Week 18 rooting guide for pro-tank Panthers fans

Since Carolina Panthers fans can’t hope for a spot in the playoffs anymore, maybe they can hope for a richer investment.

So, if you’re on “Team Tank” for the Panthers’ Week 18 escapades, here’s who you should root for this weekend.

Current first-round draft order

  1. Houston Texans (2-13-1)

  2. Chicago Bears (3-13)

  3. Seattle Seahawks; via Denver Broncos (4-12)

  4. Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

  5. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1)

  6. Detroit Lions; via Los Angeles Rams (5-11)

  7. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

  8. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10)

  9. Carolina Panthers (6-10)

  10. Philadelphia Eagles; via New Orleans Saints (7-9)

  11. Tennessee Titans (7-9)

  12. Houston Texans; via Cleveland Browns (7-9)

  13. New York Jets (7-9)

  14. Washington Commanders (7-8-1)

  15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

  16. Green Bay Packers (8-8)

  17. Detroit Lions (8-8)

  18. Miami Dolphins (8-8) (Forfeited)

  19. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)

  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8)

  22. New England Patriots (8-8)

  23. New York Giants (9-6-1)

  24. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

  25. Los Angeles Chargers (10-6)

  26. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

  27. Minnesota Vikings (12-4)

  28. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)

  29. Denver Broncos; via San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

  30. Buffalo Bills (12-3)

  31. Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

  32. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Who to root for: Raiders

When to root: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Why root?: Tied with the Panthers at 6-10 and with a slightly weaker strength of schedule, the Raiders are currently in possession of the eighth overall spot.

Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Tennessean

Who to root for: Titans

When to root: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

Why root?: The Titans, who are in possession of the 11th overall pick, sit just one game behind the Panthers at 7-9.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Who to root for: Falcons

When to root: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Why root?: Like the Raiders, the Falcons are also tied at 6-10 with the Panthers. But, again, their strength of schedule has them two spots ahead of Carolina at No. 7.

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Who to root for: Saints

When to root: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Why root?: Well, duh. If you want the Panthers to be higher than No. 9, then you want them to lose. That would also knock the Saints’ pick (No. 10), which belongs to the Philadelphia Eagles, further off their tail.

But—as is the case with Tennessee’s pick, the Cleveland Browns’ pick (which belongs to Houston) and the New York Jets’ pick—New Orleans’ strength of schedule is almost 30 points stronger than Carolina’s. So even with a win, the Panthers will likely be picking from no lower than the ninth spot that they’re currently in.

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Who to root for: Browns

When to root: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Why root?: The Browns, whose 11th overall pick currently belongs to the Houston Texans, sit just one game behind the Panthers at 7-9.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

The Record

Who to root for: Jets

When to root: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Why root?: The Jets, who are in possession of the 13th overall pick, sit just one game behind the Panthers at 7-9.

Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

Journal Sentinel

Who to root for: Lions

When to root: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Why root?: The sixth overall pick, which is currently owned by the Los Angeles Rams by way of the Lions, is the absolute highest the Panthers can get.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire