The Chicago Bears keep winning, but their chances of earning the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft keeping improving thanks to the lowly Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers have now lost six consecutive games after they fell 28-6 to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Carolina got just 137 passing yards on 36 attempts from Bryce Young, and they lost two fumbles en route to another defeat.
They now have a two-game cushion over the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals in the race for the top pick, but that selection will go to the Bears when the season ends.
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Here’s where things stand after Sunday afternoon’s games.
1 Chicago (via Carolina) 1-12
2 New England 3-10
3 Arizona 3-10
4 Washington 4-9
5 New York Giants 4-8
6 Tennessee 4-8
7 Chicago 5-8
8 New York Jets 5-8
The Panthers, thanks to six straight losses, are in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 pick in the draft. That selection would go to the Bears thanks to the trade that sent the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft to Carolina, leaving the 1-12 Panthers without a first-round selection.
The Panthers will play their next two games at home, with the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers coming to town. After a road trip to Jacksonville on New Year’s Eve, they’ll wrap up their season against the Buccaneers in Charlotte.
Despite a Thursday night win over the Steelers, the Patriots would still land the No. 2 pick in the draft if the season ended now. Their remaining schedule features trips to Denver and to Buffalo, along with home games against the Chiefs and Jets.
The Cardinals will have some tough games down the stretch after their bye week, with home tilts against the 49ers and Seahawks, as well as road games against the Bears and Eagles.
For the Bears’ own pick, they still have a superior strength-of-schedule tiebreaker over the Jets, as well as the Giants, Titans, Raiders and Chargers.
The Titans will take on the Miami Dolphins on Monday night, while the Giants will take on the Green Bay Packers.