For the first time in what feels like forever, the AFC East appears to be the strongest division in football.
For most of the 21st century, the AFC East has been something of a joke, with the Patriots absolutely dominating the division and the rest of the teams struggling to break .500. There have been a few anomalous years when the Jets made the playoffs, and the Dolphins played a postseason game the year that Tommy B was hurt, but for the most part it has been the Patriots standing alone at the top of an otherwise lousy division.
In 2015, however, things seem to have changed. According to Around the NFL's Chris Wesseling, the AFC East is the best division in the NFL this year. The NFC West and AFC North round out the Top 3, with the AFC South unsurprisingly bringing up the rear.
Wesseling certainly has a case; the Patriots are the best team in football right now, and the Jets aren't too far behind. Miami is suddenly surging, and the Bills...well, the Bills have a lot of talent on that roster. Plus, the rest of the NFL is such a mess that the East is the only division that currently boasts a positive point differential. Whether the days of the Patriots mopping the floor with the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills are officially behind us remains to be seen, but to be honest its refreshing to have the AFC East matter again.
Interestingly, though, the AFC East only has the 2nd best record against other divisions at 12-5. The NFC South, at 13-5, is number one - but that may very well just be because they have had less teams on bye thus far. The full list of divisions against other divisions is as follows:
- NFC South 13-5
- AFC East 12-5
- NFC North 9-8
- AFC West 10-10
- AFC North 10-11
- NFC West 9-10
- NFC East 6-9
- AFC South 4-15
So any way you slice it, the AFC South just plain stinks.
But good for the East. Welcome back to relevance.