The New England Patriots played their best game of the 2023 season on Sunday, upsetting the visiting Buffalo Bills 29-25. The win was a step in a positive direction for the Patriots, allowing them to break a three-game losing streak and improve to 2-1 within the AFC East — the only team in the division with a positive record against its rivals.
Of course, New England’s overall record is still only 2-5 and therefore one of the worst in football. As a consequence, the team is still far closer to the top of the draft board than the actual playoff picture.
In fact, the Patriots remain the current owners of the sixth overall selection even after beating Buffalo. As a look at the board of non-playoff teams shows, only four teams (owning five picks) currently are higher up:
NFL Draft order: Week 8
|1||Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers)||0-6||.000||.531|
|5||New York Giants||2-5||.286||.535|
|6||New England Patriots||2-5||.286||.544|
|7||Green Bay Packers||2-4||.333||.452|
|8||Los Angeles Chargers||2-4||.333||.513|
|10||New Orleans Saints||3-4||.429||.411|
|11||Las Vegas Raiders||3-4||.429||.482|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||3-4||.429||.527|
|16||Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans)||3-3||.500||.468|
|17||New York Jets||3-3||.500||.530|
Interestingly enough, this week saw several of the teams topping this list win in Week 7: the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, and New York Giants all celebrated victories. And with the Patriots also winning their game against the Bills, they remain in the sixth position due to the strength of schedule tiebreaker.
Of course, the draft order is anything but set in stone and will continue to change over the coming two-plus months. With the Patriots having played only seven of 17 total regular season games, every possible outcome still appears to be on the table — from somehow reentering the race for a postseason spot even as the current 15th seed in the AFC, to further improving their draft capital through additional losses.
The Patriots will get another chance to do either of those things on Sunday when they will visit the Dolphins in Miami. The team of head coach Mike McDaniel won the first meeting between those two teams, back in Week 2, with a final score of 24-17.