3-10) @ Patriots (11-2)
Chiefs (8-5) @ Ravens (4-9)
Browns (3-10) @ Seahawks (8-5)
Dolphins (5-8) @ Chargers (3-10)
Lions (4-9) @ Saints (5-8)