Old Pats knew how to deal with this draft stuff

Winning Sunday night was a losing proposition for the Patriots. Their long-term interest is best served by disguising all 16 practice squad members as starters.

Give them lots and lots of playing time, with instructions to do everything that keeps them from advancing to the varsity roster.

Failing means gaining the highest pick possible in the NFL Draft. At 3-11 heading into their Christmas Eve at Denver, the Pats were already wobbling in the hunt for absolute futility.

That win at Pittsburgh earlier in the month was a gut punch to their top-pick chances. 

The Bears are in a great spot because they can win as long as Carolina keeps losing. The Panthers gave the Bears their first-round pick in a trade for wide receiver DJ Moore. 

Carolina need not engage in tanking. It is a pretty awful team no matter how hard they try to win.

Jacksonville  is next up for the Panthers. The Jags are hardly a powerhouse at 8-7, but they lead their division and are determined to join a mediocre playoff pool.

Ditto for Tampa Bay, against whom the Panthers close out their sorry season.

So for the Pats, the top pick is gone. 

Before Santa took flight Sunday night, their shot at the second pick was certainly credible. While those pesky stumblebums from Arizona would be tough to catch, on any given Sunday strange things can happen in the NFL Tankapalooza.

The Cards now can breathe much easier. Their three wins are almost assured of being their last

Now the Pats are in a stare-down with the Washington Commanders, the derelicts of DC, for the third pick. The Commanders are set to finish against San Francisco and Dallas. Both are home games, but Washington has proven its lack of mettle home and away,

The Pats are now slated for the fourth pick, as the Commanders, thanks to the tyranny of tiebreakers, now pick third.

Ah, if only the Patriots could take their cue from old Al Davis. The late Raiders’ guru would know just what this situation calls for:

Just lose, baby.