Patriots lose to the Bills but win in the race to a top-3 draft pick

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Heading into their Week 17 matchup with the Bills, the Patriots had already improved their draft position due to the Cowboys beating the Lions on Saturday. They moved up to the third pick, and with the decrease in the strength of schedule parameter, their percentage is now tied with the Commanders for the final two games of the year.

It was a move in the right direction for some fans, who were not pleased the team had fallen the fourth selection after winning two of their previous four games. But with their loss to the Bills on Sunday and the Cardinals miraculously beating the Eagles, they have now moved up to hold the second overall pick.

Although it may not mean much at the end of the day, since the draft is really a guessing game for all teams no matter who they're drafting, moving further down in the order increases the Patriots' chances of missing out on a quarterback that could ultimately become their next franchise player.

Typically, that may not be the case but there are a limited number of highly touted quarterbacks for the 2024 draft, so snagging one early may be their only opportunity to get a quarterback for next season.

That means they still have a chance for Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, and potentially Jayden Daniels if his stock continues to rise leading to the draft. It could also mean a chance at a game-changing wide receiver like Marvin Harrison Jr., which is another significant position of need for the Patriots and should not be avoided any longer.

They are no longer in contention for the coveted first overall pick, as the Panthers' loss to the Jaguars ensures the Bears will be the first on the clock come April. But New England was basically out of the running for that spot after they added a couple of wins over the past month.

With just one game left on the schedule for the 2023 season, the Patriots can lock down the second overall pick with another loss to the Jets next week. That seems like a doubtful reality since we're talking about a Bill Belichick-coached team. But anything can happen on any given Sunday, right?

Update: Tankathon has updated the SOS for the Commanders and Patriots, which moves the Patriots back down to the third spot.

But it's not the end of the world, as they still have a chance of moving back up next week, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic details in this tweet.

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