Four weeks of football has elapsed. Although, it is still early and teams still have plenty of time to get it together or fall apart. A lot of the 32 teams look good. On each side of the NFL, there are four divisions and most of them are a tight race right now. In hard-fought divisions, teams don’t change but the outcomes do, all the time. Here are the toughest divisions on each side of the NFL and why:
The NFC South has always been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. The NFC South division includes New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. The only team that has not taken a trip to the Super Bowl in the last decade is the Buccaneers. Each season it is a fight to the end to find out who will take the division.
This heavily stacked QB division has more wins in the last few seasons than any other division in the NFC. Saints QB Drew Brees passed Brett Favre for the most completions in NFL history this season and has five seasons with over 4,000 passing yards (most in NFL). Falcons QB Matt Ryan won MVP in the 16′-17′ season. Panthers QB Cam Newton led his team to an almost perfect season (15-1) in 2015. Their only loss was to the Atlanta Falcons week 16. Tampa is the dark horse in this mix. They have had their ups and downs but fate could be on their side with the QB situation as of right now.
The exceptional talent on offense and defense in this division blows most teams out of the water. The Saints, Falcons and Buccaneers place in the top seven for offense, while the Panthers rank fourth in defense.
Each division in the AFC has their own struggles. The AFC North division might have the biggest rivialy out there. It goes back to the 1970’s. The AFC North includes the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. So far this season, the standings for the AFC North division seems to be a bit off. The Steelers are tied for last place right now. The Bengals who historically in a fight for the last place with the Browns but have been solid in the last decade, are leading with a record of 3-1. They have the tie-breaker with the Ravens, who are also 3-1 after their win over the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
The Browns have a new QB, and the rest of the division have solid vets. Each team has the ability to win the division. Although defenses are not their strong suit, they all know how to come in the clutch with the game on the line. Also, each offense is able to move down the field in the matter of minutes and keep the defense on their toes. Browns’ new QB Baker Mayfield led Cleveland to their first win in over 600 days. Even though they have not won another game, they have looked strong scoring 42 points against the Raiders.
When any of these teams meet up for an inner-divison game, you can feel the tension right away. It will be a fight to the end, as each team is in contention. Each team has shown why the AFC North is the toughest division in the AFC.