Week 13 of the 2019 NFL season is nearly over, with just Monday Night Football between the Seahawks and Vikings left on the slate. The Falcons, as you may have heard, lost a surprisingly close and extremely frustrating game against the hated New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving. After a two-game stretch of excellent performances, Atlanta has returned to the dregs of the NFL.
For those hoping to enjoy good, competitive football from this team that’s a bad thing. But for those hoping that the Falcons can still luck out in the Chase for Young, it’s pretty good news. With Week 13’s loss, Atlanta fell to 3-9, and is currently slated to possess the 5th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Below are the current NFL Draft standings after the conclusion of Week 13’s games. If you’d like to see the entire standings, you can find them here.
NFL Draft 2020 Top 10
|2||New York Giants||2-10||.466|
|9||New York Jets||4-8||.484|
|10||Los Angeles Chargers||4-8||.510|
As you can see, the Falcons’ pick didn’t change much compared to last week. Perhaps more interestingly, however, was the fact that 3 of the 4 teams ahead of Atlanta wound up winning. The Bengals notched their first win of the season in a surprisingly good performance against the Jets, while Washington and Miami took advantage of the struggling Panthers and Eagles, respectively, to improve to 3-9 themselves.
This has created a 3-way tie for the 3rd overall pick, in terms of record. Unfortunately for the Falcons, their absurdly high strength of schedule (SOS)—.566, 2nd in the NFL—will cause them to lose ties in just about every situation. Somewhat comically, the Bengals (.573) are the only team with a higher SOS in 2019.
That high SOS means Atlanta needs more help than usual to climb the draft pick standings. Fortunately, several of 4 teams ahead of the Falcons play each other—which means Atlanta could benefit from those teams notching a few more wins. Here are the remaining schedules for the 4 teams ahead of the Falcons:
Giants: @ Eagles (5-7), Dolphins (3-9), @ Washington (3-9), Eagles (5-7)
Dolphins: @ Jets (4-8), @ Giants (2-10), Bengals (1-11), @ Patriots (10-2)
It seems likely that the Dolphins, in particular, could win 2 of their remaining 4 games, while one of the Giants and Washington is guaranteed to win at least 1 more game. Of course, it’s always possible that other strange things happen—like the Dolphins beating the Eagles—that further complicate matters.
Looking at Atlanta’s remaining schedule—Panthers (5-7), @ 49ers (10-2), Jaguars (4-8), @ Buccaneers (4-8)—the Falcons also have chances to win a few more games. The Falcons seem to have Carolina’s number under Dan Quinn, so could certainly pull off another W this week—and also face two other opponents with losing records in Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. I think the Falcons could win anywhere between 1-3 of their remaining games.
If Atlanta winds up losing out, they could very well end up with a top-3 pick—although climbing past the Giants and/or Bengals is probably impossible at this point. If the Falcons somehow find a way to win out—finishing 7-9—they’ll likely wind up picking in the teens. My best guess is that the Falcons finish either 4-12 or 5-11, which probably nets them a pick in the 4-8 range.
What pick do you expect the Falcons to wind up with? Who would you have them taking at that spot in the 2020 NFL Draft?