2011 NFL Season: Why the NFC North Is Better Than the NFC South

Brandon PraterContributor IISeptember 13, 2011

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a touchdown catch over  Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the season opener at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Now that the 2011 season is finally underway, we can start power ranking teams, deciding which players are best, and slowly inking in our playoff predictions to see who plays in Indianapolis come February 5th.

But, the question today is, which division is the best in all of football?

Well, obviously it's the NFC West.

All kidding aside, I think all football enthusiasts can come to a general consensus that the NFC South and NFC North are the most competitive in the NFL.

To justify these finalists let's take a look at the other divisions in the league.

The AFC North is a very tough division that contains the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, both legitimate Super Bowl contenders. However, the Browns and Bengals weigh this group down.

The AFC East is a similar situation, with two very good teams in New England and New York, but two cellar dwellers in Buffalo and Miami.

The Texans look like they will downright own the AFC South. Indy looks terrible without Manning, Tennessee only has Chris Johnson and Jacksonville has question marks all over the field.

The AFC West is another division with one team that is clear cut above the rest, with the Chargers looking like they will come out on top at season's end, as long as they don't struggle too much in September and October.

The "Dream Team" has its home in the NFC East. The Cowboys seem like they could have a resurgence this season, but the Giants are obviously regressing and the Redskins shouldn't finish with that many wins either.

So that leaves us with our final two divisions, the NFC North and the NFC South.

For one, these two divisions boast the last two Super Bowls. The Saints and Packers are the creme of the crop in their respective divisions and rightfully so.

Both the NFCN and the NFCS are together in being able to say they boast three legit playoff contenders, and both have a chance to send three teams to the playoffs.

In Week 1 of the NFL season, each of the teams in the division faced their counterparts (with the exception of Minnesota and Carolina, who are expected to finish in the bottom of the division anyway).

The Saints traveled to Green Bay to take on the Packers in a game featuring the last two Super Bowl champions. The Falcons went to Soldier Field to face the Bears, both teams won the division last year but both were ousted by Green Bay. And finally the Lions traveled to Tampa Bay to face the Bucs in a battle of young and up-and-coming teams.

So why is the NFC North head and shoulders above the NFC South?

The proof is in the numbers, every team in the Black and Blue division won last weekend.

The Packers beat the Saints in a high scoring shootout, the Bears thrashed the Falcons in dominating fashion and though the Lions only beat the Bucs by one touchdown, they controlled the game for three-and-a-half quarters.

While one week is surely not enough to fully judge which division will come out on top, it did a lot to sway people's opinions the other way.

If you have to bet on who takes three teams to the playoffs, bet on the NFC North.