Here are the 2017 Shutdown Corner rankings of the NFL’s eight divisions, from weakest to strongest:
NFL division rankings
Here are SDC’s rankings of the NFL’s eight divisions, from weakest to strongest.
No. 8 AFC South
When will this division finally climb out of last place? For all the signs of improvement, the Indianapolis Colts have a lot of questions with Andrew Luck’s health, the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t enamored with Blake Bortles and the Houston Texans have unproven Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson at quarterback. The Tennessee Titans are the class of this division.
No. 7 NFC West
The strength of this division will depend on the Arizona Cardinals’ ability to bounce back. The Seattle Seahawks will be pretty strong again, the San Francisco 49ers will be bad and the Los Angeles Rams should improve some but likely won’t be contenders.
No. 6 NFC North
The Green Bay Packers seem to be the clear favorite, but maybe the Minnesota Vikings and their star-studded defense can challenge them. The Detroit Lions will have a hard time replicating their 2016 playoff berth and the Chicago Bears are a long way from challenging for the playoffs.
No. 5 AFC East
It’s tough to rank this division. It has by far the best team in football, which might wrap up the division by Thanksgiving. There are no contenders to the New England Patriots’ throne. The New York Jets could make a run at 0-16, the Buffalo Bills don’t look like they plan to be competitive this season and the Miami Dolphins had to get Jay Cutler out of retirement to play quarterback.
No. 4 AFC North
We know the Pittsburgh Steelers will be pretty good. We know the Cleveland Browns will probably be pretty bad. So what to make of the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens in the middle? Both teams have questions. It should still be a competitive division. This division has had multiple playoff teams in seven of the last nine seasons.
No. 3 NFC South
This division might not be the best, but it might be the most fun to watch. A division with Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) and Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) and some questionable secondaries should lead to some fun shootouts. It’s also a deep division in which all four teams should be competitive.
No. 2 NFC East
The NFC East was pretty poor a couple years ago but has rebounded fast. Credit the quarterbacks: Dak Prescott’s arrival was a boon to the Dallas Cowboys, Carson Wentz has revitalized the Philadelphia Eagles and Kirk Cousins’ improvement has been great for the Washington Redskins (we’ll see what happens with him next offseason). The New York Giants made the playoffs last season after hitting it big on some free-agent defensive stars. This should be a heck of a battle.
No. 1 AFC West
I feel like you can make an argument for any AFC West team finishing in first place … and any team finishing last. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders were playoff teams last season and return most of their rosters. The Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl two seasons ago and still have a very good defense and some offensive playmakers (though quarterback is still iffy). And the Los Angeles Chargers were ridiculously unlucky last season and are bound for some better fortune. This is a tough division.