The San Francisco 49ers are onto the final stretch of their season from hell. They are all but certain to notch a top-five pick in the 2019 NFL draft and it’s less on their performance and more on the performances of other teams.
At this point the strength of schedule (SoS) is being factored in. Remember, head to head records do not matter in the event of a tie. Draft positioning is determined by depth in the playoffs, win-loss record, and SoS. So if the Chargers and Washington wound up tied, but the Chargers made the playoffs, Washington would get the better pick. The same would happen if Washington had a better record, but the Chargers made it into the playoffs.
Beyond that, it’s the strength of schedule. You have to absolutely suck against crappier teams who in turn have lost to crappy teams to get that coveted No. 1 draft pick.
All that said, in this final stretch we have a few games that we need to worry about not for the winner to push the W/L record up, but to improve the strength of schedule so the 49ers don’t have any issues when they tie with the Raiders.
Below are the games you should care about:
Giants (4-8) at Washington (6-6): Washington. The Giants winning helps make their gap on the 49ers grow, but a Washington win helps the strength of schedule tiebreaker and the 49ers are going to need that way more than another win out of the Giants.
Colts (6-6) at Texans (9-3): Colts. The Colts were a Raiders opponent so a win from them helps the strength of schedule in the 49ers’ favor.