The Chicago Bears found themselves in an interesting position on Thursday night, as a win over the Carolina Panthers would improve their chances of earning the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Bears picked up a 16-13 victory in the game, bringing their record to 3-7 on the season. The Panthers meanwhile fell to 1-8, tied for the worst record in the NFL this season.
As fans undoubtedly know already, the Bears own not just their first round pick in the 2024 draft, but the Panthers’ first round selection as well, thanks to the spring trade that helped Carolina land quarterback Bryce Young in the draft.
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The Bears could potentially end up with two high draft picks, and according to ESPN Analytics, their victory Thursday boosted their odds of scoring the No. 1 pick for the second year in a row.
The win boosted the Bears’ chances of earning the No. 1 pick, either with their selection or with Carolina’s selection, to 43%, the highest percentage in the league.
A loss would have dropped the Bears’ chances to 28%, according to ESPN.
If the season ended now, the Bears would own the top pick, as the Panthers’ record is tied with the Arizona Cardinals for worst in the league. The Panthers’ strength of schedule is lower than Arizona’s giving them the tiebreaker for draft purposes.
With a 3-7 record, the Bears have slipped behind the New York Giants and New England Patriots, and would pick fifth in the draft if the season ended now.
The Cardinals will take on the Atlanta Falcons this weekend, while the Patriots will face off against the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany. The Giants will head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.