Overreaction Monday: Falcons have a chance–but not really (UPDATED)

Here's a picture of the Falcons' players and coaches celebrating their tiebreaker situation. No, not really. (AP photo)

Here’s a picture of the Falcons’ players and coaches celebrating their tiebreaker situation. No, not really. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 2 p.m.)

Welcome back to Overreaction Monday, where we have absolutely nothing else to do today. So let’s grab the old Commodore 64 and ponder the astronomical odds of the Falcons making the playoffs.

FALCONS

Last week: Won at Jacksonville 23-17. Remaining games: Home against Carolina next week and New Orleans Jan. 3.

Overreaction narrative: “Playoffs? Hah! No, seriously . . .”

Realty check: Playoffs? Hah! No seriously. So, yeah, I’m saying there’s a chance. Cue . . .

So here’s the deal. The Falcons are 7-7. Their only chance of getting into the playoffs would be to finish in a three-way tie with Seattle and Minnesota for the two NFC wild card berths. The Hawks and Vikings both are 9-5. So the Falcons’ astronomical chances begin with this: They have to beat Carolina and New Orleans, and they have to hope Seattle loses to St. Louis and at Arizona, and Minnesota loses to the New York Giants and at Green Bay. That would leave all three with the same overall (9-7) and conference (6-6) records.

So that’s six things.

See only six things.

Wait, I’m not done yet.

Below are the tiebreakers to determine the wild card(s) when three or more clubs are involved.

(1) Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.

(2) Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)

(3) Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

(4) Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

(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 conference games.

(10) Best net points in all games.

(11)  Best net touchdowns in all games.

(12) Coin flip. (I’ve always wanted it to get down to a coin flip at some point because there would be mayhem and social media meltdowns, and I’m evil in that way.)

Seattle already has clinched a wild card spot Don’t ask how. They just have.

(UPDATE: The rest of the blog has been updated/corrected, affirming the correct tiebreakers and manner in which they’re decided.)

The fourth tiebreaker, common opponents, would not apply as the three teams don’t reach the minimum of four. Head-to-head counts in a two-way tiebreaker but not a three-way tiebreaker. Kinda, sorta.

The Falcons would need to win the sixth tiebreaker — strength of victory — over BOTH Seattle and Minnesota. Strength of victory is calculated by using opponents’ record in those nine victories by each team. The reason the Falcons must beat both teams in that three-team tiebreaker is because they would lose two-team tiebreakers to Minnesota (head to head) and Seattle (common games). (I know. It’s confusing.)

The strength of victory tiebreaker will change in the final two weeks, obviously. But as of today, this is where the three teams stand in strength of victory:

• Vikings’ opponents: 50-74 (.403).

• Falcons’ opponents: 38-60 (.388). (It obviously would increase with a win over current 14-0 Carolina.)

• Seahawks’ opponents: 46-79 (.368).

Now, with all of that said, is any of this going to happen?

OF COURSE NOT! For starters, the Falcons have to beat a Carolina team that waxed them 38-0.

But I hope I’ve impressed you with my math skills.

Reality check No. 2: As I mentioned in my column following the Falcons’ win over the Jaguars, finishing strong will say something as to what degree coach Dan Quinn still has the attention of players. The team’s finish also could be a factor in offseason plans, not just on the roster but the front office and the coaching staff. I’ll get into that more later this week.

Hawks guard Kyle Korver dribbles by Orlando's Victor Oladipo in the second half Sunday's game. (AP photo)

Hawks guard Kyle Korver dribbles by Orlando’s Victor Oladipo in the second half Sunday’s game. (AP photo)

HAWKS

Last six games: Three straight losses to Oklahoma City (road), San Antonio and Miami, followed by three straight wins over Philadelphia, Boston (road) and Orlando (road).

Overreaction narrative: “This team just isn’t the same. … Wait, this team is the same!”

Reality check: Yeah, I’m confused too. The other day I wrote a column about the shooting struggles of Kyle Korver, quoting him extensively on the difficulty of spending most of his offseason rehabilitating from ankle and elbow surgeries. Then Korver hit six of eight three-point attempts in Sunday’s 103-100 win at Orlando, including four of five in the fourth quarter — and the game-winner. So let’s wait a bit while before the dust starts to settle on this team before making any grand proclamations. The Hawks made a number of key decisions in the offseason that may or may not pan out, but it’s too early to make that call.

Recent ramblings

Reader Comments 0

39 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Hey! It all starts over again in Feb. 2016. Can all of those "We own the state comments". You can only own the state for one year....no matter how many you won in a row. Alabama owns Alabama, Clemson owns South Carolina, Florida owns Florida, and so on. Next team up. So be it! It's been fun.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg Merry Christmas TideDawg.......and all dawgs!.....nothing ever personal, just business.

