4. 2012 Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
The Falcons started the year off strong, going 8-0 before losing to the Saints. They ended the year winning the NFC South with a 13-3 record. Matt Ryan led an explosive offense throwing for over 4700 yards and 32 touchdowns. The dependable Roddy White pitched in with 1351 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns, while the second-year Julio Jones took a huge step forward in posting almost 1200 yards and 10 touchdowns. The biggest surprise was veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez who caught 93 receptions for 930 yards and was a major target for Gonzalez in the red zone. On the rushing side, Michael Turner led a pretty mediocre rushing attack with 800 yards. In the postseason, the Falcons faced the Seahawks in the divisional round. Despite throwing away a 20 point lead in the 4th quarter, a Matt Bryant field goal won them their first game in the postseason for almost a decade. In the NFC championship game, the Falcons again jumped out to a big halftime lead and squandered it in the 4th quarter. This time, they were unable to make a comeback as the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl.