The Atlanta Falcons are not getting the credit they are due. First, the finally won a playoff game. Second, they came very close to representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. I feel like I am disrespecting them for ranking them this low, since they have actually improved their roster over last year.
If I were to look for a reason, I'd have to go back to the eye test. I don't trust this team. In a way, they are like the Houston Texans - always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That said, with their home dominance, this team will absolutely be in the thick of things come January.
5. Atlanta Falcons (2012 Record: 13-3)
The best team in the NFC got farther in the playoffs than the best team in the AFC last year, but in the end it was a different team representing the conference in the Super Bowl. They also had the unenviable task of stopping both Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick in back to back weekends and darn near pulled it off.
I would have ranked them higher, but I think they only really got one solid player out of this years' draft in Desmond Trufant. The went cornerback with their first two draft picks, but they really should have went after some speedy outside linebackers to corral these read options quarterbacks that they'll be facing in both their division and in the playoffs.
I see the Falcons slipping a bit next season as the Saints should surge back into relevance in 2013, but in the end the Falcons will maintain their hold on the AFC South. I'm just not sure they match up well against the sudden shift to the read option style offenses they will face in the NFC moving forward.