The New England Patriots were unable to keep their momentum going following their win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 7. Going up against the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday, they played some sloppy football on both sides of the ball and ended up beaten with a final score of 31-17.
The loss now puts them on a 2-6 record this year — worst in the AFC and tied for third-worst in all of football at the moment. While that is obviously bad news for their playoff aspirations, they are in decent shape when it comes to securing one of the top spots in the draft next year.
As a look at the current order of non-playoff teams shows, the Patriots currently rank fifth:
NFL Draft order: Week 9
|2||Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers)||1-6||0.143||0.516|
|4||New York Giants||2-6||0.250||0.538|
|5||New England Patriots||2-6||0.250||0.562|
|6||Green Bay Packers||2-5||0.286||0.450|
|9||Los Angeles Rams||3-5||0.375||0.512|
|11||Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans)||3-4||0.429||0.484|
|12||Las Vegas Raiders||3-4||0.429||0.485|
|13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3-4||0.429||0.485|
|14||Los Angeles Chargers||3-4||0.429||0.527|
|16||New Orleans Saints||4-4||0.500||0.398|
|17||New York Jets||4-3||0.571||0.527|
New England entered Week 8 as the owners of the sixth overall draft pick, but their loss paired with a surprise Denver Broncos victory over the Kansas City Chiefs moved them up one slot. They are still the worst-ranked of the 2-6 teams, though, because their strength of schedule is higher than that of the Chicago Bears and New York Giants.
In fact, the Patriots’ 0.562 in that category remains the toughest not just within the 18 current non-playoff squads but the NFL as a whole. While some easier matchups on paper are coming up before their Week 11 bye — the Washington Commanders and Indianapolis Colts — New England’s strength of schedule will remain high compared to some of the other bottom-tier teams in the league right now.
Obviously, though, the list above is just a snapshot and things can and will change over the final 10 weeks of the season. The Patriots’ upcoming home game against a 3-5 Washington team might already create some change in the standings.
Kickoff between the two clubs is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.