It is very rare that a victory would improve a team’s draft spot. On Monday night however, it rang true for the Chicago Bears.
The Bears beat the Carolina Panthers 16-13. For Chicago, though, it allowed the Panthers to remain with the NFL’s worst record, leaving the Bears with the first overall pick for 2024.
The Bears own the Panthers’ first round selection as well, thanks to the spring trade that helped Carolina land quarterback Bryce Young in the draft.
The win boosted the Bears’ chances of earning the No. 1 pick, either with their selection or with Carolina’s selection, to 43%, the highest percentage in the league.
A loss would have dropped the Bears’ chances to 28%, according to ESPN. Chicago’s victory was led by running back D’Onta Freeman.
Freeman was released by Carolina a year ago and scored a touchdown in the Thursday Night victory.
If the season ended now, the Bears would own the top pick, as the Panthers’ record is tied with the Arizona Cardinals for worst in the league.
The Panthers’ strength of schedule is lower than Arizona’s giving them the tiebreaker for draft purposes.