By Michael Stewart/@Golferbad
With the 2019 NFL season winding down and 4 games remaining. I wanted to start the Race for Chase countdown to see which team will end up with the 2nd overall pick and the opportunity to select defensive end Chase Young out of Ohio State. Young has had a dominating season with the Buckeyes with 16.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for losses and seven forced fumbles in just 10 games. Now it could be a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Bengals will finish with the worse record as they are currently at 1-11 and have the hardest strength of schedule of the other contenders at .573.
It’s also a foregone conclusion that the Bengals will select a quarterback (most notably Joe Burrow out of LSU) with the 1st overall pick; although something tells me that we might see a wriggle develop sometime between now and the draft; but for now let’s assume it’s Joe Burrow going 1st overall.
In this four-part series over the remaining four weeks of the season, I will provide an up to date breakdown of each team’s record and where they currently are in the standings. Below is the list of teams that could wind up finishing at #2 if everything goes their way. Let’s look at each team and their remaining games:
- New York Giants (2-10): The Giants mathematically hold the #2 spot at this moment, but the percentages are so close, it should change week to week. The Giants strength of schedule is .466 with their four remaining games with the Eagles, Dolphins, Redskins and the Eagles. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has had his ups and downs and is still on a learning curve, however; a win against the Redskins will certainly push them out of the #2 spot automatically unless the Redskins suddenly figure out a way string a few wins together.
- Washington Redskins (3-9): The Redskins hold the #3 spot currently and also feature a rookie quarterback in Dwayne Haskins who has had his own share of problems adjusting to the NFL. The Redskins final four games will be a challenge with the Packers, Eagles, Giants and the Cowboys; which translates to .490 strength of schedule. The game against the Giants could decide who selects Chase Young.
- Miami Dolphins (3-9): The Dolphins sit at #4 and have played some tough games this season and could have at least 5 wins with a little luck. Their strength of schedule is currently .495 with their remaining games against the Jets, Giants, Bengals and Patriots. Looking at that list, it’s conceivable that the Dolphins could split those games and walk away with two additional wins.
- Atlanta Falcons (3-9): The Falcons are holding the #5 spot this week and pulled off two surprising wins this season against the Saints and Panthers and they could possibly finish out the season splitting their four remaining games against the Panthers, 49ers, Jaguars and the Buccaneers. Their overall strength of schedule is at .566 and there next game at home against the struggling Carolina Panthers could get them to win number four.
- Detroit Lions (3-8-1): The Lions have been on a downward spin and will have the Vikings, Buccaneers, Broncos, and Packers to finish out the season as their strength of schedule is .487. The uncertainty of quarterback Matthew Stafford (back injury) over the final four games will have a major impact on where the Lions finish in the standings as no time table of his return has been confirmed.
- Arizona Cardinals (3-8-1): The Cardinals are another team heading in the wrong direction with five straight losses. Their remaining games include the Steelers, Browns, Seahawks and Rams as their strength of schedule is currently .545. The Cardinals could continue their losing ways based on their schedule by going winless to close out the season.
Final Thoughts: Each week until the end of the regular season, I’ll be updating the Race for Chase board and see which team is having the best chance to secure the 2nd overall pick in the draft. Many scouts have hinted that Chase Young will have an immediate impact in the NFL; similar to former Buckeye Nick Bosa has had in San Francisco.
Many scouts have also hinted that it’s not a slam dunk that a quarterback will be the 1st player taken in the 2020 draft if it’s the Cincinnati Bengals despite their need to upgrade at the quarterback position. Young is by far the best college player entering the draft and the possibility of him going 1st overall is still an option at this point.