The Patriots could find themselves with a top-10 draft pick, but they’ll need help from other teams.
The New England Patriots would love nothing more than to finish the regular season off with a win in light of their three-game losing streak. However, we don’t doubt that some fans will pulling for them to lose in the name of improving their positioning for the 2021 draft.
After factoring in strength of schedule, which is the top tiebreaker as far as draft order is concerned, the Patriots (6-9) own the No. 14 overall pick entering the final week. Six teams currently have the same record and four of those rank lower than them in strength of schedule: Chargers, Cowboys, Vikings and Washington.
It’s worth noting that Denver (5-10), has a stronger strength of schedule than the Patriots, which means they would be able to leapfrog the AFC West side if both teams finished with the same record. This is all very complicated, so let’s attempt to highlight the best- and worst-case scenarios for New England as it pertains to their draft slot.
To get a better understanding of where the Patriots could end up in the draft order, we should first take a look at the records of the teams above and below them in the draft order, as well as their respective strength of schedules, which is provided via NESN.
- 10. Denver Broncos (5-10; .567 strength of schedule)
- 11. Dallas Cowboys (6-9; .465)
- 12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-9; .490)
- 13. Minnesota Vikings (6-9; .508)
- 14. New England Patriots (6-9; .533)
- 15. San Francisco 49ers (6-9; .544)
- 19. Washington Football Team (6-9; .465)
Taking that into account, the Patriots would love to lose and watch the likes of Denver, Dallas, LA, Minnesota, and Washington all win. That would see them slated in the No. 10 slot. On the other side of the spectrum, if head coach Bill Belichick’s side loses and all five of those teams join them in that regard, they would stick with the No. 14 overall pick, which isn’t the worst thing.
We’re not going to dive into every hypothetical, but based on results the Patriots could also wind up with the No. 11, 12 or 13 selections.
In terms of worst-case scenarios, however, they could fall as far as No. 15. In order for that to happen, New England would have to win and San Francisco and Las Vegas would have to lose. This circumstance would leave the Patriots and Raiders with the same record, but New England would receive the lower pick based on strength of schedule (.533 to .542).
That pretty much sums it up, folks. Depending on how everything plays out, the Pats could jump as high as four slots or move down just one. How do we feel about this?