Teddy Bridgewater was playing at Cincinnati on Thursday night as the Texans and Jaguars battled. But Bridgewater should have at least been getting some updates on the bench, since the NFL result might determine his professional future.
Bridgewater, the Louisville quarterback and No. 1 pick in most mock drafts, should probably start pricing houses in Houston.
Houston dropped a 27-20 game to Jacksonville, virtually assuring that the Jaguars, once 0-8 and seemingly a lock for the NFL's worst record, will not get the first pick. The Jaguars have won four games after that 0-8 start, and are two games better than Houston. Shockingly, the Jaguars are not mathematically eliminated for a playoff spot with three games to go.
The loss for the Texans, however, keeps them in the lead for the first pick of the draft. They're 2-11 now with three difficult games remaining.
The Texans rallied following a poor first half, after Matt Schaub replaced Case Keenum at quarterback. Schaub played well, completing 17-of-29 passes for 198 yards, but his interception right before the two-minute warming sealed the loss. And, unfortunately for Schaub, that gave the Texans the inside track to the first pick and a new franchise quarterback.
It might not end up being Bridgewater. Opinions on Bridgewater might change, especially when teams start really evaluating players for the draft. But what might not change down the stretch is Houston's grip on the first pick, or the fact that the Texans should be in the market for a quarterback since the Keenum experiment seems to be fizzling.
The Texans have three tough games left. They play at Indianapolis, the probable AFC South champ, the only remaining home game is against 10-2 Denver, and finish with a road game at a solid Tennessee team. The only good news for teams looking to grab that first pick is that Houston likely wouldn't "win" the tiebreaker if they end up in a head-to-head tie with another team. The first tiebreaker for draft order is strength of schedule, with the weakest schedule selecting first. Houston is currently tied for the second-toughest schedule in the NFL, and it will get stronger over its last three games.
So the Texans might need to lose their last three to secure that top pick, but that's very possible. Here's the remaining schedule of every teams with three or fewer wins:
Washington, pick owned by St. Louis (3-9)
vs. Kansas City
at N.Y. Giants
Tampa Bay (3-9)
vs. San Francisco
at St. Louis
at New Orleans
at Green Bay
at San Francisco
Minnesota has a real chance to lose out, considering all four remaining games come against teams that are .500 or better, including three against teams that have at least a share of first place in their respective division. The Atlanta-Washington game next week will also be interesting for draft positioning. If Tampa Bay loses this week, it's hard to find another win on their schedule.
But Houston is in the driver's seat after losing on Thursday night. The Texans gave it a good run in the second half. It's probably for the best their comeback came up short. They're close to officially being on the clock to start the 2014 draft. Time to "Play Dead for Ted."
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