Sunday was a bad day for the Patriots, as far as their hopes for any sort of relevance this season are concerned. It also was a horrible day for Bill Belichick and, especially, Mac Jones.

But it was a different story for New England’s 2024 NFL Draft hopes.

New England suffered a humiliating 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany. That result, along with others around the NFL, including the Arizona Cardinals beating the Atlanta Falcons, left the Patriots with the No. 3 pick in the draft.

Here’s where the top of the draft order stands ahead of Monday night’s matchup between the Bills and Broncos:

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1. Chicago Bears (via 1-8 Carolina Panthers)
2. New York Giants (2-8)
4. Arizona Cardinals (2-8)
5. Chicago Bears (3-7)
6. Green Bay Packers (3-6)
7. Los Angeles Rams (3-6)
8. Tennessee Titans (3-6)
9. Denver Broncos (3-5)
10. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

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There are a few important factors to go over.

First of all, the top tiebreaker is strength of schedule, with the team with the lower opponents’ winning percentage receiving the higher pick. The Giants, Patriots and Cardinals all are separated by just a few percentage points, with Arizona and New England especially close.

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— Panthers (to Bears): .512 SOS
— Giants: .522 SOS
— Patriots: .541 SOS
— Cardinals: .544 SOS
— Bears: .484 SOS

Note: Those are the winning percentages for all 17 opponents on each team’s schedule.

So, it’s possible the Patriots slip to the fourth overall pick if Buffalo beats Denver on Monday night. The Bills have played both New England and New York, meaning both teams’ strength of schedule would be impacted by a Buffalo win.

Regardless, this could be a close battle the rest of the way. And the Nov. 26 matchup between the Patriots and Giants at MetLife Stadium could have major implications for both franchises’ quests for a top-three pick.

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It’s also worth noting that the return of Kyler Murray could help New England on multiple fronts. In addition to helping Arizona win more games, Murray could raise New York’s opponents’ winning percentage, as the Giants and Cardinals played in Week 2.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for the Patriots. With their playoff hopes basically non-existent, the only thing to play (well, lose) for is a top draft pick.

Featured image via Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports Images