After a rainy, low-scoring grudge match against the New York Jets, the Atlanta Falcons playoff chances are in question and they are sitting at .500 on the season. Nevertheless, they own the No. 1 spot in the NFC South standings. It may not have been a pretty win, scoring just one touchdown — a Desmond Ridder TD pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt — but the 13-6 victory has put the Falcons in control of the floundering division. Could a post-season run be in their future?
As we enter the home stretch of the 2023 NFL season, BetGeorgia.com, put on our Georgia sports betting hat and looked at the fate of 6-6 teams as a gauge of the Falcons’ playoff chances. Using the website ChampsOrChumps.us, we’ve collected the data of .500 teams through 12 games from the past 10 years.
The chart below will show you how the 50 teams with a 6-6 record over the past 10 years have fared by season’s end.
Season Performance of Teams Starting 6-6
If Georgia betting apps were available, the information in the table below would be useful for bettors. Below you'll see just how often 6-6 NFL make the playoffs.
Falcons Playoff Hopes By The Numbers
Based solely on the numbers above, the Atlanta Falcons playoff hopes are grim. Of the 50 teams we considered for this exercise, only 12 (about 24%) made it into the playoffs. That said, the vast majority of the 6-6 teams were not the division leaders, as the Falcons are.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times’ interactive playoff picture, there is a 63% chance of the Falcons finding a spot in the postseason. And although sports betting is not yet legal in the state of Georgia, the betting odds present an even rosier picture. On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Falcons are -215 to make the playoffs — representing a 68.25% implied probability.
If the Falcons want to make their playoff dreams a reality their offense needs to step up. Coach Arthur Smith clearly wants to run a hard-nosed, ground-and-pound, control-the-clock kind of program. And with the defense allowing just 20 points per game — the 7th fewest in the NFL — that unit is doing its job.
But on the other side of the ball, the plan isn’t working out. Despite having the third most rushing attempts in the NFL, the Falcons are 16th in rushing yards per attempt (4.2), with only 10 rush TDs on the season (four of which came from their QB Desmond Ridder). At least they’ve finally started to use first-round draft pick Bijan Robinson like the bell cow he was born to be — but the same cannot be said for their other ultra-talented first-rounders, TE Kyle Pitts and WR Drake London.
Of course, Falcons fans know all this already. Let’s be honest, Atlanta’s playoff chances rest upon the shoulders of QB Desmond Ridder. After poor play led to two weeks riding the bench mid-season, Ridder took back first-string duties from Taylor Heinicke in Week 12. In the two games since, he’s managed just a hair over 6 yards per attempt. Those are Mac Jones/Zach Wilson numbers. If Desmond Ridder can’t figure it out, then the odds of Atlanta making any serious playoff push may as well be zero.