The race for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft will be decided in the 2015 season's final week.
Only the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker -- which is used to determine the draft order -- separates the two teams in the race for the top draft pick. The Titans remain mere percentage points ahead of the Browns in that important tiebreaker. However, the Week 17 schedule reveals that a Titans loss to the Indianapolis Colts would mean that the No. 1 overall pick would belong to the team that owned the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. While the Titans get the 7-8 Colts, the Browns face a 9-6 Pittsburgh Steelers team and will get no help from the strength-of-schedule mathematics. While the Titans sport a .493 strength of schedule, the Browns' strength of schedule is a robust .532.
A Titans win over the Colts coupled with a Browns loss to the Steelers would provide Cleveland with the No. 1 overall draft pick. The Browns haven't owned the No. 1 overall pick since having back-to-back top picks in 1999 (after coming off hiatus) and 2000 when the team selected quarterback Tim Couch and defensive end Courtney Brown, respectively. The last time the Titans owned the top pick was in 1978 when the franchise was known as the Houston Oilers and it selected Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell.
While the Titans' top pick from the 2015 draft -- quarterback Marcus Mariota -- is out for the rest of the season due to a minor knee sprain, it appears that the team has its future franchise quarterback. Building around the promising passer will be an offseason priority in Tennessee, with offensive line and running back the most likely target positions.
Sitting just a game behind the Titans and Browns are the San Diego Chargers, who fell to 4-11 on the season after a 23-20 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve. However, the Chargers' strength of schedule (.511) and Week 17 opponent -- the Denver Broncos -- would eliminate San Diego from contention for the No. 1 overall draft pick. The San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys are each 4-11, too, but also sport strength of schedules well over .500.