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What does Falcons-Panthers mean for NFL playoff picture and 2023 NFL Draft order

The Panthers host the Falcons on Thursday Night Football in Week 10 and both teams will impact the draft order AND the playoff picture. We break it down.

A general view of pre-game festivities prior to the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers kick off Week 10 when they meet in Charlotte for Thursday Night Football. On paper it seems like an ugly matchup with the Falcons ranking 16th in DVOA and the Panthers rankings 32nd. Atlanta is 4-5 and Carolina is 2-7, but this game has a whole lot on the line for both teams.

NFL playoff implications for Week 10 TNF

The Falcons are tied with the Buccaneers atop the NFC South, with Tampa holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. Atlanta is in eighth place overall, tied with Washington and a half game back of the 4-4 49ers for the final wild card berth. The Falcons hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers, so a win and a 49ers loss to the Chargers would move Atlanta into that final wild card berth for the time-being.

The Panthers might be rebuilding, but they’re also only two games out of first place in the NFC South. They lost to the Falcons in Week 8, so they would need a win in this game to move down the tiebreaker list. They’re currently in last place in the conference.

NFL Draft order implications for Week 10 TNF

The Panthers currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft order, behind only the 1-6-1 Texans. The Raiders, Steelers, and Lions are all 2-6 and a half game behind the Panthers. If Carolina wins, they would drop to no worse than eighth due to the matchups this week, but would likely be higher due to their strength of schedule tiebreaker edge on a lot of teams.

The Falcons are currently sitting in the 15th position in the draft order. If Atlanta wins and the Bucs or 49ers lose, the Falcons would move into either 19th or 20th in the draft order. If the all three teams win, Atlanta would move somewhere between 16th and 18th coming out of Week 10.