Bears' Rooting Guide for 2023 NFL Draft Implications of Week 12
The Chicago Bears reside in an ideal position for their 2023 NFL draft stock going into Week 12.
Chicago is projected to have the No. 3 overall pick in April. Only the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers sit in front of them at the moment.
One win from the Panthers and a loss by the Bears would shift the NFC North side further up the draft order.
A Carolina victory seems more likely on Sunday because it is at home against the Denver Broncos, while the Bears visit the New York Jets with an injured Justin Fields.
Fields is officially listed as questionable with his separated shoulder. A decision on his status will not be made until Sunday.
Even if Fields plays, the Bears will be at a disadvantage against a strong Jets defense. The goal for Week 12 should be for the Bears to play tight and lose and for teams around them in the draft order to win so that they can get closer to the No. 2 overall pick.
Panthers over Broncos
The Carolina Panthers have been dreadful all season.
That explains why the NFC South side is set to start its third different quarterback on Sunday. Sam Darnold will take over for Baker Mayfield.
Carolina could be inspired by Darnold's presence in the pocket to produce a positive result at home against the Denver Broncos.
Denver possesses a good defense, but its offense has not been able to reach the level of the other unit.
The Broncos scored under 20 points in each of their last five losses. Their only win in the last six contests came with 21 points.
Carolina has not been able to score on a consistent basis either. Darnold will not lead the Panthers to 30 points, but he could be competent enough to lead the Panthers to their fourth victory.
A Panthers win and a Bears loss to the Jets would move the Bears into the No. 2 overall pick. Chicago needs a few of the 3-7 teams in front of it to lose as well to solidify that position after it comes back from the Week 14 bye.
Texans over Dolphins
The Houston Texans have to win another game at some point, right?
Houston comes into Week 12 with a single win and a clear path to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
The Texans face a gargantuan task on Sunday versus the Miami Dolphins, but the circumstances could be perfect for a surprising victory.
Davis Mills has been benched in favor of Kyle Allen, so maybe the new quarterback provides a spark within the Texans offense.
The Dolphins should win the game easily, but they might sleepwalk through the first half, or longer, because of how significant the mismatch is on paper.
A Houston win is unlikely because its offense has not scored 20 points in five weeks and the same talent that struggled with Mills will still be on the field with Allen.
For Chicago's sake, the time is running out for Houston to earn a win. The Texans have Cleveland, Kansas City, Dallas, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Indianapolis left on the schedule.
There are not many projected wins on that schedule, so why not hope for an upset win with a new quarterback this week if you are a Bears fan?
Raiders over Seahawks
The Las Vegas Raiders offense displayed some positive signs over the last few weeks.
Las Vegas beat the Broncos in overtime in Week 11, and it scored 20 points in losses to Jacksonville and Indianapolis.
A Raiders win on the road in Seattle seems like the most likely result that could go in favor of the Bears' draft stock.
Las Vegas heads into the weekend with the No. 4 pick in the projected draft order at 3-7. The Raiders could test the Seattle secondary with its Derek Carr-Davante Adams duo.
Adams has three straight 100-yard performances. A fourth will be tough to earn against the Seattle secondary, but if he produces another high total, Las Vegas should have a good chance of winning on the road.
Las Vegas is one of eight teams with three losses, but it is one of just three teams that possess its own draft pick in the first round. Denver, the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland traded their selections away.
Chicago may have better luck rooting for the teams with their draft picks still in place over the next few weeks because the franchises that traded theirs away may not care about draft status.