Odds to Have the First Overall Pick in 2021 NFL Draft Now Favor the Jaguars After Jets Beat Rams

Josh Andrews, OL, New York Jets

New York Jets offensive guard Josh Andrews (68) celebrates after a win over the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
  • The Jets upset the Rams in Week 15, holding on for a 23-20 win, moving to 1-13
  • Lamar Jackson and the Ravens ran over the Jaguars 40-14, as they fell to 1-13
  • With Trevor Lawrence as the prize, see the favorite to pick first overall according to the 2021 NFL Draft Odds

The Jets did the unthinkable on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. They won.

With a potential generational talent in Trevor Lawrence awaiting the worst team in the NFL in 2020, New York would have secured their spot atop the draft board had they lost out. But the much-maligned Sam Darnold and the ageless Frank Gore helped the Jets avoid the third-ever 0-16 season.

Meanwhile the Jacksonville Jaguars were steamrolled by Baltimore. By virtue of strength of schedule (SOS) in 2020, Jacksonville holds the inside track to first overall should the teams finish with identical records.

So did the Jets blow their shot?

2021 NFL Draft Odds

Team Odds
Jacksonville Jaguars -212
New York Jets +195

Odds as of Dec. 20th

Since the middle of October it’s been the Jets and Jags when it came to the 2021 NFL Draft Odds. New York were heavy favorites for a long time, and were almost expected to go 0-16.

But then Sunday happened. And the tumble for Trevor Lawrence took a drastic turn.

For those unfamiliar, the tie breaker for first overall is strength of schedule. With the Jags playing a weaker schedule than the Jets, it’s assumed the Jets’ are the more talented team because their win came against better competition.

Either way, the NFL is trying to make its bad teams better.

Jets Too Good Against Rams in Week 14

If it weren’t for two strange play calls by Sean McVay on third and fourth down on a late fourth quarter drive, the Jets could still be in pole position for Lawrence. But here we are, as the Rams suffered an ’embarrassing’ and ‘humbling’ loss (McVay’s words, not ours).

In fact, the win may have affirmed an oddly solid stretch from the Jets’ defense. Before imploding against Seattle, New York had earned defensive grades of 75.3, 66.3 and 60.2 from Pro Football Focus. That’s three of their six 60+ scores from the season.

Their run defense scored in the 80s of all three games, and they held the Rams to 114 yards a week after LA demolished the Patriots for 186 on the ground.

A competent defense and an OK stretch of play from Sam Darnold? That’s not a recipe for Trevor Lawrence.

Remaining Schedule Strengthens Jaguars’ Chances

Entering Week 15, the remaining schedules of the Jets and Jags made it seem like the standings would remain intact down the stretch. Both faced playoff hungry teams, or opposing sides that were just better than them.

But Gang Green cost themselves their trump card in beating the Rams.

Jaguars, Jets Remaining Schedules

vs CHI (+6.5) Week 16 vs CLE (+10)
@ IND (+13.5)* Week 17 @ NE (+6.5)*

*Spread projected by SBD

New York comes off of two weeks spent on the West coast to a home date with the Browns. Cleveland is in must-win territory: they’re a game ahead of the Ravens and can’t afford a let down.

That Week 17 date will be tough to peg. A veteran-laden Patriots roster will be playing for pride. But will it be Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham at the helm? You could call it winnable, but it’s still unlikely.

Jacksonville gets a Bears team with a lot left on the table. They’re on the outside of the NFC playoff picture, and Mitch Trubisky could be playing for his job (again). Week 17 against the Colts means nothing for the Jags, but everything in the Colts/Titans slugfest for the AFC South crown.

With all of those factors at play, SBD’s Editor-in-Chief Matt McEwan gives Jacksonville a 62% chance of dropping both.

Jacksonville Holds Inside Track

The fact is, the Jets lost their shot at Trevor Lawrence. It has nothing to do with tanking or integrity. The Jags just face a harder schedule against teams where wins are all that matter.

New York is playing slightly better now, and even has a winnable game in Week 17. So at this point it looks like Trevor Lawrence is headed to Florida.

The Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-212)

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