If there’s one source of optimism for the future of the Washington Redskins, besides perhaps Derrius Guice or Terry McLaurin, it’s their simple path to the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020.
Washington’s 17-point loss Sunday to the New York Jets, a team supposed to be comparably underwhelming, dropped the Redskins to 1-9. The defeat created some more space between the two teams in the league standings: The Jets are now 3-7, two games better than Washington.
Now, had the Cincinnati Bengals pulled out their first win of the year Sunday against Oakland, Washington would be sitting in the No. 1 spot by virtue of a strength-of-schedule tiebreaker over Cincinnati.
Instead, the Bengals remain the last winless team, and the 1-9 Redskins are hot on their heels in incompetence — No. 2 in the draft order for now. The idle Giants remained at 2-8, now tied with the Dolphins after their latest loss.
The Redskins’ path to No. 1 overall is straightforward. The Bengals have a cupcake schedule in December, with two games against the Cleveland Browns and dates with the Jets and Dolphins awaiting them. If the Bengals win even one of them and the Redskins lose out, Washington will be first “on the clock.”
There are ways to picture Washington taking No. 1 overall with a 2-14 record, too, but tying with the Giants or Dolphins wouldn’t be conducive to that. Both those teams are on track to finish with much weaker strengths of schedule than Washington, and that’s the one and only key to winning draft order tiebreakers.
Here’s the order of the first 10 picks as of Nov. 18:
1. Cincinnati Bengals (0-10)
2. Washington Redskins (1-9)
3. New York Giants (2-8)
4. Miami Dolphins (2-8)
5. New York Jets (3-7)
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
7. Denver Broncos (3-7)
8. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
9. Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1, bye week still to come)
10. Detroit Lions (3-6-1)
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