3. Atlanta Falcons — Playoff Chances: 46 percent
It might seem like this is too many AFC teams, but this year's race is going to get wild and crazy. There are too many teams still within striking distance and now enough teams separating from the pack. Which is why we needed to add another NFC team to the list. Right now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on this list, which would make some think it should be impossible for the Atlanta Falcons to make it. However, there's room for both teams if you think the Saints are going to miss the playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons have been maddeningly inconsistent this season. That usually doesn't spell playoffs. They haven't taken advantage of the young stars on offense. Bijan Robinson looks like the next great running back one week, and then he's barely getting carries the next. Arthur Smith has been seriously criticized for his use of Robinson so far. It follows the use of Kyle Pitts and Drake London, two other very talented offensive players the Falcons used high picks on.
The hope with this pick is the Falcons learn from their mistakes and set new quarterback Taylor Heinicke up for success. Heinicke is really the key to the Falcons' playoff chances. It's pretty clear that Desmond Ridder can't hack it as a starter. Heinicke has already been in the playoffs before. Might as well ride the guy with experience.
This once again comes down to the schedule. The Falcons remaining games are Cardinals, Saints, Jets, Bucs, Panthers, Colts, Bears, and Saints to end the season. Of the future games, the Falcons are favorites in four of six (no line is out on the Bears or last Saints game yet). They still have two games with the Saints, a team they are trying to beat in the standings. Everything is really falling into place for the Falcons to win a wild amount of games in the second half.