Every division in football is full of competitive teams. That’s what NFL football is all about. Still, there’s usually a group of four that stands above the rest as the best division, and then there’s a group that makes everyone else look good.
Until recently, the NFC West was our go-to division for failure. Usually, one team would rise out of mediocrity and win the division as the other three teams of the bunch wallowed in self-misery. That’s no longer the case. The 49ers and Seahawks are both Super Bowl contenders, and the Cardinals are no easy out. The Rams are another story, but three out of four is doing pretty well.
In other years, we’ll get one division that’s full of competitive teams but lacking an elite squad. That would be this year’s AFC North. The Bengals are leading the division after seven weeks of football, but they’re hit or miss week in and week out, and the rest of the division can only be described as, “meh.”
This year, like many others, we do have a division that stands above (or maybe below) the rest. The AFC South, which was once stocked with competitive teams, is now a group of floundering teams plus the Colts. And with an appalling net points statistic of -163 as a division, who can argue.
Indianapolis, for their part, has done well, even knocking off the invincible Denver Broncos. Still, one great team doesn’t make a division great.
Early in the year, the Tennessee Titans appeared to be a team that may at least contend for a wildcard playoff position. While they’re still in the race, they’re not improving their level of play on the field, and it seems likely they’ll soon lose touch with the wildcard race.
The Houston Texans were expected to be in the Super Bowl discussion. They were supposed to run the AFC South once again this season, but Houston has imploded in a complete team effort. After starting the season 2-0, the Texans have found ways to lose five straight games.
Then there’s the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many may claim the Jaguars are mailing it in, but I would contend they’re hard at work each week. Owner Shahid Khan, general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are planning for the future. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re losing on purpose, but it’s easy to tolerate being the worst team in the league when you know serious help is on its way via the draft in 2014.
So, is there a division that stands alone as the worst in football? Well, yes, but that achievement isn’t earned without beating out the stiff competition presented by the NFC East and NFC South. The AFC South isn’t terrible through and through, but consider this. Of the four teams in the AFC South, only the Indianapolis Colts have won a game so far in October.