Panthers vs. Bears could have big impact on pursuit of No. 1 pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Panthers vs. Bears could have big impact on pursuit of No. 1 pick in 2024 NFL Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Bears find themselves with a 2-7 record as the season passes its halfway mark, but despite their putrid performance of late, they aren’t in the top spot in the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

In fact, they aren’t even in second place right now, technically.

The Bears will have their fate in their hands in coming weeks however, as they take on several of the teams that could be competing with them for that selection.

Here’s where things stand, and where things could go in the weeks to come.

The Current Draft Order

1 Arizona Cardinals 1-8

2 Carolina Panthers* 1-7

3 Chicago Bears 2-7

4 New York Giants 2-7

5 New England Patriots 2-7

The Cardinals currently own the top spot in the draft order with a 1-8 record, currently sitting one-half game ahead of the Carolina Panthers in a battle of one-win teams.

The Panthers are one-half game ahead of the Bears, having played one fewer contest than Chicago this season.

The Panthers’ pick will convey to the Bears as a result of the trade that sent the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to Carolina, with this year’s first round pick and wide receiver DJ Moore coming to the Bears.

As for the Bears, their record is good for the No. 3 pick at this time. They have a weaker strength of schedule than either the Giants or Patriots, earning them the tiebreaker among the 2-7 teams, according to Tankathon.

If the Panthers Win vs. Chicago

If the Panthers win, they would go to 2-7 on the season. The Bears would drop to 2-8, and their win percentage would drop to .200, vaulting them back into the No. 2 pick prior to Sunday’s action.

The Panthers would drop back to the third pick in the order, giving the Cardinals a half-game lead over Chicago.

If the Bears Win vs. Carolina

If the Bears win Thursday’s game at Soldier Field, they would go to 3-7 on the season and would then drop all the way to No. 6 in the draft order, with a winning percentage of .300.

That Panthers loss would put them in a tie with Arizona at 1-8 in the standings, but Carolina would likely jump over them with their strength of schedule tiebreaker factored in.

How the Schedules Look After This Week:

The Bears have seven games left in the season after their game vs. the Panthers. Four of those will be against teams currently in the playoffs, including two against the division-leading Detroit Lions.

Their final three games of the season will be against Atlanta, Green Bay….and Arizona, with the Cardinals coming to Soldier Field on Christmas Eve.

Speaking of the Cardinals, they have a game this week against the Falcons. Of their eight remaining games, four are against teams currently in the playoff hunt, including four of their last five contests, culminating with games against the Eagles and Seahawks.

After their contest against the Bears, the Panthers will have only three games left against teams currently in the playoffs, including the Saints and Jaguars, but five games remaining against non-playoff foes.