The Best Division in the NFL
So which division is the best in the league right now?
How you project where the divisional teams will stand, when the season is all said and done, will determine that answer.
So which division has been the best the past 2 seasons combined? Well, that all depends on what categories you use to distinguish what makes a division the best.
If it is wins, then your answer is the AFC South.
If it’s the best offense and defense combined category,the NFC East was best.
If it is a combination of the two factors, well then it's the NFC South.
Here is a break down of the categories.
Total wins the past two seasons category, exposes rises and declines divisional teams have made from 2008 to 2009.
76 Wins AFC South 38 38
73 Wins NFC South 40 33
72 Wins NFC East 38 34
70 Wins AFC East 38 32
64 Wins AFC North 31 33
57 wins NFC North 25 32
Number of times each division had teams ranked in the top ten offense and top ten defense the past two seasons.
10 NFC East 4 offenses 6 defense
7 AFC North 1 offense 6 defenses
6 NFC South 4 offense 2 defense
6 NFC North 3 offense 3 defenses
4 AFC East 2 offenses 2 defenses
4 AFC South 3 offense 1 defense
2 AFC West 1 Offense 1 defense
1 NFC West 1 offense (Cardinals)
NFC East and AFC South
I imagine the Giants and Cowboys will be slugging it out for the NFC East division title this season.
The Eagles and Redskins could find themselves struggling with their new QB's, add to that a new system in play in Washington...
New Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan, still has to prove that he wasn't carried by John Elway, and the rest of his coaching staff that left for greener pastures prior to him being replaced in Denver.
Gary Kubiak, spent 11 seasons as Mike Shanahan's offensive coordinator. As the Texans Head coach, Kubiak led his offense to being the No.1 passing offense in the league last season, placing them ahead of the Saints, Patriots and Colts.
Texans, had the 3rd best overall offense in the league. they ranked second behind the Colts in the AFC South Division. The Texans also went from being ranked 23rd on defense in 2008 to 13th last season.
Are the Texans in contention to make their first play-off appearance ever this season?
With LB Brian Cushing facing a 4 game suspension and Dunta Robinson leaving their secondary via free agency, it won't be easy, especially with the Colts dominant reign over the division.
Expect the Titans and Jaguars to be fighting to keep out of the divisional cellar this season.
NFC North, AFC West And NFC West
AFC North: Vikings, Packers, and Bears are play-off contenders this season. And with the Lions looking to be on a progressive path, this division can not be counted out. This is why the NFC North is my sleeper pick for being this season's best division.
This division schedule however is against the NFC East and the AFC East.
So my sleeper pick could actually wind up being more like a dream, a possible nightmare for NFC North fans...
The AFC West Division was right there in the hunt for my sleeper pick this season. But if the Chiefs red flag was not bad enough, the red flag raised by Jason Cambell's presence with the Raiders turned out to be a show stopper.
I see the Broncos and the Chargers as Play-off contenders,
Kyle Orton has me excited about his prospects as a top 10 QB this season.
Chargers defense and passing offense ought to keep the Chargers play-off aspirations on track despite the loss of Ladainian Tomlinson.
Getting Shawne Merriman back in vintage form would be huge.
Merriman has not been the same since the reconstruction surgery to his knee, he did however get a new agent after the fall out between Chargers GM and Tom Condon.
Relationship between Merriman and the Front office is thawing, Chargers would sure love to have 39.5 sacks Merriman had in his first three seasons, in the next.
If a deal can get worked out, I would expect it to be an incentive ladened one, considering the drop off in performance since Merrimans surgery. The trade rumors are not helping Merrimans cause either, considering he is still on the team...
Merriman will have to prove himself all over again, if he wants to get paid, the new agent may be Merrimans acknowledgement of this reality.
The NFC West is the bottom dweller in the league.
Cardinals Super Bowl team has all but been dismantled.
Seattle is going with a new prevent defense all season with the 3-3-5 being implemented as the its core.
The Rams had the No.1 pick in the draft, and Sam Bradford, their rookie QB, looks to start behind an offensive line in shambles.
Last seasons 4th ranked scoring defense, the San Francisco 49ers emerge as a lock for the play-off in this division. Their divisional opponents are the AFC West and NFC South, a little meat and potato's to go with all that gravy in the NFC West for the 49ers.
NFC South Saints are still a promising favorite to take it all again this season.
The Panthers and Bucs are anemic at the QB position. I see it as both teams Achilles Heel. Carolina looks to be setting up shop in the basement this season.
"Rise UP" happens to be the Falcons new slogan this season.
With the passing defenses acquisition of Dunta Robinson, that is exactly what they hope they do with last seasons 28th ranked secondary; make it rise up to the occasion.
Matt Ryan is seeking to rise up to possessing more of a leadership role on this team...
"The past two years he was more hesitant to express his opinion, but now he's a lot more open to it," says running back Michael Turner. "You can see it in meetings. He interrupts all the time and is like, 'I want to do this. Let's do it this way.' "
"I can make significant strides from my first two years, and I'm hell bent on getting there." Said Ryan
Falcons, thanks in large part to having the NFC West on their schedule, are contenders for the play-offs this season.
AFC North Steelers emerge this season with virtually the same NO.1 defense that took them to the Super Bowl in 2008.
Five of their front seven defenders are Pro Bowlers.
You will be hard pressed to find a faster receiving corp in this league.
Mike Wallace led the NFL in yards per catch at 19.4. The Steelers passing offense ranked in the top ten last season, they also had the top five defense in the league.
Every unit has improved this season, from ST's to the secondary.
Steelers look to be making another charge at the Lombardi Trophy, but contrary to popular belief this will occur through the air rather than on the ground.
I am not sold on last season's 19th ranked rushing offense, especially with Willie Parker out of the equation.
With Byron Leftwich more than likely the starter, in light of Ben's suspension, expect the Steelers to go deep early and often in the first half, while pounding the opponent into the ground in the second half. Daring their opponent to stack the box against the run with the deep threat this team possess.
The Ravens have emerged as playoff contenders, as the aquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth look to take Joe Flacco's game to the next dimension.
The Ravens aspire to take last seasons 18th ranked passing offense into the top ten this season. Ravens' rushing offense ranked in the top five last season. Ravens' defense still rocks, they ranked third last season.
Ravens are playoff contenders for sure, but I think they will fall short in regards to the AFC North division title.
Despite having a pretty good offseason, Browns picked up Jake Delhomme as their starter. Talk about your rebuilding modes from hell...
The Bengals are revamping their playbook on offense without Ochocinco, and Carson Palmer does not like it one bit.
"It would be great to have our No. 1 receiver here and working him and building it around him. We've tried moving guys around. Maybe they're trying to find a new No. 1 receiver because it's hard to work your offense in without that guy around." Said Palmer "It's hard to tell and say because we're looking for a No. 2 and 3 receiver without a No. 1."
"I missed what my quarterback said about me not being at (OTA'S) they aren't even mandatory"
AFC East is an enigma to me. This division is riddled with more questions than answers.
The Bills are switching to a 3-4, and they have a new head coach to boot. This team is in complete overhaul mode, and with no new QB to grow with it, the growing pains for Bills fans could be excruciating for some time to come...
It could take a couple years to turn this mess around.
Patriots solid defense, offense and a genius head coach has them poised for the play-offs, but it is anything but a lock in this division. The Dolphins and Jets hold wild cards in the form of their starting QB's, to go with their highly competitive teams.
Can a world class Jets defense carry "Mr. Happy Feet" Mark Sanchez to the playoffs?
Will Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards actually make Sanchez look worse? Considering he will have nobody to blame but himself for a poor performance, I'm not so sure. I am sure, however, that we are all in store for some tough games seeing as half of the games Sanchez will play this season are against opponents' defenses that ranked in the top 11 in defense last season; six opponents are in the top seven.
I expect to see Sanchez struggle while the rest of the team tries to carry him to the playoffs. Jets fans are giving way too much credit where it is not due.
It would be unfortunate to lean on the run and the defense to get you to the big show with so much talent in the receiving corp. I am afraid Rex Ryan may have to do just that.
If Ladainian Tomlinson thought he had reason to pout and jump from the bench when Phillip Rivers took a squat next to him, just what kind of reaction should we expect from him when Sanchez tries that after he screws up?
Is Chad Henne according to Dolphin fans the next best thing since sliced bread, now that he has Brandon Marshall by his side?
Tony Sparano comments on the new defense after the OTA's where finally over.
"I made a comment to [general manager] Jeff Ireland the other day in watching practice last week, 'Our team is playing faster right now.' When your team is playing faster, that means they know. I've been impressed with where we are from a defensive standpoint -- at least in our helmets and T-shirts."
Will Mike Nolans presence as the Dolphins Defensive coordinator give them the edge to take it all in the AFC East?