Giants' Rooting Guide for 2022 NFL Draft Implications of Week 18

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2022

Giants' Rooting Guide for 2022 NFL Draft Implications of Week 18

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    The misery of the 2021-22 NFL season is nearly over for the New York Giants. All that's left to determine is where exactly the next source of hope for the franchise will be coming from. 

    There are plenty of offseason decisions that will need to be made. Whether Joe Judge, Daniel Jones or Dave Gettleman are part of the plans going forward could be up for discussion, but the most important thing at stake in Week 18 is where the Giants' two first-round draft picks will wind up. 

    Going into the week, New York has its own pick sitting at No. 5 while the Chicago Bears selection it received from the Justin Fields trade last year is at No. 8. 

    Both picks still have some upward mobility if the cards fall right this weekend. The Giants will need to lose to the Washington Football Team on Sunday to maximize the selection, but they could get help from the following results as well. 

Vikings over Bears

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    This is the game with the most direct impact on the Giants' draft picks. A Vikings win over the Bears is not only the most likely on the list, but it will also give them the best shot to wind up with two picks in the top seven. 

    Getting the Bears' selection has been the gift that keeps giving. With Fields struggling to make an impact on their record in Year 1 and head coach Matt Nagy continuing to hold on to his job by a thread, Chicago has posted a 6-10 record that has them tied with the Jets and Washington Football Team. 

    Strength of schedule will break that tie, but a Vikings win ensures the Giants aren't passed up by one of those teams. 

    What's concerning for New York is the fact that the Bears have won their last two games. A 25-24 win over Seattle and a 29-3 drubbing of the Giants is a little more life than you'd like to see from a floundering team like Chicago. 

    Then again, the Bears have a coach who is likely fighting to keep his job and don't have a first-round pick to tank for. The Vikings, meanwhile, have dropped two straight games including a 37-10 beatdown against the Packers on Monday night. 

    At least Kirk Cousins will be back in the Minnesota lineup after sitting out last week on the COVID/reserve list. 

Texans over Titans

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    This is probably the most unlikely one of the bunch, but a Jets win over the Bills would be helpful too and is in the same category as a Bears victory. 

    The Texans have put together a few late-season wins that have not only been surprising but could also have an impact on the playoff race. 

    A 30-16 win over the Jaguars hurt their draft stock, and they followed it up with a 41-29 win over the Los Angeles Chargers that has put their postseason spot in jeopardy. Last week, they were leading the San Francisco 49ers at the half. 

    All of this to say, the Houston coaches and players haven't given up on the season. With a roster that is in the early stages of a rebuild, those players are fighting to be a part of the organization's future. 

    That gives a small sliver of hope for the Texans, who go into Week 18 playing a Titans team that still has a shot of getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Tennessee can clinch it with a win. 

    In other words, there are going to be several fanbases, including the Giants, that are hoping the Texans can pull off one more upset this week. 

Seahawks over Cardinals

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    A Seahawks win over the Cardinals, paired with a Vikings win over the Bears, would guarantee Chicago's pick finishes up in the top seven. 

    While the Cardinals have a 64.8 percent chance to win the game, per ESPN's Football Power Index, there's still reason to believe in the Seahawks to help out the Giants here. 

    For starters, Seattle doesn't even have its first-round pick. It still owes the Jets from the Jamal Adams trade so it has no reason to tank. 

    The resurgence of Rashaad Penny in the backfield over the last two weeks has given the offense new life. He has 305 yards over the last two weeks, including a 170-yard performance against the Lions in Week 17. 

    The Cardinals are having a great season, but they are far from invincible. Their win over the Dallas Cowboys last week snapped a three-game losing streak. With a playoff spot secured, they might be susceptible to the upset that would help the Giants.