How Bears can secure the No. 1 pick in Week 17
David Banks - USA Today Sports

How Bears can secure the No. 1 pick in Week 17

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Since the playoffs are out of the question for Chicago, the focus for fans turns toward the draft. Because the Bears are sitting with the first-round pick for the Carolina Panthers as well as their own, it appears they should once again have the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

With the Panthers the only team with only two wins, there is one quite simple way for the Bears to secure the No. 1 overall pick during Week 17 - a Panthers loss. They will be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are fighting to win their division this coming Sunday (Noon / CBS), so that is a game they can easily lose. If that happens, then Chicago will secure the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row.

In the highly unlikely event, the Panthers were to win against the Jaguars, the alternative way for the Bears to secure the No. 1 overall pick would be if the Arizona Cardinals were to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday (Noon / FOX). That is probably less likely than the Panthers' victory, so having the Panthers lose would clearly be the easiest path to securing that highly-coveted pick.

Then, there is the matter of Chicago’s pick.

Right now, they are sitting with the No. 9 overall pick as they are one of two teams that are sitting with six victories. If Chicago were to lose their final two games, they would get the No. 8 overall pick in the draft as they have a lower strength of schedule compared to the New York Jets, the other team with six wins.

Some scenarios that could garner the Bears a higher pick would be for the Los Angeles Chargers to win one of their last two games. Because the Chargers beat the Bears, the Bears would get the higher pick in a one-on-one scenario. Also, Chicago most likely would still have a lower strength of schedule than the Chargers, and thus in a three-way scenario, the Bears would still get the higher draft pick. This could help Chicago get to No. 7 instead of No. 8.

Any tiebreaker with the New York Giants if they happened to win a final game, would also seem to favor Chicago. The Giants will have played the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles twice this season, making their schedule quite strong. With their final two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Eagles, it seems unlikely the Giants will win, although they were close last time they faced Philadelphia, and they would certainly want to beat a division rival.

Finally, a tiebreaker with the Tennessee Titans would most likely favor the Bears as well. They are in a division where all other teams are in contention for the division title with good records, skewing their strength of schedule. In the ideal scenario where all the Chargers, Giants, and Titans were to win, the Bears would have the potential to get all the way up to No. 5 overall.

That is not likely going to happen given the states of these teams, particularly the Los Angeles Chargers who appear to be in shambles after losing quarterback Justin Herbert for the season. But, if Chicago loses their final two games, they will still hold the No. 8 pick.

But if they win another game, that changes the scenario.

Six other teams currently have seven wins; however, most of those teams are in contention for the playoffs. Therefore, the picture will become clearer after week 17. Some of the teams currently in that bunch are teams Chicago lost to, such as the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos. However, it also includes the Las Vegas Raiders, who the Bears defeated, and the Atlanta Falcons, who they play this Sunday (Noon / CBS).

The draft picture is not all that clear right now but will become much simpler following the games on Sunday. For this weekend, Bears fans will be rooting for the Jaguars as well as the Giants, Chargers, and Titans.

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