(No, Field Gulls Deputy Editor John P. Gilbert did not suggest this headline to me)
The Brett Rypien-led Denver Broncos defeated the Arizona Cardinals to snap a five-game losing streak, damaging the Seattle Seahawks’ hopes of a top-5 pick. Results elsewhere have tightened the race for prime real estate in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Here is the current draft order according to Tankathon:
Head-to-head is irrelevant as a tiebreaker, so the Broncos pick owned by the Seahawks sits at 3rd overall because their strength of schedule has been easier than the Rams and Cardinals.
But while many NFL fans are scoffing at the Christmas Day schedule, Seahawks and Detroit Lions fans have every incentive to flip on either CBS or Nickelodeon to watch the Broncos take on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. Draft implications don’t get much bigger than this, and we need a Rams win for Denver’s pick to remain in the top-5 through the final two weeks of the season.
If the Broncos defeat the Rams and results in other games break against the Seahawks, that Broncos pick that was challenging for 2nd overall could drop all the way to 9th by the end of Week 16. Now the Broncos still have a road trip at the Kansas City Chiefs and a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers to wrap up the season, so running the table looks unlikely, but we much prefer them lose out and guarantee that their pick will be no worse than 3rd.
And with that, it’s been confirmed by Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett that Russell Wilson will start against Los Angeles after missing the Cardinals game with a terrible looking concussion suffered against the Chiefs. He’d cleared protocols and theoretically could’ve played, but the team held him out as a precaution.
This is a must-lose game for Denver. Through all of the debating over Russ, there is no denying that Wilson has delivered countless clutch moments and epic performances for the Seahawks when he was actually with the team. For that matter, so has Bobby Wagner. We need them to join forces and help keep Seattle in the top-5 of the draft order. There isn’t a more important game involving the Seahawks this weekend...