If you were hoping the Patriots would lose to the Bills so they could improve their chances of landing a top five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the last couple minutes of Sunday's game were a real roller-coaster.
The Patriots entered this Week 7 matchup as heavy underdogs, and despite falling behind 25-22 with 1:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, quarterback Mac Jones led his team on a game-winning drive punctuated with a touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki with 12 seconds left.
The 29-25 win improved New England's record to 2-5. The Patriots came into Sunday with the No. 6 pick in next year's draft, and they likely will remain in the top 10 after all of this week's game conclude.
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The Patriots could have been in a prime position for a top five pick with a loss to the Bills because three other one-win teams -- the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and New York Giants -- also won Sunday.
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The Patriots travel to Miami to play the first-place Miami Dolphins next weekend. That's one of the toughest games remaining on their schedule. But after that, the quality of their opponents really decreases.
They play the Commanders, Colts, Giants, Chargers and Steelers from Weeks 9 through 14. Those are five very winnable games, and their Week 11 bye is also included in that stretch. The end of the season is pretty difficult, with games versus the Chiefs, Broncos, Bills and Jets over the final four weeks.
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But the next six weeks give the Patriots an opportunity to win several games. Would that be enough to put them in the race for a wild card playoff berth? Probably not. But it might be enough to knock them out of the top 10 in the first round draft order. The worst case scenario for the Patriots is missing the playoffs, landing a pick outside the top 10 and not having the opportunity to draft one of the top prospects at quarterback, wide receiver or left tackle.
Here's the updated draft order. This top 10 will be updated when more Week 7 games finish.
10. Tennessee Titans, 2-4
9. L.A. Chargers, 2-4
8. Minnesota Viking, 2-4
7. Green Bay Packers, 2-4
6. New England Patriots, 2-5
5. New York Giants, 2-5
4. Denver Broncos, 2-5
3. Chicago Bears, 2-5
2. Arizona Cardinals, 1-6
1. Carolina Panthers, 0-6