Monday, December 5, 2011

Is the NFC East The Worst Division In Football?

Well, yes. But I suppose you'd like to be convinced, right?

Let's take a look at the actual won-loss records.

Dallas 7-5
NY Giants 6-6
Philadelphia 4-8
Washington 4-8

Cumulative: 21-27
Conference: 16-20
Non-conference: 5-7

Last 5: 7-13

That last bit is especially telling. Washington's one win was over Seattle, and has to be considered something of a shock. The Eagles beat Dallas. New York beat the Patriots; again, a bit of a shocking upset. Dallas squeaked out wins over Miami at home and Washington the om road, and blew out Seattle and Buffalo at home. (This makes them a powerhouse. No, seriously.)

So two of those wins were in the division, one qualified as a win over a certain playoff team (NYG over NE), and the "hottest" team in the division just got punked in the desert when their coach iced his own kicker. But let's take each team in turn, shall we?

Dallas... One playoff win in this century. A QB who has numerous fourth quarter wipeouts. A team that was absolutely decimated by the moribund Eagles for their only win in the last five weeks. A second-year coach who, let's not put too fine a point on this, iced his own kicker today. Let that sink in for a while. Oh, and they are going to win this thing, then lose at home to a wild-card team, as the TV shows close ups of Jerruh Jones' hideously tight face.

New York... Historic second half failures. Had literally everything fall into place for them to pull off the upset of the Packers today at home, and were unable to do it. The good RB (Ahmad Bradshaw) can't stay healthy, the bad RB (Brandon Jacobs) can't shut up, and the defense can't do either. Oh, and the coach might be circling the bowl, especially if the team fails to make the playoffs again, and the Jets do, since that make Year Three of Rex Ryan Rules Gotham.

Philadelphia... Oh dear God in Heaven, let's just do the one thing that actually bothers them... and ignore them. The most disappointing year in franchise history, the biggest trainwreck in recent NFL history, a year that pretty much tarnishes the entire tenure of the most successful coach in franchise history. Oh, and they are not very good.

Washington... Remember, they started the year 3-1, and are now 4-8. The only reason that no one thinks they are a disappointment is that when you start the year with Rex Grossman and John Beck as your QBs, no one expects you to be worth a damn, anyway.

So it's obvious that the NFC North, NFC South, AFC East and AFC North are all much better divisions; they have great teams and actual Super Bowl aspirations. So it comes down to just the usual suspects (NFC West, AFC West) and the AFC South, since the Colts are winless and horrible now. Let's examine each in turn.

NFC West -- Sure, the Niners look like a paper tiger big win team... but the defense is for real, and 10-2 is 10-2, folks. And while the Rams are truly terrible, the Seahawks have a defense, the Cards a running game and great special teams, and both of those clubs have serious home field advantages. The Niners are 4-0 against the East; that alone, in my opinion, gives the division the edge.

AFC West - Lost in the Year One Of Our Tebow is the fact that the Broncos do a lot of things well now, and winning a road game when you turn the ball over twice should not happen when your QB spends most of the first three quarters of every game looking like he's a fan who stole someone's uniform. Oakland might be the most inconsistent team in the league (what else is new?), but 7-5 on a last-minute imported QB and second-string RB isn't the worst place to be. Kansas City gets a pass for spending their first month watching a ton of guys go off on carts, and San Diego is basically the tail end of a squandered era. It's close, but it's in the realm.

AFC South -- Did you know the Titans were 7-5? I barely did, and I make a little coin from doing the blogging thing, really. Houston is basically Niners AFC (big record, likely loser), especially now that they are on QB3. Jacksonville got their coach fired, and Indy is clearly tanking for Andrew Luck. I think this is a worst division than the NFC East now, but it's close.

The bigger point, of course, is how things will be in 2012. There seems to be this collective delusion about the Eagles, that they will be just fine and bounce back if they give Coach For Life Andy Reid another five thousand feet of rope... but the problems here are much bigger than shuffling deck chairs and tossing Juan Castillo overboard. (Note: They should still toss Juan Castillo overboard. In that he should have never been on board in the first place. But I digress.) Dallas has some young talent, sure, but much of their defensive horses are getting long in the tooth. Washington is, of course, a perpetual quagmire of misery, so it's entirely up to the Giants. Who might, of course, toss their coach and start over again, despite having the best WRs in the division (yes, much better than Philly), and young defensive personnel that actually look like they've got a clue.

So, long story short? The NFC East is a *bad* division. It's been an overrated one for a very, very long time; now it might be the worst. So let's all stop pretending that winning this division is any kind of significant accomplishment, OK?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and the possibility of an 8-8 division winner looms.

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