What History Says About NFL Teams After Clinching Playoff Berth in Final Week

What History Says About NFL Teams After Clinching Playoff Berth in Final Week
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Atlanta Falcons playoff chances are still alive, but it’s far from an easy path for coach Arthur Smith’s team.

Their postseason hopes rely on two outcomes. First, the Falcons must go to New Orleans and beat the Saints in both teams’ regular season finale. Then, they need the Carolina Panthers, owners of the league’s worst record, to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If both happen, the Dirty Birds will win the NFC South and earn their first playoff spot since the 2017 season.

Atlanta’s far from alone in still holding out hope for a trip to the postseason. Five spots remain unfilled across both conferences, and 11 teams still have mathematical chances of landing one of them. But do teams that get into the postseason in their regular season finales have a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy next month? That’s what BetGeorgia.com wanted to find out.

Utilizing Champs or Chumps, BetGeorgia.com - known for our Georgia sports betting news and updates - looked at how far teams advanced after clinching a playoff spot in the last week of the season since the 2013 NFL season. There have been 29 teams to earn a playoff spot in the final weekend over the last 10 seasons.

Playoff Performance of NFL Teams Clinching in Last Week

SituationNumber of Teams Percentage
Winning Wild Card Round15 of 2951.7%
Winning Divisional Round2 of 296.9%
Winning Conference Championship0 of 290.0%
Winning Super Bowl0 of 290.0%

Been There, Done That

Atlanta happens to own one of those 15 first-round playoff victories. On New Year’s Eve in 2017, the Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers 22-10 to finish the season with a 10-6 record, good enough to secure a Wild Card berth in the NFC playoffs. The following weekend, they went on the road and knocked off the Los Angeles Rams 26-13. However, their season ended on Jan. 13, 2018, with a 15-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

For Sunday, the Falcons are the underdog. They’re getting three points at ESPN BET against the Saints. The new PENN Entertainment sportsbook also offers odds on Atlanta winning the Super Bowl. However, given what needs to happen just for the Falcons to make the playoffs, the odds for them to win the championship are 500-1.

Sports betting is not yet legal in Georgia, but BetGeorgia.com will be your source for the latest developments in the state legislature as lawmakers discuss whether it should be allowed. We will also be sure to have all the best Georgia sportsbook promos the minute they become available.



Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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