By each losing Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions guaranteed they'll be the owners of the first and second picks in the 2022 NFL draft.
The results of Week 18 will determine which team will sit at No. 1 overall.
The 2-14 Jaguars control their own draft path — lose at home to the Indianapolis Colts and they'll wrap up the top slot. A tie would also do the job, as the Jaguars would still hold the edge in the first tiebreaker, which is opponents' win percentage.
The Colts beat the Jaguars, 23-17, in Week 10 in Indianapolis. Right now, the Colts are fighting for their playoff lives, currently sitting in the No. 6 slot in the AFC postseason hierarchy with two other teams also owning 9-7 records.
Jacksonville's first matchup vs. Indianapolis was surprisingly close, with the Jaguars clawing back from down 20-6 at one point. Jacksonville had the ball on the Indianapolis 45-yard line with more than a minute remaining and a chance to pull the upset before Trevor Lawrence was sacked and fumbled to close it out.
Lawrence, the top overall pick in 2021, has struggled as a rookie. It was the first time in franchise history the Jaguars owned the No. 1 overall selection, and now they have a good shot to own it two straight years.
In order for the 2-13-1 Lions to surpass the Jaguars, they need to lose to the Green Bay Packers and have the Jaguars beat the Colts.
The Lions have picked first or second overall in the draft nine times in league history. Surprisingly, only four times since 1980. Their most recent top-two overall pick: Ndamukong Suh, at No. 2 in 2010.
In fact, we might end up having a Suh-Gerald McCoy type debate at 1-2 this year. In draft cycle that's considered a down year for QB prospects, some believe the top two prospects available could be Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson.
Hutchinson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, had a less impactful game than we're used to seeing in the Wolverines' CFB semifinal loss to Georgia, with four tackles (one for loss) and no sacks. In his other 13 games this season, Hutchinson had 62 tackles (16.5 for losses), 14 sacks, three pass breakups, 12 QB hits, two forced fumbles and one recovery.
Thibodeaux had similar per-game production, albeit in 11 games this season for the Ducks, totaling 49 tackles (12 for losses), seven sacks, eight QB hits and two forced fumbles.
In one week from Sunday, once we know the order — Jacksonville then Detroit, or the inverse — we can start a debate over which pass rusher is most likely to end up where.
But it's also possible that the Jaguars could decide that protecting Lawrence is most crucial. If that's the case, Alabama OT Evan Neal might be a special enough prospect to consider with a top-two pick.
The first round of the 2022 NFL draft begins April 28.