CARDINALS CORNER

2024 NFL Draft order: Cardinals enter bye week in possession of No. 3 pick

Dec 4, 2023, 2:10 PM

Monti Ossenfort helps out during practice...

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Cardinals head into the bye week riding high after knocking off the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-10, on Sunday.

For the Cardinals, the time off gives them a much-needed — and long-awaited — break before a final four-game stretch to wrap up head coach Jonathan Gannon’s first year.

For the rest of us, it provides a perfect opportunity to get a better look at where Arizona sits on the 2024 NFL Draft board with just a month of the regular season left to play.

Current Arizona Cardinals 2024 NFL Draft pick outlook

1. Carolina Panthers *owned by Bears* (1-11)
2. New England Patriots (2-10)
3. Arizona Cardinals (3-10)
4. Washington Commanders (4-9)
5. Chicago Bears (4-8)
6. New York Jets (4-8)
7. New York Giants (4-8)
8. Tennessee Titans (4-8)

Arizona’s win over Pittsburgh could very well be the team’s best game of the season, building momentum and confidence that things are turning around in the desert.

What the signature win for Gannon didn’t help was the team’s spot in the draft order.

And ahead of both the Cardinals and Patriots sit the Carolina Panthers at No. 1, though that pick belongs to the Chicago Bears.

The rest of the way

Following the bye, the Cardinals’ final four matchups come against two playoff squads, a Wild Card hopeful and another team jostling for draft position near the top of the order.

Arizona’s four-game stretch post-bye begins with a home tilt against NFC West foe and playoff-contending San Francisco 49ers.

The road takes a much easier, yet colder, turn the next two weeks, with Arizona taking on Chicago in a Christmas Eve showdown before a tough New Year’s Eve matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles closes out the away slate for the Cardinals.

Finally, the Seattle Seahawks come to State Farm Stadium in Week 18 to put a big red bow on Year 1 for the Cardinals’ new regime.

Picking up wins against the 49ers (9-3) and Eagles (10-2), two teams fighting for playoff seeding in the hopes of making another run to the Super Bowl, are going to be tall tasks.

The same can’t be said against the Bears and Seahawks.

Chicago is right there with the Cardinals in terms of record at 4-8. For yet another season, it just seems like the Bears are a ship without a rudder.

Seattle meanwhile just isn’t consistent enough at 6-6 to strike fear like the 49ers and Eagles do, and have hit a wall behind three-straight losses.

Fours

No, I’m not talking golf.

Instead, I’m talking about Chicago and the four other four-win teams logjammed behind the Cardinals.

For reference:

4. Washington Commanders (4-9)
5. Chicago Bears (4-8)
6. New York Jets (4-8)
7. New York Giants (4-8)
8. Tennessee Titans (4-8)

So as much as everyone is looking at the teams ahead of the Cardinals, keeping tabs on the five four-win squads is equally as important due to one thing.

SOS!

The ship’s not sinking, but Arizona’s draft pick might thanks to their strength of schedule (.559), which is used as the first tiebreaker for draft order.

Out of the bottom 15 teams in the league, only the Cincinnati Bengals (.568), who are 5-6 and currently take up the 13th spot in the draft, have a harder schedule than the Cardinals.

Another win from the Cardinals and a similar showing by the five teams behind them could drop Arizona down a few rungs in a hurry.

That factor alone puts a whole lot more emphasis on the Cardinals’ Week 16 matchup against the Bears, who are currently the only sub-.500 team left on Arizona’s schedule.

Games to watch

No matter how the standings change this week, the Cardinals are cemented into that third spot.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t games to watch.

New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers

New England can’t move out of the No. 2 spot regardless of a win or loss on Thursday Night Football but would make it a lot tighter between the Patriots and Cardinals the rest with four games left.

But after Arizona just laid the hammer down in the Steel City, I imagine Pittsburgh is going to be running hot throughout the Week 14 matchup.

Mix that in with just how bad the Patriots are in 2023, and this has the makings of a blowout even with the Steelers’ questionable offensive attack after quarterback Kenny Pickett got injured Sunday.

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

The Bears, who are sitting pretty with the No. 1 pick originally owned by the Panthers, are coming off a bye after an improbable 12-10 win over Joshua Dobbs and the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12.

The competition is a whole lot tougher this week, though, with a home matchup against the NFC North-leading Lions next up on the docket.

New York Jets vs. Houston Texans

Aaron Rodgers is practicing again, but that’s no help to the Jets this week against rookie superstar C.J. Stroud and the Texans.

New York’s defense is stout, the offense is a struggle bus with quarterback Zach Wilson reportedly unwilling to return to a starting role when asked.

Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins

Rookie Will Levis has looked better than expected and Derrick Henry is just that dude.

The Dolphins, however, are one of the best teams in football and bolster an offense that is just too hot for most defenses to handle.

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers

Another game, another New York team with one of the worst offensive outputs across the NFL.

Oh yeah, and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is 16-0 in the month of December since taking over in 2019.

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