With the top two spots in the NFL Draft order locked up before Week 17 even started, the best the Atlanta Falcons could do after losing 44-27 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was land the No. 3 spot – if the Houston Texans could knock off the Tennessee Titans later in the day.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, the Texans lost and now the Falcons officially own the No. 4 pick in April's draft. Even though both Houston and Atlanta finish with the year 4-12 marks, the Texans have the higher pick (which is owned by the Miami Dolphins) because of lower strength of schedule. Atlanta has never held the fourth-overall pick in its draft history.
The order is decided by the strength of schedule of their opponents. Other tiebreakers include division tiebreakers, conference tiebreakers, interconference tiebreakers and then a coin toss. Remember, the NFL expanded the playoff format to seven teams from each conference beginning this year.
Below is the draft order of the 18 teams that would not make the playoffs if the season ended today, as per Tankathon.