By Sunday evening the Redskins could find themselves holding the fourth pick in the NFL draft but it would take the equivalent of them drawing to an inside straight for them to pull it off.
There are three parts of the equation. The first two are relatively easy. First, they would need to lose to the Eagles. Philadelphia is favored by nine points at home.
They also would need to finish with the lowest strength of schedule among teams with five wins. Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker with the team playing the weaker schedule getting the higher pick. Among the five teams that could finish with five wins the Redskins have the weakest schedule strength with an opponents’ winning percentage of .475. Their opponents have won 114 games with one to play.
The Jaguars have the second-lowest strength of schedule at .504. Their opponents have won 121 times. You might look at that and say that the seven-game difference could be made up in one day, but it’s highly unlikely. Of the eight games involving Redskins’ 2011 opponents, five of them match 2011 opponents against other 2011 opponents. The Jaguars, and every other NFL team, are in a similar situation with all of the Sunday games matching division opponents against each other.
With a loss and the tiebreaker, the Redskins must have three other teams lose in order to move up to the fourth pick. It would not be stunning if the Jaguars won as they are favored by 3.5 at home against the Colts. But one four-win team is Tampa Bay and are 11.5-point underdogs as they visit the Falcons, who have incentive to improve their playoff seeding. And the Browns are 7-point dogs at home against the Steelers, who have a playoff bye on the line.
I’m not a stats major but I think that the odds are very much against all three of those teams winning and allowing the Redskins to push up to the fourth spot. But if the Redskins do end up losing to the Eagles, each win by the Jags, Browns, and Bucs is almost certain to move the Redskins up one from their current No. 7 slot.