Indianapolis and St. Louis are the last teams standing for the NFL draft’s top pick next April.
Minnesota eliminated itself Saturday by winning its third game, 33-26 at Washington. Because its schedule was stronger than either the Colts or the Rams played, the Vikings can’t select first even if all three teams finish 3-13.
The Colts remain the front-runner and if they lose at Jacksonville (4-11) next Sunday, they have the chance to choose Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, considered the top prospect in the draft. The Rams would get the No. 1 spot if Indy wins and they lose at home to San Francisco.
St. Louis selected quarterback Sam Bradford atop the draft in 2010, so if the Rams earn the top pick, they should get lots of offers for Luck, or they might choose a dangerous receiver — something the Rams have lacked since Bradford arrived.
The Colts have won two straight games, beating Tennessee and Houston, to place in doubt their hold on the top draft pick. With Peyton Manning out for the season with a neck injury, the Colts lost their first 13 games of the season, and most figure Luck will be their selection if they go first.
Beating the Jaguars, who fell 23-17 at Tennessee on Saturday, isn’t a stretch. Yes, the Jaguars won 17-3 at Indy in mid-November, but Curtis Painter was the quarterback then, not Dan Orlovsky. The Colts won in Orlovsky’s past two starts.
Plus, Jacksonville has dropped five of its past six since beating Indy.