The NFL's AFC South: Overlooked and Underrated

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 29, 2012

These guys helped to make the AFC South a solid division.
These guys helped to make the AFC South a solid division.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NFL's AFC South never gets respect.

It's a weird mishmash of teams. None of the franchises have a deep history in their cities. It includes two expansion teams and two relocated franchises. There are no natural or historic rivalries.

The Indianapolis Colts dominated the division so often, that fans around the league got the impression that the South was a pushover division.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

By any number of metrics, the AFC South has been a solid division since it was formed in 2002:


Regular-Season Wins

The AFC South is tied with the AFC East and NFC East for the most regular-season wins over the past 10 years. The AFC South is 338-302 (same as the AFC East) since 2002.

The NFC East technically has a better record at 338-301-1—if only Donovan McNabb had known the overtime rules.


Playoff Parity

The division has been more than just "Indianapolis and the Three Dwarfs." All four teams from the South won a playoff game in the first decade of the division.

The same can't be said for any other division in the AFC. The NFC North also failed to accomplish that thanks to Matt Millen.


Playoff Wins

The AFC South ranks fifth of eight divisions with 13 playoff wins.


Wild Card Teams

The AFC South has had the third-most Wild Card teams with six. Only the NFC East (9) and AFC North (7) have had more.


"Best" Teams

The South had the second-best "best" team for the decade. The Colts' 111 wins are second only to New England's 123 over the same stretch.


"Worst" Teams

The South has the second-best "worst" team for the decade.

The Texans won just 65 games in the past 10 years, but that's a better total than the worst team in any other division, except for the NFC South where Tampa finished last with 74 wins.


Since the eight-division format started, the best division overall has probably been the NFC East. It has produced two Super Bowl champions, the most wins, and all four teams have won a playoff game.

After that, however, a strong case can be made that, top to bottom, the AFC South has been as good as anyone.