No Lower than Two?

Could the dream of every San Diego Chargers fan be true? Win this week against the hated Oakland Raiders and still fall no further in the 2004 NFL Draft than the second overall pick? Yesterday, the numbers were run through week 16 of the NFL season. Week 17 was not taken into account. Failing to extend it out led to the belief that there was a possibility to fall to number seven overall with a win. That is not true.

The way it goes down:

If the Chargers lose, they are guaranteed to be the number one overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. That is a certainty.

Instead of looking at winning percentages, with the help of a poster from TheNFLForum.com, we look at how many wins our opponents have had, including our final week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders. By using this we can eliminate the need for percentages and focus on real numbers that tell the tale:

A win by our opponents equals one point in this scenario:

Current standings with the last game's opponent figured in:

San Diego (122), Arizona (132), Oakland (123), Cleveland (130), Detroit (130), Atlanta (131), Giants (135).

Why are we so sure we end up number one overall with a loss? Let us count the ways.

Because Arizona has a 10 win lead on the Chargers in strength of schedule, and assuming the worst, that all our opponents this week win, and all of their opponents lose, it would still be a win for the Chargers since several teams both the Chargers and Cards have played this year will play each other in the final week of the season. The maximum amount of wins, aka strength of schedule, the Chargers could muster in this scenario is 134. The min for the Cardinals is 137.

Conversely, if Arizona wins the Chargers remain the only 3-13 team in the league and win without need for strength of schedule and the same holds true for Arizona taking the top spot if the Chargers win and they lose.

The Giants are immediately eliminated from contention since they are already at 135 entering week 17 and the Chargers cannot exceed 134.

Atlanta faces a minimum of six wins this week, which will put the amount of opponents' wins at 137.

Detroit also faces a minimum of six wins by opponents this week, which will put their total at 136.

Cleveland faces a minimum of five wins this week to put their total at 135.

That leaves only Oakland. Since the Chargers play in the same division, there are only four uncommon opponents between the teams.

Those teams for San Diego are:

Oakland, Oakland, Miami and Jacksonville.

For Oakland they are:

San Diego, San Diego, Jets, and Tennessee.

Assuming the Chargers win on Sunday the Raiders would automatically get two more wins added to their total of 123 to equal 125 (for the Chargers win counting twice). Since the Chargers beat the Raiders, their maximum win total would equal 124 if Miami and Jacksonville win, one less than the Raiders.

Thus the only way for the Chargers to lose the number one overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft is to win Sunday and see the Cardinals lose. At worst, based on the numbers, the Chargers will pick no lower than second in the Draft.

Now who wants to lose to the Raiders?

Special thanks to TTThunder in the San Diego Chargers message board on TheNFLForum.com

for doing his homework and showing us the error of our ways.

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