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2017 NFL Draft order: Bears-Vikings implications, what Week 9 means

We break down what Week 8 meant for draft implications, and what to look for in Week 9.

The San Francisco 49ers did not play in Week 8, but they did get a little bit of help as they pursue one of the top picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Carolina Panthers thumped the Arizona Cardinals, which improves Carolina to 2-5 and moves them a game back of the 49ers in the draft order.

The 49ers almost got a huge win from the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were hosting the New York Jets and took a 20-7 lead into halftime. Unfortunately, the Browns did what the Browns tend to do, and gave up 31 unanswered points en route to a 31-28 loss. They remain winless, and this was probably the most winnable game remaining on their schedule.

The 1-6 Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings this week. If the Bears lose, they will move ahead of the 49ers by a half-game. Chicago has a bye next week, so the 49ers would even out in terms of game played with that. The Vikings are a favorite with a ton of money coming in, likely due to that great defense. The Vikings offense has enough questions that maybe the Bears can spring the MNF upset.

Here is a look at the current draft order, with strength of schedule as determined by Scott Carasik (spreadsheet):

1. Cleveland Browns (0-8, .529)
2. San Francisco 49ers (1-6, .500)
3. Chicago Bears (1-6, .539)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5, .533)
5. Carolina Panthers (2-5, .538)
6. New York Jets (3-5, .488)
7. Indianapolis Colts (3-5, .525)
8. San Diego Chargers (3-5), .529)
9. Miami Dolphins (3-4, .467)
10. Los Angeles Rams (3-4, .471)
11. Baltimore Ravens (3-4, .483)
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4, .500)
13. New Orleans Saints (3-4, .504)

We are only halfway through the season, with some teams still waiting to play their eighth game in Week 9. Strength of schedule has a long way to go before it is fully sorted out. The 49ers benefited this week from losses by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The Cardinals and Seahawks lost to teams the 49ers play (Panthers, Saints), but the 49ers play the Cardinals and Seahawks twice, so their losses count double!

Here is a quick look at pertinent games on next week’s schedule with a quick explainer as to why they matter.

Saints (3-4) @ 49ers (1-6) - Duh
Cowboys (6-1) @ Browns (0-8) - Duh
Panthers (2-5) @ Rams (3-4) - A Rams loss counts double for SOS
Colts (3-5) @ Packers (4-3) - A Packers win counts double for Bears SOS
Jaguars (2-5) @ Chiefs (5-2) - some cushion for potential 49ers wins
Jets (3-5) @ Dolphins (3-4) - some cushion for potential 49ers wins
Titans (4-4) @ Chargers (3-5) - some cushion for potential 49ers wins