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

I watched a wrasslin match once on TV.  Someone got the ref's attention outside the ring, and while he was arguing with that person another wrassler snuck into the ring and two began thumping all over one poor wrassler.  By the time the ref looked back in the ring, the second wrassler had done slipped out.  The crowd was screaming at the ref the whole time, "LOOK!!!"  But, he didn't look.


Sometimes my mind wanders and I think the Atlanta Falcons (and several other teams of futility) are only in the NFL to play the role of that team that always loses to the Harlem Globetrotters.  Sometimes I think those folk running the league in New York City know who is going to play in the Super Bowl ten years from now, kinda like FIFA knowing where the 2020 Soccer Bowl will be played. 

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

When everyone gave up on the Falcons they didn't give up on themselves. Why I have been a fan for 55 years....No playoffs, no worries. they are down but never was out.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @SomewherenSGa Do you think he might have watched some Green Bay, Dallas, KC......Hank Stram had some good teams back then?......but I guess you have to point out others mistakes for your kicks.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

He's talking about the Falcons, right?

Pouting again, gtcd?

If you don't want your mistakes pointed out, don't make mistakes. Otherwise, suck it up. Mistakes are made and cited every day on blogs. Don’t like it? Stay off the blogs. Above all, stop your incessant whining about it.

And if you don't want to constantly look childish on blogs, don't rub your team's rare victories over its rival in the face of that rival's fans day after day for a year with imbecile proclamations about GT "owning this state." (FYI, 2-13 is not ownership.)

And if you don't want to continuously appear hypocritical on blogs, stop puffing up and acting all indignant/insulted/sanctimonious when someone wearies of your tiresome boasting and finally calls you out on it.

Grow up and get a life.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket If you don't want to hear "We own this state" don't lose to us stupid.......and GFY sport, "you're" just a petty little man who gets a chubby pointing out others mistakes.......probably the last one picked on the playground...Merry Christmas Mrs. Landers.......LOL

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket 

So we're stupid because you were called out once again for being a whining hypocrite?

Is that how it works now?

Whhhhhhiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnneeee!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Big enough to stomp the crap out of you.

"Sport"??? Did you pick that up from the Bama fan you're constantly fawning over?

You sure you spelled "you're" correctly?

I didn't lose crap, and have I told you "we own this state"--even once, and even with our total dominance over your football program? Well? Have I?

Hell no!

Like I said, get a damn life, whining hypocrite. You clearly as hell need one.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket No......I meant you two were stupid in a biblical way!...Merry Christmas!......tell those dawgs to study harder!!....lol

Edgar
Edgar

This team quit after the middle of the season. Instead of playing to win a game against a division opponent they ran scared and cried to their coaches. This team needs to search within itself and find the toughness it needs to win in the NFL.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Edgar

A sadly familiar story over the past half-century in ATL.

TOJacket
TOJacket

We have no business in the play-offs this season anyway...........I would love to win the last 2 though!

DawgNole
DawgNole

As far as the Falcons, it all boils down to they shoulda/woulda/coulda won just one more game and we wouldn't need to worry--at this point--about all that higher-math gibberish.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


The shoulda woulda coulda's must have rubbed off the dogs. 

Eric_C
Eric_C

Hey, didn't the Falcons have a 98% chance of "making" the playoffs at one point? Anyway, if it doesn't pan out, a win this week would be the next closest thing...yeah, wrecking a perfect season by the Panthers.

slydawg
slydawg

Beasley has been playing with a torn labrum on top of being a rookie. Give the young man some time. Let's draft Nkemdiche and give him some help. Or Laremy Tunsil. Easy scouting job already done.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@slydawg Tunsil & Nkemdiche....two good choices, but Dimitroff has passed on good choices before. I think he probably won't have the last say on the next draft. His record is not good. Too bad the Falcons can't draft Alabama's front 7. There appears to be a lot of good D linemen in the next draft. If the Falcons can't get a top D lineman out of the next draft, there's more than Dimitroff that's a problem. They should have at least two picks out of the top 60 players in the draft.

Big Wally
Big Wally

This year, like the 2 years before, will be non playoff teams.  It goes back to Dimitroff and his horrible drafting.  Get rid of him and Pioli, let Quinn get a GM in here that will work with him, not against him, and let them see what they can do.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

The Falcons win out while the other wildcard teams lose their remains games, the Falcons go to the playoffs and win all the games making it to the Super Bowl where they beat the Texans. Rise Up.

BTC
BTC

She's still pretty hot, if you ask me...