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The AFC South is the worst division in football

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Make fun of the NFC West no more.

With the emergence of the 49ers as a legitimate title threat and the rise of Seattle and Arizona late in the season, the NFC West no longer looks like the worst division of football.

We’re going to give that honor to the AFC South for the year. ESPN.com’s Mike Sando notes that the AFC South has a .325 winning percentage (13-27) out of division play.

That’s the worst record out of the division in the league by far.  The NFC West and AFC West are tied for second-to-last with an 18-22 record out of the division.

This was a good year for the Northern divisions. The AFC North is 25-15 out of division, while the NFC North is 24-16.

The AFC South comes in last because they have two truly terrible teams — the Jaguars and Colts. The Titans are mediocre, while the Texans’ injuries have made them a slightly below average division champion.

Add it all up, and the NFC West doesn’t look like the worst division in football for the first time in a long time.

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28 Responses to “The AFC South is the worst division in football”
  1. titanprime says: Dec 26, 2011 12:55 PM

    Does this really need it’s own article? I’d assume most people with at least marginal brain activity could figure this one out for themselves. Calculators come free on most computers…

  2. moolah954 says: Dec 26, 2011 1:01 PM

    Funny article…but its true

  3. fearthevikes says: Dec 26, 2011 1:08 PM

    Actually, I think the NFC North is the weakest. Their two playoff teams, GB and Detroit, are grossly overrated, pathetic actually. GB quarterback overrated and Lions defense is a bunch of hype.

  4. plum13sec says: Dec 26, 2011 1:10 PM

    I dont know if the Colts are *truly horrible. Their entire offense is sitting on the sideline caring for his neck. If they are still sitting a the bottom of the barrel this time next season, then they are truly bad… but they wont be.

  5. joshborden says: Dec 26, 2011 1:10 PM

    “The Titans are mediocre”

    Ouch man…..that hurts

    Titans fan

  6. raqaiw says: Dec 26, 2011 1:13 PM

    I’ve been saying this for 13 weeks. Down here in H-town the Texans fans aren’t hearing it though.

  7. mvpolamalu says: Dec 26, 2011 1:14 PM

    Especially when tebow fails mightily next year

  8. 49erstim says: Dec 26, 2011 1:16 PM

    People always talk about how bad the NFC West is… here is the thing though…. EVERY team in the NFC West has represented the NFC in the SuperBowl in the last 20 years. What other division can boast that? The West hate has gotta stop. Sure these teams are rebuilding, but to hear some fans talk its as if theyre a bunch of “never weres”. step it up “fans”. Also all these people talking about the putrid Colts and how bad they are (Im looking at YOU PFT!)… theyve been to the playoffs for many years now. theyve represented the AFC in a couple of SuperBowls…. and 1 bad season and we throw them out with the trash. To quote some folks from “The Mothership”… “C’Mon Man!”

  9. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 26, 2011 1:17 PM

    I disagree the home of the NFL’s dream team NFC east is !

  10. nationalmediacansuckit says: Dec 26, 2011 1:19 PM

    The AFC South is the most terrible division THIS year. This is only a one years thing.
    The Jaguars will offensively be a completely different team next year. New coach with a new offensive coordinator and and WR’s/playmakers with a vertical game mixed with at one time #4 ranked defense before IR’s took over coming back fresh will be contenders.

    The Colts as we all know and as I’ve always said with Peyton 13-3 without 3-13. They will be contenders next year.

    The Titans will be contenders as well. A solid defense and with Hasselback getting Kenny Britt back and as long as Chris Johnson comes back fresh they will be fine. If they decide to play Locker next season they might struggle a little, but still solid.

    Texans will be a contenders as well. Good offense and finally getting a DC to tighten up that defense they will be pretty good as well.

  11. test2402 says: Dec 26, 2011 1:30 PM

    It’s all because of Tim Tebow.

  12. explosionsauce says: Dec 26, 2011 1:36 PM

    NFC east deserves some heat for being terrible as well.

