It’s only Week 5 in the NFL, but the playoffs will be here before you know it. The Falcons currently sit at 2-2 and will travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the 2-2 Buccaneers as both teams remain atop the NFC South. If you venture back to the offseason, Atlanta was in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft cycle. But they’re far outpacing those expectations with a chance to take sole possession of the division this Sunday. Regardless of the outcome, the Falcons’ schedule is extremely favorable the rest of the way — playoffs are possible. So, let’s check out the Falcons playoff odds.
I’m using FiveThirtyEight’s model, so these odds are subject to change depending on the site you use. Today, Atlanta currently has a 30% chance to make the postseason with an 8-9 record when using their traditional Elo forecast, which doesn’t account for their quarterback-adjusted model — just 17%. FiveThirtyEight sees the NFC playoff picture as below:
Traditional Elo Forecast
- 1st seed: Philadelphia Eagles (87% chance to make playoffs)
- 2nd seed: Green Bay Packers (81%)
- 3rd seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (79%)
- 4th seed: San Francisco 49ers (65%)
- 5th seed: Dallas Cowboys (74%)
- 6th seed: Minnesota Vikings (72%)
- 7th seed: Los Angeles Rams (57%)
- In the Hunt: Seattle Seahawks (34%), Arizona Cardinals (31%), Atlanta Falcons (30%), New York Giants (28%)
Some of this is just shocking, which is why analytics will always have a flaw. The Seahawks are clearly the worst team in the NFC West, but all teams remain 2-2, so I guess the models figure that’s worth something. However, these aren’t the quarterback-adjusted models, so we’ll look at those too to see how Marcus Mariota affects the Falcons’ chances at making the postseason.
Quarterback-Adjusted Elo Forecast
- 1st seed: Philadelphia Eagles (94% chance to make playoffs)
- 2nd seed: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (85%)
- 3rd seed: Green Bay Packers (81%)
- 4th seed: San Francisco 49ers (71%)
- 5th seed: Minnesota Vikings (76%)
- 6th seed: Dallas Cowboys (74%)
- 7th seed: Los Angeles Rams (52%)
- In the Hunt: Arizona Cardinals (36%), New York Giants (35%), Seattle Seahawks (22%), Atlanta Falcons (17%)
The Falcons playoff odds are severely hindered with Mariota under center, but it doesn’t take some advanced algorithm to figure that out. The veteran signal caller has had several costly turnovers, including one in the red zone against the Saints that essentially cost them the game. Regardless of the angle, the Falcons have a difficult road ahead if they want to play meaningful games in January. But it’s not all bad. Atlanta wasn’t expected to compete; after all, they have the least amount of cap dollars allocated to active rostered players. This is still a rebuilding team.
Photographer: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire