Which is the NFL’s most dangerous division? From top to bottom, how complete is each four-team group?
Now that the busiest period of free agency is finished, most teams’ starting rosters are taking shape for next season. Have any teams made key additions that will provide the necessary missing pieces to contend for a Super Bowl? Which teams lost talented players this offseason and, subsequently, scratched themselves off the list of potential champs in 2014?
The following rankings take a look at the relative strength of the NFL’s eight divisions, breaking down the quality of each team within a division and adding together their combined value.
How does the ranking system work?
An evaluation system that takes into account each team's 2013 performance and the impact of free-agency moves, as well as some personal opinion, is used to score the relative strength for every offensive, defensive and special teams unit.
Every team earns a score out of 25 points (100 points per division) that places them into one of four mixed martial arts-inspired categories: heavyweight (25-19 points), light heavyweight (18-16 points), middleweight (15-13 points) or lightweight (12-0 points).
Teams that rate as heavyweights qualify as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, in my opinion. Light heavyweights hold an outside shot at winning a title, while middleweights appropriately represent middle-of-the-road clubs. The lowly lightweights are the league’s bottom-of-the-barrel squads.
The 25-point scoring system assigns relative value to every starting position and unit: quarterback, running backs, receivers, offensive line, front seven, secondary and special teams.
Strength of Team Scoring Rubric (maximum 25 points):
|Offense: 0/15||Defense/Special Teams: 0/10||TOTAL: 0/25|
|Quarterback: 0/7||Front Seven: 0/4|
|Running Backs: 0/3||Secondary: 0/4|
|Receivers: 0/3||Special Teams: 0/2|
|Offensive Line: 0/2|
The subjective importance placed on each position or group determines the maximum point total for each unit. For example, I believe that having a below-average quarterback is more detrimental to a team’s chances to contend than having a poor secondary, offensive line, etc. Therefore, there is a greater possible point total for each team’s quarterback than for any other unit.
Note that the system does not include a score for coaching—the offseason brings about too many new hires, which makes it too difficult to predict impact and makes standardized scoring tough in this area.
The combined scores for each division’s teams equal a total out of 100 points to determine the overall power ranking for every division.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the rankings!