4 NFC teams still ahead of Atlanta Falcons and 3 they have passed

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
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2. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions should have beaten the 49ers and earned another shot at the Chiefs. Their youth and playoff inexperience caught up with them in the second half of the NFC title game. San Francisco made better late decisions and held off what was a young and fun Lions team.

What reason is there to believe these two teams aren't the favorites once again? The Lions started last season with an upset win over the Chiefs and are one bad quarter away from a Super Bowl appearance. Give the Lions credit for what they accomplished and expect the team to take a step forward.

Yes, they can't fly under the radar now but they are an extremely talented roster with a myriad of young pieces expected to improve. Jared Goff has been the perfect fit at quarterback and the team's love for their head coach is obvious. It is going to be tough to beat this team come January.

Atlanta could pass them if...

Atlanta's path to beating Detroit is simple, the young players don't develop as expected and they can't get over choking away the NFC championship. Atlanta is well aware of how difficult moving past tough playoff losses can be.

If Detroit can't move on and Kirk Cousins is the best player on the field Atlanta would have a chance. In truth, this is extremely unlikely and the Lions should be heavily favored in this hypothetical matchup, however, it is on the table.