The New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars were embroiled in a battle over the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. But what happens if the Jets and Jaguars tie? Pro Football Network is here to explain all the intricacies of a potential Jets and Jaguars NFL Draft tiebreaker scenario.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
With the New York Jets’ surprising victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 16, the Jacksonville Jaguars losing to the Chicago Bears ensured that they will get the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Previous Tiebreaker Updates (from Week 15)
Below are updates from Week 15 in regard to the Jets vs. Jaguars tiebreaker scenarios. Now that the Jaguars have secured the number one overall pick, these scenarios are moot and no longer in play. Week 17 will not matter – the Jaguars have clinched the number one pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
How the Jets end with No. 1 pick
The simplest scenario would have been for the Jets to lose out. The Jaguars already have one win, so had the Jets simply lost their last three games of the season, ensuring an 0-16 finish, they would have had the No. 1 overall pick. However, with their win over the Los Angeles Rams, they now have the same record as the Jaguars.
The Jets can now clinch the No. 1 pick if the Jaguars win out and the Jets lose one game. If the Jets lose both games, they need the Jaguars to win at least one game.
To put it simply, the Jets end up with the No. 1 pick, and most likely Trevor Lawrence, so long as they don’t win more games than the Jaguars the rest of the season. If the Jets win just one more game than the Jaguars, then it’ll fall to a tiebreaker.
How the Jaguars end with No. 1 pick
The Jaguars need to not win more games than the Jets in the final two weeks. The Jaguars’ remaining games are against the Bears and Colts. Meanwhile, the Jets face the Browns and Patriots.
As long as the Jaguars do not win one game more than the Jets in the last two weeks, they have the inside track on the top pick.
Breaking down the Jets / Jaguars NFL Draft tiebreaker
This is where things get complicated. If the Jets and Jaguars end up tied, the first tiebreaker would be their strength of schedule. The team with the easier schedule would get the first pick. Right now, that would appear to be the Jaguars. According to Tankathon, the Jets’ final strength of schedule is .593, by far the toughest schedule in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ strength of schedule is .554, which is the third most difficult schedule in the NFL.
So, the Jaguars have a clear advantage in the strength of schedule. However, things like that change every week. Depending on results from around the league, the Jets and Jaguars’ strength of schedule will change. The issue for the Jets is that their schedule has become so difficult that it’s nearly impossible for the Jaguars to catch them. It would take nearly perfect circumstances for it to happen.
In the ridiculous event that the Jets and Jaguars end up with the same strength of schedule, the odds of this are astronomical; it would go to a conference record tiebreaker. Because the Jets got their one win against the Los Angeles Rams, then they would then be awarded the No. 1 pick.
The third tiebreaker is their respective records in common games, so long as the two teams have at least four common opponents. The Jets and Jaguars’ four common opponents are the Colts, Browns, Dolphins, and Chargers. Currently, the Jaguars have one win against those opponents, while the Jets have none. That could change if the Jets get their one AFC win against the Browns instead of the Patriots. That would lead to a fourth tiebreaker.
The last tiebreaker is their respective strength of victory. In this scenario, that would mean the Jets’ victory against the Rams and the Jaguars’ victory over the Colts.
In the event that this is also a tie, the winner would be decided based on point differential; worst gets the top pick. The Jets started their game against the Rams 62 points worse than the Jaguars, making them the heavy favorite to win this NFL Draft tiebreaker.