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Jets shock Rams to claim first win, lose draft position

The Jets will not go winless in 2020, but it could cost them in 2021.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) carries the ball past Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t fault a team for winning a football game, but plenty of New York Jets fans probably won’t forget Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season anytime soon. The winless Jets went into Southern California and stunned the Los Angeles Rams, leading for most of the game en route to a 23-20 victory.

The Jets improve to 1-13 with the win and will now drop behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft order. The Jaguars are also 1-13 and they have the edge in the first tiebreaker for draft order. The first tiebreaker is strength of schedule. The team with the weaker strength of schedule gets the edge based on the idea that losing to a weaker schedule means you would appear to be the worse team. That is followed by a host of tiebreaker options.

The fine folks at Tankathon track strength of schedule throughout the draft order. Jacksonville has the SOS edge, currently sitting at .554 to the Jets .593. Those numbers will change a little bit between now and the end of Monday Night Football, but not enough to move the Jets back up top. And given the disparity, the only way the Jets get back to No. 1 is if the Jaguars win.

The Jets may blow their chance at Trevor Lawrence, but they still deserve credit for not giving up and really taking it to the Rams. After forcing a punt to open the game, the Jets drove 74 yards on 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead. They never trailed after that. It certainly was not pretty, with Frank Gore grinding out 59 yards on 23 carries and Sam Darnold completing 22 of 31 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.

But the Rams offense could never get going and lost an embarrassing one. It’s a huge loss for the Rams because they now drop a game back of the Seattle Seahawks atop the NFC West. They have a matchup to play in Seattle, but the Seahawks are now in the driver’s seat in the division.