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NFL Week 13 Playoff Picture & Draft Order: Falcons Straddling The Line

The Falcons could have a top draft pick, and yet somehow they're still very much in the NFL playoff hunt.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

As we roll into Tuesday and our lamentations for the Cleveland game come to end, we must look forward. Unfortunately, what lies ahead for the rest of the season is hazy, at best.

That's because the Falcons improbably have feet in two different worlds right now. On one hand, they're very much in the playoff picture in Week 13. With a hat tip to Niners Nation, here's a breakdown of how the tie breakers work and where the Falcons stand.

Playoff Picture & Tiebreakers

The NFL breaks up tiebreakers based on if it involves two clubs, and then three or more clubs. For the division, the only difference is in the first tiebreaker. For two teams, it is set at best won-loss-tied percentage between the two teams. For three or four teams tied, it is set at best won-loss-tied percentage AMONG the multiple teams. The Falcons obviously have a considerable advantage in the top tiebreakers, at least for the moment.

1. Head-to-head
2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference
5. Strength of victory
6. Strength of schedule
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed
9. Best net points in common games
10. Best net points in all games
11. Best net touchdowns in all games
12. Coin toss

Here's how the division breaks down. As you can see, if the Falcons managed to hang on to at least a tie in the division, they'd have no issue winning the necessary tiebreakers.

Team Overall Division Conference
Atlanta Falcons 4-7 4-0 4-4
4-7 2-1 4-4
3-7-1 1-2 3-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-9 0-4 1-7

On the other hand, if they don't win the division, they'll probably have a top ten draft pick. Here's the current draft order, via Bucs Nation. Please note that this was before the Saints-Ravens game Monday night:

Pick Team Record Strength of Schedule
1 JAX 1 - 10 79 - 71 - 1
2 OAK 1 - 10 82 - 59
3 TEN 2 - 9 73 - 76 - 1
4 TB 2 - 9 73 - 76 - 3
5 NYJ 2 - 8 65 - 65
6 WSH 3 - 8 77 - 84
7 NYG 3 - 7 83 - 69
8 CAR 3 - 7 - 1 72 - 68 - 1
9 ATL 4 - 7 67 - 70 - 3
10 MIN 4 - 7 65 - 64 - 1
11 STL 4 - 7 70 - 49
12 HOU 5 - 6 71 - 89 - 1
13 CHI 5 - 6 63 - 75 - 1
14 CLE via BUF 5 - 5 84 - 79
15 MIA 6 - 5 77 - 83
16 BAL 6 - 4 77 - 74 - 3
17 CLE 7 - 4 74 - 95 - 3
18 SD 7 - 4 74 - 77
19 SEA 7 - 4 71 - 58 - 1
20 SF 7 - 4 86 - 66
21 DET 7 - 4 64 - 85 - 1
22 KC 7 - 4 76 - 76
23 PIT 7 - 4 77 - 92 - 3
24 DAL 7 - 3 73 - 78
25 NO 4 - 6 81 - 79 - 3
26 IND 7 - 4 78 - 83 - 1
27 CIN 7 - 3 - 1 70 - 70 - 1
28 PHI 8 - 3 58 - 69 - 1
29 DEN 8 - 3 70 - 70 - 1
30 GB 8 - 3 76 - 75 - 1
31 NE 9 - 2 65 - 73 - 1
32 ARI 9 - 2 81 - 71

It is difficult to know how to feel about these scenarios. I'm guessing the majority of the fanbase just wants to see this season end with quality draft choices and some dignity intact. I want the wins, but I have no real illusions about where this team is heading even if they do pull off an NFC South win. The last eight weeks have beaten that out of me, and so what I hope for now is dignity, some quality play and one hell of an offseason, regardless of where the Falcons pick.

Your thoughts?