  13. uscatjerseyshore says: Dec 26, 2011 1:51 PM

    NFC east is crap. Take the NY Stinking Giants, put them into a different media market and they would be considered a bottom half team at best. Eli Manning an elite QB. Hah!!

  14. trbowman says: Dec 26, 2011 1:52 PM

    I hate the NFC Least

  15. ermur22 says: Dec 26, 2011 1:56 PM

    Right….GB overrated?! What will you be saying after they win the SuperBowl???

  16. andrelaubach says: Dec 26, 2011 1:56 PM

    The AFC South had a tough non-division schedule this year, playing against the NFC South and AFC North. Five of those eight games are against strong teams (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Atlanta).

    With the each team only playing sixteen games, the schedule makes a huge difference. Last year Tampa Bay got to play the AFC West and NFC West and went 10-6. This year almost the exact same team got crushed by the AFC South and NFC North and is likely to go 4-12.

    Meanwhile, everyone is claiming the “strongest division” is the AFC North, who got to play the NFC West and AFC South. With a much tougher schedule next year Cincinnati will go from 10-6 to 4-12 just like the Bucs did this year, and we’ll get more talk about how the best division is the AFC Division that got to play the NFC West.

  17. nolahxc says: Dec 26, 2011 1:56 PM

    Not sure how you wouldn’t include the NFC east in this conversation.

  18. commandercornpone says: Dec 26, 2011 2:22 PM

    i think it is a tie tween the nfc least and the afc werst.

    nfc least, 2 teams have 8 wins, one 7, one 5. no one is stepping up to win it. “i got it, u take it”.

    afc werst, only marginally better, 2 with 8, 1 with 1, 1 with 6. no one is stepping up to “win it”. again, “i got it, u take it”.

    the nfc south… well, when the mvp is the mvp because his absence has already cost 8 victories at least, it’s merely a transitory label.

    now lets look at the nfc west. seattle and arizona didnt really start playing until all he pressure was off. in theri 4 game win streak, zona beat st. loo barely, schizo dallas, patsy cleveland, and they did beat frisco. so theiru 7-8 record isnt quite that impressive. their other wins were over immature carolina, st. loo again, and then schizo philly.

    seattle… won 5 of 6. 2 over the mighty st. loo, yes a good one on balto, but also fading chicago and schizo philly with uncle rico at the helm. their other wins were over zona and schizo giants.

    not impressed.

  19. blackandtealforeal says: Dec 26, 2011 4:19 PM

    With Jacksonville now having placed 31 players on injured reserve, it’s no wonder they are considered bad. Of course you can only have 23 on injured reserve so they have injury settlements with 8 players besides that number.

    The AFC South has one down year compared to some of the divisions that are bad most of the time.
    The AFC South will rise out of the ashes like a phoenix!
    Ok that was slightly dramatic.
    I am sure we will probably suck next year also……

  20. eaglesfan94 says: Dec 26, 2011 4:48 PM

    The NFC East is pretty bad too. Houston has injury issues, but they deserve a playoff berth because they’re a good team. I really don’t think anyone in the NFC East deserves to get in, even though one of them has to.

  21. seattlerogueburner says: Dec 26, 2011 4:58 PM

    NFC West proved this year you don’t need an elite QB to be a good team. 49ers are looking to give Packers a run for their money. Teams were actually dreading facing our Seahawks the last half of the year. Arizona has some deadly weapons for next year. And with the right coach and a few good draft picks, Rams could be in the race again.

    Next year will be close. Can’t wait to see the schedule.

  22. tombrookshire says: Dec 26, 2011 5:14 PM

    NFC East will take no back seat to the AFC South!

  23. MikeisWise says: Dec 26, 2011 5:28 PM

    Andre, you call the Bengals a strong team then say they’re going to be 4-12 next season? Um..how? Won’t Andy and AJ probably get better after having a real offseason together.

    And the AFCN IS one of the best divisions in football. Probably the best. The Steelers and Ravens are usually always Superbowl Contenders. And when the Bengals are good, it’s really no competition what the strongest division is. It doesn’t matter what divisions we play in the AFC North. At least 2 teams are pretty much always in contention.

