There was a point last NFL season, it was after Week 4 in fact, that we all thought the Atlanta Falcons were the best team in the NFL. It's true. I looked it up. They had started the season beating up on Kansas City 40-24 at Arrowhead. And this was back when everyone -- fans, pundits, Matt Cassel's family -- all believed that the Chiefs were loaded with so much talent they'd shimmy to the playoffs. Then there was that win against the Broncos on "Monday Night Football" in Atlanta. We beat Peyton! We're on prime-time TV! We're a sports town, we swear! After that came a dismantling of the Chargers in San Diego, which, despite the fact we all know better when it came to Norv Turner teams, seemed to impress us. Then came the Matt-Ryan-is-a-winner-moment against Carolina: With less than a minute left and his team down 28-27, Matty Ice was on his own 1-yard line. He completed a miracle 59 yards downfield to Roddy White and, after that, Matt Bryant kicked the game winner.
Ta-da. The Falcons are going to the Super Bowl!
They'd go on to win their next four games and begin the season 8-0. One problem, it was all an illusion, with the undefeated run an inaccurate reflection of how not-so-great Atlanta was. In hindsight, which never suffers from glaucoma, every win could be picked apart to reveal Atlanta's fatal flaws.