During the off-season, websites go to work ranking everything. EVERYTHING. It offers order to the world, and people enjoy order. It gives casual fans some immediate information about how to feel about their favorite teams, and it opens the door to sometimes insightful discussion about strengths and weaknesses.
CBS Sports this week unveiled their pre-season ranking of the different divisions in the NFL. To those who haven’t been following along, you might be surprised that the #1 division right now is the NFC East. This is due largely to the strength of the Cowboys in 2016 and the above-average quality of all of their foes. The Eagles have made a very large splash in the free agent market, the Redskins seem always ready to pounce (if they can just decide whether or not they want their 24 million dollar QB), and Eli Manning continues his quest to foil Tom Brady one last time.
The AFC West, however, makes a surprising leap to #2 on the list. This is almost entirely due to the fact that both the Raiders and the Chiefs won a dozen games last year (quite rare for a single division!). The Chargers don’t show any sign of repeating the folly that was their 2016 campaign, and the Broncos still have enough talent to go on a run if they can solve their passer woes.
Like it or not, there will be a lot of eyes focused on the west this year.
AFC West out-of-division record in 2016: 25-15 (10-6 vs. NFC South, 12-4 vs. AFC South, 2-2 vs. AFC East, 2-2 vs. AFC North)
2017 out-of-division schedule: vs. AFC East, vs. NFC East
Do you agree with their assessment? The AFC West and the NFC East both meet up this year, so we should have a concrete idea about which division is truly tops.
-Goro “Division is not my strong suit” Saurus