The Falcons’ best chance of making the postseason is by way of winning the NFC South, which is still anyone’s division.
With the Saints falling to the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, the winner of the Falcons and Buccaneers Week 7 tilt in Tampa Bay will be in sole possession of the division. To say a Week 7 contest is a must-win game is a bit overzealous, but maybe it isn’t in this situation.
Atlanta currently has a 25% chance of winning the NFC South. If they fall in Tampa, that figure drops to 18% but rises to 38% with a win. That’s a 20-point swing, according to the New York Times odds calculator.
According to PFF, the two clubs have the most at stake this week. Pro Football Focus’ numbers are a bit different than the NYT, but they tell the same story — the winner of this game will be in the driver’s seat.
The Buccaneers will sit at a 73% chance of making the postseason with a victory and a 40% chance if they lose; that’s 33% of leverage. For the Falcons, according to PFF, those numbers are 48% chance of a playoff berth with a win and 19% if they fall in Tampa, which is 29% of leverage.
It won’t be the end of the world for either club because there are still plenty of division matchups left to play, but this is by far the most important game of their respective seasons, in terms of playoff implications.
The Falcons haven’t won on the road with Desmond Ridder under center, and the Buccaneers with Baker Mayfield are the most well-rounded team in the division. The odds certainly aren’t in the Dirty Birds’ favor.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire