If the Broncos win, it doesn't matter what Carolina does against what may be the Falcons' JV team in week 17. Carolina would have the #1 pick.
Carolina had 'battled' Cincinnat and Buffalo all year for the top pick, with each team reaching bouts of futility, but Denver had become a late contender with its implosion and Josh McDaniels' firing. Carolina's 2nd win, against the Cardinals, came with a Cincinnati win, and now based on strength of schedule, Cincinnati can't catch Carolina.
Denver can, but it would take a Carolina win to match records. Denver would have the tie on strength of schedule.
Would it matter?
Some might say that Denver, who has their first round quarterback, wouldn't be a threat at the first pick to take most analysts' (and fans') choice, Andrew Luck, universally seen as one of the best QB prospects in years and definitely better than other potential prospects in the 2011 draft.
Of course, Luck would still have to declare for the draft, which would most likely require Jim Harbaugh to leave Stanford as well. The duo could come to Carolina, but neither is certain to leave. Marty Hurney would also need to be willing to give up on his handpicked QB, Jimmy Clausen.