The Chicago Bears are coming off another loss that never should have happened. The Bears had over a 90% probability of coming out of Cleveland with a victory, but once again found a way to shit the bed so-to-speak. This loss combined with the last-minute losses to the Broncos and Lions is why the Bears are most likely not making the playoffs in 2023. If they win out, their playoff chances are slim to none and they'd need a lot of help from other teams.
As the 2023 season starts to come to an end, the Chicago Bears find themselves in a position to win their final three games against weak opponents. On Christmas Eve, the Bears will face the Arizona Cardinals in a game some are dubbing the Tank Bowl.
Chicago has a 5-9 record, while the Cardinals sit at 3-11. Chicago also currently has the fifth-overall pick in the 2024 Draft, but that could change drastically over these final three weeks. Should the Bears beat the Cardinals, they will likely drop in the draft order, but beating the Cardinals could be key to them having the ability to trade down using the Panthers' pick and still have a shot at Marvin Harrison, Jr.
This is great and all, but in reality, three other teams' schedules mean more to the Chicago Bears right now than their own schedule. Those teams include the Panthers, Commanders and Patriots.
As it stands, the Panthers still hold the top spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. That pick of course belongs to the Bears. With a 2-12 record, the Bears are hoping the Panthers cannot find a way to win another game this season. If that happens, then the Bears will come away with the top pick in the draft in consecutive years. The Panthers have a tough schedule for a team that has consistently struggled. They face the Packers, Jaguars and the Buccaneers.
This will be one of those few times I'll be happy the Packers win a game. I like the chances the Panthers lose all three, but if they don't, we need to look at the next two teams on the list.
The Patriots' schedule is the next most important of the group. The franchise that once ruled the NFL finds itself struggling to win games. At 3-11, the Patriots currently own the second spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. They face the Broncos, Bills and Jets. Out of those three teams, I only see them potentially beating the Jets. The Broncos and Bills are still fighting for a playoff spot. The Jets are officially eliminated. If the Panthers win one game and the Patriots lose all three of their games, then it's possible the Patriots finish the year with the first-overall pick.
The Commanders have lost five games in a row and seem to be playing their way into a top five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. As it stands, the Commanders own the fourth pick in the draft. If they lose out and the Patriots or Cardinals win another game, then the Commanders could leap-frog both of those teams in the draft. As you can see, the top five picks of the draft could still shake out differently than it currently stands and the chances of the Bears landing that top spot has fallen slightly after a Panthers victory over the Falcons in Week 15. We need to see that team keep losing.
Ryan Poles finds himself in a unique situation again and I want him to hold all the cards with the top pick in the draft — not because the Bears were the worst team in the NFL again, but because the Panthers prove to be.