Yes, all of these teams suffered from some key injuries throughout the season but that is no excuse, good teams are able to overcome injuries. These are not good teams.
5. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are probably the most habitual member of this list. It seems at the beginning of every season Jerry Jones somehow sells us all on the Cowboys being contenders only to have "America's Team" fall short every year. Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, an injury to Tony Romo in the second to last game of the season most likely saved Jason Garrett's job. This means that Cowboys fans can most likely look forward to an identical season next year hopefully resulting in Garrett being fired.
4. Detroit Lions
The Lions are a superbly talented team on paper but they have a fatal flaw in team discipline. That flaw is what ultimately cost Jim Schwartz his job. Correcting the discipline issues will most likely be the main focus of the new coach. If the Lions front office does a good job in selecting the right man for the job, there is no reason they can't be back in contention as soon as next season.
3. New York Giants
The Giants gave up 89 more points than they scored and only managed a record of 7-9. Eli Manning had a very bad season and at points during the season it appeared that the team may have lost faith in both Eli and head coach Tom Coughlin. Neither Coughlin or Eli appear to be going anywhere so it will be up to them to regain the form that brought the Giants to the Super Bowl just a few short years ago or suffer though another season like this one again next year.
The Falcons played so well in the 2012-2013 season that they were able to convince TE Tony Gozales to return for one more expecting to make a run for the Super Bowl. I bet this years 4-12 record had Tony rethinking that decision by mid season. The Falcons primarily suffered from some pretty awful O line play. Focusing on getting better protection for Matty "Ice" and opening some holes for Jacquizz Rodgers should put the Falcons back on the playoff short list in the coming year despite losing Gonzales to retirement.
1. Houston Texans
At the beginning of the season many people had the Houston Texans in the playoffs if not competing for the AFC championship, boy were we, I mean they, all wrong. The Texans had many problems this year, not the least of which is the apparent rapid aging at their skill positions. I'm afraid this past season could be the catalyst for a potentially long rebuilding phase for the Texans. We'll have to wait and see what direction the new coaching staff and the Texans front office take with their roster for next year.