  24. bleed4philly says: Dec 26, 2011 5:47 PM

    @NFC East Haters:

    Tell the AFC East that the NFC East is the worst division after we dominated them this year. The Giants even went 4-0 against them. If the eagles win sunday, only one team in the nfc east will finish with a losing record. AFC south is worst by far. Great article.

  25. mmmpierogi says: Dec 26, 2011 6:24 PM

    I get frustrated with discussions like this because people don’t use consistent criteria or time intervals. Case in point: people are using two different time frames to make judgments here — this season alone, and recent (i.e., past five to seven) seasons. I go for the latter; things are too flukey.

    In order to give the NFC West credibility as a real division, I’d need more than a year of competitive football. Last year, no teams in the NFC West finished at .500 or above – that’s weak. Even this year, the second place team in that division (the Seahawks) is sub-.500 (this was also the case in 2008, when the 49′ers went 7-9). Before this year, the last time a team in this division one more than 10 games was in 2005. We’ll see how things look next year or the year after, but I don’t buy that this is no longer a garbage division.

    Also, to people saying the NFC East is weak – how so? Last I checked, the Eagles are in the top five in the NFL with regard to wins since 2000 (playoffs might be another matter, although they at least made it to a SB during this time frame; and no one referred to the playoffs in particular here), and the Giants have been an above-average team over the same time period (with a SB win and another appearance). You can say what you want about the Redskins and the Cowboys, but they’re far better off than some of the bottom-feeder teams in other divisions (e.g., the Browns and the Bengals). The NFC East might not be the most consistently competitive division in the NFL in recent times, but there are divisions that are arguably far worse off.

  26. thehouseofho says: Dec 26, 2011 7:13 PM

    49erstim says:
    Dec 26, 2011 1:16 PM
    People always talk about how bad the NFC West is… here is the thing though…. EVERY team in the NFC West has represented the NFC in the SuperBowl in the last 20 years. What other division can boast that? The West hate has gotta stop. Sure these teams are rebuilding, but to hear some fans talk its as if theyre a bunch of “never weres”. step it up “fans”. Also all these people talking about the putrid Colts and how bad they are (Im looking at YOU PFT!)… theyve been to the playoffs for many years now. theyve represented the AFC in a couple of SuperBowls…. and 1 bad season and we throw them out with the trash. To quote some folks from “The Mothership”… “C’Mon Man!”
    ===================
    The NFC East can say the same thing. Not only that, but the NFC East has had more appearances in the Super Bowl than the NFC West during the last 20 years as well.
    Dallas – 1992, 1993, 1995
    New York – 2000, 2007
    Philadelphia – 2004
    Washington – 1991

  27. andrelaubach says: Dec 26, 2011 8:26 PM

    MikeisWise:

    As I wrote my comment I recognized how the fact that I called the Bengals a strong team this year and predicted they will go 4-12 next year seems like a contradiction. Let me explain:

    The Bengals are an average/slightly above-average team. Let’s break down their 2011 wins and losses by opponent.

    Wins: Clevelandx2, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, and Tennessee.

    Losses: Pittsburghx2, Baltimore, San Fransisco, Denver.

    That makes them 0-5 against playoff teams and 9-0 against non-playoff teams. In my mind that is a team that’s prime for regression next year against a stronger schedule. However, they are still a strong opponent because they are an average or above average team who plays good defense and makes most games close (13 of their 15 games were decided by 10 points or less).

    They are a good example of why the AFC South isn’t the worst division because they went 3-1 against the AFC South, but also 3-1 against the NFC West, who I initially hinted at was the worst division in the NFL.

    The Bengals are also a great example of why the NFL’s unbalanced schedule makes team record a poor indicator of who is good and who is bad. This year they’ll go 10-6, next year they’ll go 5-11 or 6-10, but both years they’ll most likely be an average team.

  28. rdixon50 says: Dec 27, 2011 10:06 PM

    mmmpierogi

    Sorry, you forgot that the Cards were 10-6 in 2009, then beat the Packers in OT before losing to the Saints in Kurt’s final game.

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