I'm still not very impressed with the Falcons. Their entire team is basically built around 4 players: A QB, two WRs, and a very old but very good TE. I feel that if Seattle played at Atlanta ten times, Atlanta would win twice. The fact that we spotted them 20 at halftime and still should have won says it all. The way we lost in the Falcons game reminded me a little of when the Saints lost to us in the 2010 WC round. Everyone knew the Saints were far superior, but we had homefield and a lot of unusual things happened in our favor.
I'd be mildly surprised if the Falcons made the playoffs next year. New Orleans will probably win 10 games. Carolina finished the season with the look of an 11 win team. Tampa is very talented and if Freeman has a good year they could be scary. The Falcons are IMO the least talented team in that division, but they have a great home field advantage and a great passing offense. And as good as Matt Ryan is as a QB, I was shocked at how weak his leadership was in the playoffs. His confidence is about as steadfast as Jay Cutler's or Tony Romo's.
I also wouldn't be surprised if the NFC West produced 3 playoff teams next year. I think the Rams might have 10 wins in them if they continue their rate of improvement.
I tend to agree about the Falcons. I can understand the fans wanting Gonzo back very badly, but the team and players pushing for it as hard as they did, instead of a next man up or draft a successor in a great TE class this year, or improve defensively, get a running game established, is telling. He is IMO the greatest TE talent the NFL has seen, and I don't fault them for making him feel a comeback would be awesome, but actively intruding on his offseason like they did smacks of a desperation that they shouldn't be subscribing to in their position.