The Chicago Bears' Thursday night victory over the Carolina Panthers won't affect the playoffs in any way, but does have major implications for the future of the Bears.
With the win, the Bears increased their odds of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Bears not only hold their own first-round pick in 2024, but — after a trade last offseason — also own the Panthers' first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Bears' narrow 16-13 win dropped Carolina to 1-8 on the season, tying the Panthers with the Arizona Cardinals for the worst record in football. The Cardinals have yet to have a bye week, which is why already have eight losses this season.
With Kyler Murray coming back, Arizona should be well positioned to steal a few wins down the stretch. Doing so could vault the Cardinals over the Panthers, making Carolina's first-round pick the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
It wasn't a pretty win for Chicago. Quarterback Tyson Bagent took care of the ball and executed the plays he was asked to run. And the Bears' defense made Panthers quarterback Bryce Young look like a struggling rookie.
But style didn't matter much in this one. The Bears took home the victory, and moved much closer to getting a franchise-altering superstar in next year's draft.