Only one of the 12 drivers eligible for the year-long points title finished among the top five in qualifying.
Biffle turned in a lap around the 1.5-mile circuit in 28.807, while Kurt Busch was second in 28.811. Busch is 10th in the "chase for the championship."
"A first for Atlanta, a first for the season," Biffle said. "I'm kind of surprised we don't have a pole here."
This is the seventh in a series of 10 races that will determine the series champion, and Gordon has two victories in the first six. Johnson made up ground, however, with a victory last week at Martinsville.
Clint Bowyer is third in the chase, 115 points behind Gordon.