Everyone has a hot take these days. Every TV sports personality makes hot takes everyday and some of those hot takes aren’t even good, they’re intentionally flat out stupid to get views. There’s no perfect opinion in sports and not everyone agrees on everything and most certainly every question is up for debate. I’m going to pose one question about each division in the NFL and I want to know your thoughts on the matter.
AFC East: Are the Bills the biggest “lock” to win their Division?
Josh Allen is the betting MVP front runner, the Bills are betting AFC title favorites, most Super Bowl predictions have the Bills representing the AFC but are the Bills the biggest lock? Looking at every division most you can have a debate about who might come out on top and make a solid argument to support it. There’s really two divisions that I feel comfortable in making this bold prediction of guaranteeing a teams success, Buffalo in the AFC East and Tampa Bay in the NFC South just because it’s so hard to envision a realistic scenario the rest of those divisions team can beat those two power houses. The New England Patriots are still a threat as long as Bill Belichick is there and Miami made some huge moves to try and compete and the Jets are still young and improving but the Bills just look so strong going into the season and barring a catastrophic collapse and major injuries can you see a way for any of the Patriots, Dolphins or Jets to dethrone the Bills?
AFC West: How many will make the playoffs?
The AFC West is the best division in football and that’s not a hot take. Four good teams boasting four good quarterbacks all with solid defensive units it’s real easy to be very high on this division but there can only be one winner. How bold is it to say “Only one team from the AFC west will make the playoffs”? How bold is it to say “I think two teams from the AFC west will make the playoffs”? How bold is it to say “Three teams from the AFC west will make the playoffs”? Does anyone say “All four AFC west teams will make the playoffs”? It’s not impossible for all four to make the playoffs but it’s harder then most people think due to tie breaker rules. It’s important to remember these teams will have to play each other twice a year and a teams record against their own division is important when it comes to a tie breaker which makes the likelihood of four teams from the same division getting into the playoffs even more difficult.
AFC North: Is there a clear favorite to win?
The AFC North is very underrated even though it has four solid teams. The Cincinnati Bengals just made a run to the Super Bowl yet media and fans don’t seem to think they can do it again. Baltimore is getting all their stars healthy and are poised for a revenge tour and Lamar Jackson is playing for a huge contract extension for extra motivation. The Browns are a hard team to gauge because Deshaun Watson could play or he might not play but the talent outside of Watson is still top tier. Pittsburgh is no pushover either and Mike Tomlin has never had a losing record in his coaching tenure with the Steelers. If their offense can be average, that defense has proven it’s ability to carry them into the playoffs. There’s a real argument that can be made for each of these teams and I can see this division coming down to wire.
AFC South: How good or bad is this division really?
It’s easy to point to the AFC South and write them off but this division has given us many surprises. Nobody expected the Titans to make it all the way to the AFC championship game in 2019 and in the same way not many expected the Titans to lose coming off a first round playoff bye even after sacking Joe Burrow nine times. The Colts were unstoppable in the second half last season and everyone thought they were a dark horse wild card time but then they proceeded to lose the the Jaguars in week 18 and everyone laughed at them. The Jaguars drafted Trevor Lawrence and hopes were high in Duval only for them to be the worst team in football again. The Texans only had four wins last season and while two came against Jacksonville the other two were against the one seeded Titans and the other was a must win game for the Chargers. I could see this division surprising some people but in the same way I could see this division disappointing people that weren’t even expecting anything.
NFC North: Are they really that good?
Top down the NFC North is kind of lackluster. Green Bay in past seasons has been the easy winner only for them to somehow disappoint everyone come playoff time and now this year they’ll be disappointing people without Devante Adams. Minnesota has Kirk Cousins which is a conundrum on its own and they have a new coach which makes them more difficult to judge. Chicago and Detroit are both rebuilding. Last season I made the bold and stupid decision of picking the Minnesota Vikings to win the division and while we all make mistakes it’s not like Green Bay did anything special to win the division they just didn’t suck. Coming into this season there isn’t much to like about the NFC North and it has disappointment written all over it and while one team will win the division it’s hard to take it seriously when they get to play Chicago and Detroit twice a year that’s like modern day inflation on bye weeks.
NFC South: Tampa Bay vs New Orleans for best and Atlanta vs Carolina for worst?
The NFC South is just ying-yang symbol, the two teams we can take seriously and the two teams who can’t even take themselves seriously. It feels cut and dry that the Bucs and Saints will fight for the top while the Falcons and Panthers will fight for the bottom just like it has been ever since Tom Brady got there. I’m well aware anything can happen but it’s hard to see any surprises here, maybe Baker can turn it around in Carolina but the same things were said about Sam Darnold and the casual fan probably couldn’t name anyone on the Falcons outside of Kyle Pitts. With New Orleans, even though Sean Peyton is gone, they still have a solid team and made huge improvement over the offseason and Tampa Bay has Tom Brady all be it without Bruce Arians the NFC South feels like it’ll just be more of the same.
NFC West: Did anything really change?
Players and coaches come and go and the good teams adapt and the bad teams crumble and while each one of these teams lost players and coaches it doesn’t feel like anything really changed. The Los Angeles Rams are still the powerhouse reigning Super Bowl champions and while they did lose important players and coaches they still remain the favorite. San Francisco is going to start Trey Lance this upcoming season; and while in most cases this would be huge cause for regression it seems more people believe in the young quarterback with no hesitation. In Arizona it’s more of the same just win a single playoff game and for Seattle rounding out the bottom do we laugh at them for starting Drew Lock or Geno Smith? Each teams goals remain the same despite all the changes and as a result do the standing stay the same as well?
NFC East: Surprise Winner Potential?
The last time a team in the NFC East had a back to back division winner was 2004 and since then we’ve seen 7-9 win this division and we’ve seen random Super Bowl wins and total collapses no team in this division is safe. The Dallas Cowboys have a good chance at being the first repeat winners but at the same time after losing as much talent as they did a slide in production is also very possible. The Eagles made plenty of good off season moves for Jalen Hurts big year but in the NFC East nothing ever goes as planned. Washington brought in Carson Wentz for some reason but the theme of the NFC East just random surprises maybe he actually does there. The Giants suck don’t get me started when I said “Surprise Winner Potential” the Giants weren’t included in that.
Answers to these questions are up to you to decide in the comments, everyone opinion is different but are there something we can all agree on? Probably not and that’s okay but I would love to hear your thoughts on my questions for each division.