The reaction to the Patriots' latest loss in Week 15 to the Chiefs on Sunday will differ depending on who you ask. Some will be upset because the Zappe-led offense fell flat on their face after an impressive first half, which essentially sealed the loss. Others will be thankful the team couldn't steal a win from the reigning Super Bowl Champions to keep their place atop the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.
Because that has become the main focus in New England as their season was clearly going nowhere early on, that has been the silver lining as the losses pile up. However, this one was a little more heartbreaking, as they were faring well against a dominant team for the entire first half.
But despite the loss, the Patriots just got some significant news regarding the draft order.
The Panthers accomplished the unthinkable and beat the Falcons just minutes before the Patriots lost, moving Carolina to a 2-10 record. That puts New England just one game behind them, as they now fall to 3-11.
This means they are just ONE game behind obtaining the first overall pick in next year's draft, a coveted spot that no team necessarily wants to earn because of poor play but will gladly take amidst a complete franchise reset.
If they lose out in the final three weeks and the Panthers win at least one more game, the draft order could become a lot more interesting. Since the Patriots are likely going after a quarterback with their first pick, the difference between the first and second overall selections may not seem too significant, but it could be the difference between taking Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, the top quarterback prospects of their class.
Its a spot they could have obtained after this week's loss had they not beaten the Steelers last week on Thursday Night Football.
It's a fact that maybe we should choose to ignore rather than contemplated the "what if?" aspect of the scenario.