Of course, there is one small glimmer of hope in what is increasingly turning into a wasted season: the Patriots are now on track for a top-3 selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. Currently the owners of the third overall pick, they jumped up two spots thanks to the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals both celebrating victories in Week 10.
As a consequence, they are now on track for what would be their highest selection in the draft in over 30 years: not since they picked quarterback Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993 have they selected this high.
NFL Draft order: Week 11
|1||Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers)||1-8||0.111||0.512|
|2||New York Giants||2-8||0.200||0.519|
|3||New England Patriots||2-8||0.200||0.538|
|6||Green Bay Packers||3-6||0.333||0.478|
|7||Los Angeles Rams||3-6||0.333||0.531|
|11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4-5||0.444||0.478|
|12||New York Jets||4-5||0.444||0.503|
|14||Los Angeles Chargers||4-5||0.444||0.525|
|16||Las Vegas Raiders||5-5||0.500||0.497|
The Patriots lost their Week 10 game in Germany with a final score of 10-6, benching starting QB Mac Jones in favor of backup Bailey Zappe in crunch time. With their quarterback situation uncertain heading into their bye week, and a game against the 2-8 New York Giants coming up in Week 12, New England appears to have potential to continue its journey up the draft board.
The only thing separating the Patriots and Giants at the moment, after all, is the strength of schedule tiebreaker. The Patriots’ opponents have a combined winning percentage of .538 this season — worse than the Cardinals’ .544, but better than the Giants’ .519.
A loss to the Giants would increase that strength of schedule tiebreaker, but the Patriots would be able to leapfrog New York based on an inferior record. Obviously, though, the team of head coach Brian Daboll has its own issues. That especially true at the quarterback spot as well: the Giants will start third-stringer Tommy DeVito with both Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor injured.
The battle for the second spot on the draft board behind the hapless Carolina Panthers therefore might be a closely contested one. And at this stage in their season, coming up short would not be the worst thing for the Patriots — at least as far as their 2024 draft capital is concerned.