On a weekend when they didn't lose a game, the New England Patriots still managed to gain a little ground.
They almost got much better in 2024.
On a Sunday full of near-upsets, the Patriots leap-frogged the New York Giants in the "race" for the No. 1 pick in next April's NFL Draft. They remain in No. 3, however, as the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers both lost to maintain their worse records than the Pats.
Heading into Week 12, the 1-9 Panthers (Chicago Bears) hold the No. 1 pick, followed by 2-9 Arizona at No. 2 and the 2-8 Patriots at No. 3. New England hasn't had a pick inside the Top 5 since 1994, when they selected future Patriots Hall of Famer Willie McGinest fourth overall.
In Sunday's action, the Panthers were blown out by the Dallas Cowboys, the Cardinals lost by only five against the Houston Texans and the Bears blew a late lead to lose in Detroit against the Lions.
With victories, the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams each moved to 4-6 to seemingly extract themselves out of contention for the No. 1 pick. With only two wins in 10 weeks it's difficult, for example, to envision the Pats winning two more games.
New England did get help from the New York Giants, which improved to 3-8 with an upset win over the Washington Commanders. The Pats host the Giants Sunday in Foxboro is pivotal game for the race to the No. 1 pick.