NFL Draft scenarios in Week 18: How Commanders, Patriots can clinch the No. 2 pick

Let's take a look at what it will take for either the Washington Commanders, the New England Patriots or the Arizona Cardinals to end up with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders / G Fiume/GettyImages
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The No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft was decided last week. With the Carolina Panthers' latest loss, the Chicago Bears will have the No. 1 selection this spring because of the Panthers' decision to move up to draft Bryce Young No. 1 overall out of Alabama last year. Where things stand now, only three, maybe four teams have any realistic shot of getting the No. 2 pick.

Eric Edholm of NFL.com outlined perfectly what it is going to take for the Washington Commanders, the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals to finish with the second-worst record in the league. All three teams are 4-12 entering the final week of the regular season. Of the teams with a 5-11 mark, only the New York Giants have a shot at the No. 2 overall pick, but it feels like a pipe dream.

For the Giants to get the No. 2 pick, Arizona, New England and Washington would all have to lose on Sunday, as New York has the worst strength of record among them. This is the first tiebreaker that will be used in determining who could get the No. 2 overall pick. Keep in mind that Washington owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over New England, as the Commanders beat the Patriots back in Week 9.

Without further ado, let's break down what it will take for any of these teams to get the No. 2 pick.

NFL Draft: How Commanders, Patriots, Cardinals end up with No. 2 pick

Each team is listed based on their current draft order heading into the final week of the NFL season.

Washington Commanders' pathway to No. 2 overall pick

Barring any ties in games that will play a part in the strength of record tiebreaker, the Commanders would beat out the Patriots for the No. 2 overall pick in either one of these two Week 18 scenarios.

  • New Orleans Saints win over Atlanta Falcons, plus two of the following four teams lose: Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans.
  • Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans all lose.

New England Patriots' pathway to No. 2 overall pick

The Patriots owning the head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington because of their loss to the Commanders earlier in the season means New England would get the No. 2 pick if their strength of record mark is equal to the Commanders, or worse. There are two other paths in which the Patriots can end up with the No. 2 overall pick should they and the Commanders both lose this weekend.

  • Atlanta Falcons beat New Orleans Saints, plus at least two of the following teams lose: Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas Raiders all lose.

Arizona Cardinals' pathway to No. 2 overall pick

And for the Cardinals, there is only one way that Arizona can end up with the No. 2 overall pick.

  • Arizona Cardinals must lose to Seattle Seahawks, Washington Commanders must beat Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots must beat New York Jets.

If Arizona loses and either the Commanders or Patriots lose, the Cardinals will pick third. If all three teams in question lose, Arizona picks fourth. While Arizona only has one shot at the No. 2 overall, the Cardinals could fall all the way to No. 7 with a win over Seattle. This is because losses by the Giants, the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers would give Arizona the worst strength of record.

While Washington and New England have a great shot at the No. 2 overall pick, Arizona will need help.

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