Wed, 01 Apr 2020

Daily Brew: Divisional deep dive

Houston Texans
17 Feb 2020, 13:42 GMT+10

Pop quiz! What are the best divisions in the NFL?

Before you answer, think about what criteria you want to use.

In the past six seasons, The AFC East has the most playoff wins, along with three Super Bowl titles. Yet there's only one team that won any playoff games out of that division during this time period, and we all know who that is.

Having the Patriots atop your division would certainly make it difficult to get to the postseason. But all three other AFC East teams are sub .500 in the Brady-Belichick era.

Sticking with the last half-dozen seasons, the AFC South and NFC West are tied for second in playoff victories with 10 each. They are also the only divisions to have all four teams win a playoff game in that span. And the AFC South is the only division to have each team win at least two playoff games in that time frame.

Of course playoff wins don't tell the whole story. The AFC North, with Baltimore and Pittsburgh, seems dangerous (and no one here is saying it's easy, but stay with me). Yet that's the division with the fewest playoff wins in the last six years. Baltimore hasn't won a postseason game since Gary Kubiak was their offensive coordinator in 2014. Pittsburgh's last postseason win was in 2016.

The AFC West has the fourth-most playoff wins since 2014. But they have climbed to the top of the mountain with Super Bowl titles by Denver and Kansas City.

In our six-year sample, the Lombardi Trophy has only been handed out to teams from three of the eight divisions - The AFC East, AFC West and the NFC East, which has seen only the Philadelphia Eagles rise above the divisional round.

The AFC South is also the only division to put two teams into the playoffs in each of the last three years. It's also yielded two conference championship game participants in the last three campaigns, along with the AFC East, West and NFC South. And the AFC South and NFC West are the only divisions with two different teams going to the NFL semis.

What does this mean for your Texans? Well, they play in a much tougher division than a lot of people think. Aside from the Colts, it doesn't have the same history as some of the others, so it might not be top-of-mind when calculating the degree of difficulty of winning it.

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