The Atlanta Falcons came practically out of nowhere in 2016 to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LI. And while they lost, what the Falcons achieved in just getting to the big game exceeded expectations in a major way.

With a 6-10 record in 2014 and an 8-8 record last year, Atlanta appeared to be at least another year two way from being able to compete with the big guns in the NFC.

Then Matt Ryan exploded with his best year on record while the defense turned up the heat and morphed into a very competitive unit in the second half of the year and into the playoffs. Ultimately they fell short of the goal but gave the eventual Champs all they could handle in the process.

This leads us to wonder, which teams will surprise us in 2017?

Which teams are being dismissed as incapable a competing at the highest level despite the fact that they may not be as far away from achieving greatness as it appears at first glance?

Which teams have a chance to be the 2017 version of the Atlanta Falcons? That’s what we’re going to explore here.