Patriots top-3 draft hopes improved even more from the results of Week 14

Nov 10, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany;  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the
Nov 10, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Because this season has been uncharacteristic of the Patriots, a majority of fans have already decided to fully immerse themselves into the 2024 NFL draft, especially since the team is projected to have a top-5 pick for the first time in decades.

Although four games are left to play this season, New England has already been eliminated from playoff contention, paving the way for draft seating to become the most important thing to play for (at least according to the fans).

They came into their matchup with the Steelers last Thursday as a 2-10 team, holding the second overall pick with hopes of remaining there during the final stretch of the year. But concern grew that wouldn't be the case when they won in Pittsburgh, an odd feeling for fans who typically want to see the team win.

Fortunately, the teams the Patriots needed to win this week did, which keeps them with the number two pick and some cushion going into Week 15. They now hold the same record as the Cardinals, who currently sit just below them in the draft order.

That shouldn't be a concern, though, as their remaining strength of schedule would win the tie-breaker with Arizona to keep them higher in the draft if they finish with the same record at the end of the season.

The other significant part resulting from how Week 14 panned out is that there are only two other teams to focus on when looking at their final records: the Cardinals and the Commanders. Because only one or two games separate them from the Patriots, more wins from them will benefit New England more to remain within the top-3 picks.

On top of that, prior to the two Monday Night games, England had a 41% chance of holding a top-2 pick. Now that the Giants and Titans one, that will only increase and ease some nerves from fans hoping to stay near the top of the board.

The likelihood the Patriots will remain atop the draft order appears much more concrete now. But then they run into the issue of winning more games. Losing will benefit them over the last month of games, especially when you can't guarantee losses from the Cardinals or Commanders.

It's possible New England won't win another game, as they face the Chiefs, Broncos, Bills, and Jets to end the year. That would be the best-case scenario regardless of how difficult it is to root against the team you're a fan of, but also don't count it. It's clear this team is still fighting to win games, which is admirable given their situation.

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