The New England Patriots are not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but their path to the postseason has dwindled considerably with a Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Pats need to win all of their three remaining regular season games and get a lot of help from teams above them in the standings.
It's almost time to focus attention squarely on the upcoming offseason, and specifically the 2021 NFL Draft.
Where are the Patriots currently slotted to pick in the first round of next year's draft? Here's the updated draft order for teams not in a playoff spot entering Week 15 (via Tankathon).
- New York Jets, 0-13
- Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-12
- Cincinnati Bengals, 2-10-1
- Dallas Cowboys, 4-9
- Los Angeles Chargers, 4-9
- Carolina Panthers, 4-9
- Atlanta Falcons, 4-9
- Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans, 4-9)
- Philadelphia Eagles, 4-8-1
- New York Giants, 5-8
- Detroit Lions, 5-8
- San Francisco 49ers, 5-8
- Denver Broncos, 5-8
- Minnesota Vikings, 6-7
- Chicago Bears, 6-7
- New England Patriots, 6-7
- Las Vegas Raiders, 7-6
- Baltimore Ravens, 7-5
The Patriots are in a less-than-ideal spot, to say the least. They are nowhere close to a top five pick and yet they still have very little chance to earn a playoff spot.
It's possible the Patriots could move higher in Round 1 if they lose a few more games and teams around them win. However, unless the Patriots give an abysmal performance and lose to the winless New York Jets at Gillette Stadium in Week 17, it's hard to envision New England not finishing with at least seven wins. Seven victories almost certainly isn't going to get you a top 10 selection.
The biggest issue for the Patriots regarding their current draft position is they probably won't be able to select one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class. Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields and BYU's Zach Wilson all are expected to be picked in the top 10.
Will the Patriots be willing to trade up to find their quarterback of the future? Some of it might depend on where their first-round pick lands, and right now, it's not in a great position.