One of the more interesting and less talked about aspects of the NFL is just how good each division is. Given the impact an easy division can have in helping a team get into the playoffs however, it is worth giving the issue some consideration as we approach December.
Starting with the worst and working our way to number one, GMS takes a look at just each division stacks up.
8) NFC South
By far the easiest ranking on this list to make. The NFC South is a football graveyard right now. The Saints lead the division with a losing record and are still favorites to qualify because, somehow the teams below them are even worse.
Tampa Bay is a complete car crash. Looking across their roster at running back and the defensive secondary it is clear that they have completely given up on this season and have started looking toward the future. Carolina have no wide receivers (bar rookie Kelvin Benjamin) or an offensive line and the Atlanta Falcons allow themselves to get dominated at the line of scrimmage.
The only collective good news in the NFC South is that they are going to have lots of high draft picks.
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7) AFC South
Outside of Andrew Luck and the Colts there isn't much quality in this division. The Texans are at least a competitive outfit but they are a quarterback away from being a playoff team. It doesn't matter how many times J.J. Watt and company hurry and sack
the opposition QB if Ryan Fitzpatrick is throwing the ball for you.
In contrast to Houston the Titans and Jaguars are not even competitive. With the Titans in particular being about a million miles away from troubling the post-season.
6) AFC West
The AFC West can count itself as unfortunate to be placed six on the list given that the division contains the Broncos. However, the rest of the competition isn't up to Denver's standard.
The Charger's have struggled badly over the last month or so and look to be unable to win games when Philip Rivers is not playing to MVP calibre. The Chiefs have surprised pretty much everyone with how good they have been this season but they are a team that is going to be found out sooner rather than later.
5) NFC East
The NFC East can count itself unlucky not to make it into the top four but the division is dragged down by the weakness of Washington and the New York Giants and the fact that Dallas and Philadelphia haven't quite convinced yet.
The Cowboys defense hasn't been properly tested and the Eagles are getting by on defensive and special team touchdowns. How long can that continue though? Still the NFC East is better then everyone thought it was going to be before the season started.
4) NFC North
Two great teams and two poor teams, the NFC North is similar to the NFC East. The crucial difference though is that the Packers and Lions are better football teams than the Cowboys and Eagles.
On top of this the NFC North's two weak teams, the Bears and Vikings, and better than Washington and the Giants.
3) AFC East
The Patriots and the Dolphins are the standout teams in this one. The Patriots are legitimate Superbowl contenders with their defense and Bill Lazor's offensive Miami are
going to be the team that no team wants to face in the playoffs.
Add into this a Buffalo Bills team that is competitive with quality in both defense and offense then it is easy to see why the AFC East edges itself into third place. Even the worst team in the division ,the Jets, have shown that they are capable of scheming together good four quarters football.
2) AFC North
The AFC North is like a bizarro version of the NFC South. Every team in it has a winning record, every team is competitive and every team could make a deep playoff run.
Barring a major disaster three teams are going to head into the playoffs from the AFC North and the chances are that the team finishing fourth will feel hard done by. This quality throughout is enough to see the AFC North beat out the AFC East.
1) NFC West
The AFC North ran the NFC West close for the top spot but in the end the NFC West's superior quality put it over the top.
The AFC North may be more competitive but the NFC West has three teams who could realistically win the Superbowl and another, the Rams, who are competitive despite having the most paint by numbers offensive scheme in the NFL.
If the NFC title game has two NFC West teams in it no one would be surprised and if one of those teams was to go onto pick up a ring no one would be surprised either.
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