There are eight ways the Texans can clinch the number one overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft this week, but there is one way they can lose it.
Entering Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season, the Houston Texans are on track to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft for the fourth time in franchise history and the second time in the last 10 years.
The team that most recently picked first in 2014 sits at a league-worst 2-13-1 through 17 weeks, and they have been at the bottom of the standings for the majority of the season.
There is just one other team that has a chance to swipe the No. 1 pick away from the Texans heading into the final week of the season, and that is the Chicago Bears, who sit at 3-13 after losing each of their last nine games.
The Texans are set to close the season with a road game against the Indianapolis Colts, the team with which they tied earlier in the season, while the Bears are set to close the season with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings, who beat them earlier in the season.
There are nine different ways things can pan out for these two teams in Week 18, considering the fact that both teams could potentially win, lose, or tie.
Eight of those ways result in the Texans keeping the No. 1 pick. But one of them doesn’t.
If the Texans win and get to 3-13-1 while the Bears lose and drop to 3-14, the Bears get the No. 1 pick. But that is the only way the Bears can move up the draft order, even in the event that both teams end up with the same record.
Interestingly, there are two ways for the teams to end up with the same win percentage, not just one. If the Texans win and the Bears tie, both will be 3-13-1.
And if Houston ties and Chicago loses, both will effectively be 3-14. The Texans would officially be 2-13-2, but because ties count as half a win and half a loss, they would have a 0.176 win percentage, just like the Bears.
In both scenarios, the Texans would keep hold of the No. 1 selection. The determination of draft position is decided by strength of schedule when two teams finish with identical records, and the team that played the schedule with the lower overall winning percentage is awarded the higher pick.
The Bears’ opponents are 140-112-3 (0.555) through 17 weeks, while the Texans’ opponents are only 126-127-3 (0.498). There is no way for the Texans’ strength of schedule to jump the Bears’ in the final week of the season, meaning that they would retain the No. 1 pick in the event of a tie.