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Which teams to root for if your team has a shot at the 2nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

We discuss which teams you should root for if your team has a shot at the No. 2 overall pick.

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

There is one week left in the NFL’s regular season. 14 teams will be heading to the playoffs, while 18 teams will be eliminated and turning their attention to the upcoming 2024 NFL draft and offseason. The Chicago Bears are locked into the No. 1 overall pick, courtesy of the Carolina Panthers. Mathematically, the New England Patriots, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans all have a shot at the No. 2 overall pick.

The baseline for an NFL Draft order is the inverse of the final standings of the season. This means that the best team, the Super Bowl winner, will be picking last, while the worst team in the league record-wise will be picking first. Obviously, teams can trade their picks, so there is some variance. When tiebreaks arise, they are solved by the strength of the schedule first, followed usually by head-to-head matchups. Then, it varies on whether the teams are in the same division or conference, but eventually, there are enough tiebreakers in place to sort every team.

The strength of the schedule (SOS) is determined by the cumulative record of a team’s opponents. Teams that have identical records will then look at the strength of schedule with the tiebreaker going in favor of the team with a lower strength of schedule. This essentially means that they had the same record as the team they were tied with but had an easier schedule, so it should have been better. Also, strength of schedule is updated with every game result, so even though they have a certain strength of schedule ahead of the week, it is subject to change.

Draft order heading into Week 18

No. 1 — Chicago Bears (2-14) (via Carolina Panthers) — LOCKED IN
No. 2 — Washington Commanders (4-12, .515 SOS)
No. 3 — New England Patriots (4-12, .518 SOS)
No. 4 — Arizona Cardinals (4-12, .562 SOS)
No. 5 — New York Giants (5-11, .511 SOS)
No. 6 — Los Angeles Chargers (5-11, .526 SOS)
No. 7 — Tennessee Titans (5-11, .529 SOS)

What needs to happen for the Patriots to get the No. 2 pick?

New England needs to lose to the New York Jets, but they are favored by two points at DraftKings Sportsbook. They could use Washington and Arizona winning their games to try and take themselves out of it. New England fans will also be rooting for the Baltimore Ravens, the Houston Texans, the Atlanta Falcons, the Bears, and the Las Vegas Raiders, as wins by these teams benefit them the most over Washington and Arizona.

What needs to happen for the Commanders to get the No. 2 pick?

Washington needs to lose to the Dallas Cowboys. This should happen as Dallas is the lone double-digit favorite of the week and needs the victory to solidify a top-three seed in the NFC playoff picture. The Commanders could use the Patriots and Cardinals both winning their games. If the latter two teams ended up losing also, it would come down to an updated strength of schedule tiebreaker between the three teams.

What needs to happen for the Cardinals to get the No. 2 pick?

Arizona’s best chance at getting No. 2 has them losing to the Seattle Seahawks who are favored by 2.5 points. The Cardinals need the Patriots and Commanders to win, and if all three lose, it will come down to an updated strength of schedule.

What needs to happen for the Giants to get the No. 2 pick?

New York needs New England, Washington and Arizona to all win to even have a shot. The Giants would have to lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, and their strength of schedule would give them a shot if all three of the Patriots, Commanders, and Cardinals all won.

What needs to happen for the Chargers to get the No. 2 pick?

Los Angeles would need to lose against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are expected to be resting most of their starters. They need the Patriots, Commanders, Cardinals and Giants to all win. This would bring them into the conversation and it will come down to strength of schedule.

What needs to happen for the Titans to get the No. 2 pick?

Tennessee would need New England, Washington, Arizona, New York and Los Angeles to all win their respective games. They would enter the SOS sweepstakes but likely would have the best shot at moving up to No. 3.