Patriots top-3 draft hopes got better after Thursday Night Football

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

We may have only seen one game from Week 16 so far, but the Patriots have already received good news about their hopes to attain a top-3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Although the Rams won the game on Thursday night, the Saints' loss closed the SOS (strength of schedule) gap between New England and Washington, which helps a lot if the Patriots win another game.

The Cardinals now have a much higher SOS, which had been a concern after the results of Week 15, and almost guarantees the Patriots will hold a tiebreaker over Arizona if they end the season with the same record.

With three games left on the schedule, the Patriots will certainly be monitoring how other teams fare in the weeks ahead, as a few of their records will continue to dictate where they end up in the draft order. They are in control of their destiny, too, which would be easier to guarantee if they lose out.

However, asking an entire team to try to lose intentionally is not the route to go, and the good thing about this Patriots team is they may lose out on their own anyway.

But even if they do win at least one more game, seemingly the matchup with the Jets in Week 18, their position within the top-3 selections in the draft seems secure, which is really the only good news about this disappointing season.

It will be their highest draft pick in over 30 years, with the last time being when they selected Drew Bledsoe first overall. Because this will be one of the most franchise-altering offseasons in recent memory, it's critical they remain in the top 3 of the draft to give them the best chance of taking a game-changing player, whether it be a quarterback, wide receiver, or another position of need.

They can seal their fate with a loss next week, which would allow them to essentially clinch the second overall pick, but they must lose to the Broncos, the Commanders need to beat the Jets (which is entirely possible), and the Cardinals need to beat the Bears (which could also be a possibility).

It's a lot of relying on other teams to solidify their positioning, but that's the nature of the game when you're a losing team and depending on the results of last-season games to give you a better chance in the draft instead of playoff seating.

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