2024 NFL Draft order: Week 18 outcomes that can give the Chargers a top-3 pick

Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots
Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

Any hopes of the LA Chargers making the playoffs were dashed in Week 14 when the team not only lost to the Denver Broncos but also lost Justin Herbert for the rest of the season in the process. Since then, the Chargers are 0-3 and suffered a loss that was bad enough to get Brandon Staley fired.

The focus has directly been shifted to the upcoming offseason and the big holes that the organization must fill. In addition to filling the vacancies at head coach and general manager, the Chargers also need to fill several potential roster spots in the 2024 NFL Draft.

That is why losing has actually become a positive for the Chargers. The more the team loses the better draft pick it gets. As it stands heading into Week 18, the Chargers currently have the sixth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Chargers can move up or down based on what happens in Week 18 and it is actually possible for the Bolts to enter the top three. A lot of things would have to break the Chargers' way, but it is possible.

Outcomes that would give the Chargers a top-3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft:

Shoutout to Reddit user u/gimmer0074 for breaking down these scenarios on the Chargers subreddit. With strength of schedule being the draft tiebreaker, there are several games that may seem pointless that actually matter to the Chargers.

First, the Chargers need to lose. The Bolts are not moving up in the draft order with a win and would likely fall outside the top six. It feels wrong to root against your favorite team but trust us, this is the perfect time to do just that.

The Chargers can jump two spots in the draft rather simply. Both the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals would fall below the Chargers in the draft order with a win (assuming LA loses). New York has the same record as the Chargers heading into Week 18 while Arizona is one game worse but loses on the SOS tiebreaker.

The Chargers can leapfrog the Giants into the top five even if they lose in Week 18, though. If the Steelers, Jaguars, Saints, Commanders, Raiders and Packers all win then the Chargers would jump the Giants because of SOS. The only way to pass Arizona is if the Cardinals lose and the Chargers win.

Neither the Patriots or Commanders are safe from being leapfrogged, either. The Chargers are one game worse than both of those teams and there are outside outcomes that would help the Chargers' SOS tiebreaker, resulting in the Bolts passing either of the teams. Los Angeles can pass New England as long as:

  • Patriots defeat Jets
  • Steelers defeat Ravens
  • 3 of Colts, Jaguars, Saints, or Washington wins.

Meanwhile, the Chargers can pass Washington as long as:

  • Commanders beat Cowboys
  • Steelers, Jaguars, Broncos, Bears all win.

It is not out of the realm of possibility for the Patriots to beat the Jets, the Steelers to beat the backups on the Ravens, and three of those four other outcomes to happen. That alone would help the Chargers jump one spot and if they get really lucky, both the Giants and Cardinals would also win. That would give the Chargers the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Below is a rundown of all the outcomes you should be rooting for in Week 18. If all of these outcomes happen then the Chargers would have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Then, the team could take Marvin Harrison Jr. or trade down for an enormous haul.

  • Cardinals defeat Seahawks
  • Giants defeat Eagles
  • Patriots defeat Jets
  • Commanders defeat Cowboys
  • Steelers defeat Ravens
  • Colts defeat Texans
  • Jaguars defeat Titans
  • Saints defeat Falcons
  • Broncos defeat Raiders
  • Bears defeat Packers

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