As the Patriots continue to plummet to the depths of irrelevance, they also continue to rise up the 2024 NFL Draft board.

New England saw its draft stock improve with Sunday’s ugly road loss to the New York Giants and other Week 12 results around the NFL. The Patriots stayed in the No. 3 spot, but the gap between their strength of schedule (the first draft tiebreaker) and that of the Arizona Cardinals widened. If two teams finish with the same record, the one with the lower opponents’ winning percentage receives the higher draft pick.

Additionally, three teams jockeying for position atop the draft — Giants, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans — all picked up victories. Consequently, there’s now a two-loss gap between the Patriots at No. 3 and the four-win teams occupying spots five through 10.

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Here’s the current top 10 via Tankathon:

(Note: Tankathon’s SOS includes the winning percentages for future scheduled opponents.)

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1. Chicago Bears, via 1-10 Carolina Panthers (.513 SOS)
2. Arizona Cardinals, 2-10 (.558 SOS)
3. New England Patriots, 2-10 (.536 SOS)
4. Chicago Bears, 3-8 (.468 SOS)
5. Washington Commanders, 4-8 (.518 SOS)
6. New York Giants, 4-8 (.521 SOS)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-7 (.489 SOS)
8. New York Jets, 4-7 (.516 SOS)
9. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-7 (.529 SOS)
10. Tennessee Titans, 4-7 (.537 SOS)

As you can see, the Patriots currently have the third-highest SOS, which could be a problem.

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But this really is about landing a top-three pick. If New England starts looking at tiebreakers with four- or five-win teams, it’s probably missing out on Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Marvin Harrison Jr. barring a trade.

Obviously, if the Bears, Cardinals and/or Panthers start winning games and the Patriots continue to lose, everything will work out. However, fans really should be zeroed in on Arizona.

The Cardinals will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday before enjoying their bye the following week. The Patriots will host the Chargers this Sunday before visiting Pittsburgh the following Thursday night. For the sake of argument, let’s say Arizona loses and New England suffers a defeat in both games — three likely outcomes.

If that plays out, the Patriots almost certainly will start Week 15 with the No. 2 overall pick. They’d have to receive some rotten luck over the next two weeks to fall behind the Cardinals in SOS.

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This stuff gets increasingly confusing the more you look at it. But there’s one uncomplicated fact to keep in mind: If the Patriots lose out, they’re guaranteed to land a top three pick in the draft.

Featured image via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images