With the loss the Carolina Panthers suffered on Thursday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, they locked up the number one pick in the 2011 Draft, thus winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes (assuming he will enter the NFL Draft). The Arizona Cardinals now sit with a record of 5-10 after their Christmas Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys. If the season ended today, they would stand to have the fifth pick overall. Depending on what happens in Week 17, Arizona could end up anywhere from having the second to the 11th pick in the 2011 Draft.
Arizona's strength of schedule is weak, which is the deciding factor for tiebreakers in the draft. Because of this, they would pick ahead of anyone who has the same record as they do.
If the Cards lose in San Francisco on Sunday, they could land the number two pick, but that would require that Denver beat San Diego, Buffalo beat the Jets and Cincinnati beat Baltimore. An unlikely scenario, but possible.
If the Cards are to beat the 49ers and the other five-win teams lose, they would end up with the 11th pick.
As low as 11th could still possibly land one of the quarterback prizes, but it should certainly net an impact player, whatever the position.
Should this change how we view the game against San Francisco? If you are hoping for a loss solely for better draft status, then it is the general consensus here on SB Nation Arizona that you stink. The win against the Cowboys is proof of this. There would have been no satisfying feeling had the Cardinals lost. Wins feel good, even when the season has been terrible.
Additionally, to root for the 49ers to win, who are the mortal enemies of the Cardinals would be akin to cheering on Al Qaeda in the war on terror. I can't think of anything more pleasing than to put the 49ers in last place where they belong, considering all the bravado that surrounded the start of their season.