Falcons NFL playoff odds, scenarios, and prediction ahead of Week 18

Breaking down the Falcons' chances and odds to make the playoffs and win the NFC South heading into the final week of the NFL season.

Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith looks up at the
Dec 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith looks up at the / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the tumultuous season the Falcons have lived through, here we are in Week 18 and they still have a chance of winning the NFC South.

Unfortunately, they aren't in control of their own destiny, but they'll have a shot when they take the field against the Saints on Sunday.

Let's dive into the odds for them to pull it off as well as what they need to happen.

Falcons playoff odds

The Falcons have some of the longest odds to make the postseason amongst the teams who are still alive. At +710 odds, they have an implied probability of 12.35% of making the playoffs. A $100 bet on them making the postseason would win you a profit of $710 if they're able to achieve the feat.

As a piece of advice, if you're going to bet on the Falcons to make the playoffs, you might as well bet on them to win the NFC South at +730. The Falcons are eliminated from the wild card picture so the only way for them to get in is by winning the division. For some reason, you can get better odds on them to win the division at +730, so you should do that instead of betting the +710.

Falcons playoff scenarios

The Falcons path, despite being unlikely, is extremely simple. They have just one path of winning the division and making the playoffs:

  • Falcons win (vs. Saints) + Buccaneers lose (vs. Panthers)

That's it. In order for them to make the playoffs by winning the division, they need to beat the Saints and the Buccaneers must lose to the Panthers. If that happens, all three teams will be at 8-9 and the Falcons will win the three-way tie via having the best record inside the division.

Now for the bad news. The Falcons are 3-point underdogs to the Saints in New Orleans and the Buccaneers would have to lose as 5-point favorites to the worst team in football. So, we need to upsets to happen including needing the worst team in the league to beat the Bucs.

It's a tall order, but it's certainly possible.

Falcons playoff prediction

Call me crazy, call me bias, but I think the Falcons can actually pull this off. There's precedent for this scenario, or at least one very close to it. Two years ago, the Indianapolis Colts needed the Pittsburgh Steelers to lose or to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, the worst team in the NFL, to make the playoffs.

The Colts went on to lose 26-11 to the 2-14 Jaguars and the Steelers beat the Ravens to advance to the AFC Playoffs.

We need that exact outcome this week and I think the Falcons can pull it off. The Falcons have already beat the Saints once this season and the Buccaneers barely escaped vs. the Panthers at home. Tampa Bay isn't as good as some people think, sporting a Net Yards per Play of -0.2 on the year.

The Falcons can pull it off and I think they're worth a bet at +730.

If you want to bet on the Falcons to win the division or just bet on them to beat the Saints in Week 18, be sure to place your bets over at FanDuel Sportsbook. If you click the link below to sign up for an account, you'll receive $150 in bonus bets when you place your first $5 wager!

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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

You can check out all of Iain's bets here!