Pro Football Weekly contributors Jon Styf and Kyle Nabors debate which division is the best in the NFL.
Nabors: Heading into the season, I would have put my money on the AFC West as the best division in the league. I really liked the Chiefs and Raiders, the Broncos still looked competitive, and I thought the Chargers were improved. That hasn't been the case, though, and I think it's time to declare the NFC South the best division in football.
Styf: Mathematically, you're not wrong. The NFC South has combined for 22 wins while the NFC North and AFC East have 20 apiece to this point. But with Aaron Rodgers out, I don't see a Super Bowl contender in the NFC North and the Patriots are the only team I believe in in the AFC East. What would you say if I told you that I actually like the NFC East the best of all the divisions, despite the hot mess Giants and their gonna-get-fired coach Ben McAdoo trying to coach to keep his job.
Nabors: I'd start by saying you're wrong, but given the state of the NFL, I should probably listen to your argument first.
Styf: The Eagles are clearly good and the Giants are clearly bad, we know that. But I think the Cowboys are a playoff team that could make a Super Bowl run, too. And I believe Washington will end the season as an above-average team, at 8-8 (yes, the definition of average) at the worst.
Nabors: By the way, remember when I said in this space that McAdoo shouldn't be on the hot seat? I take that one back. Fire away. I can definitely see the Cowboys making the playoffs, and I won't count out Washington. The Eagles are clearly in, but I think the Super Bowl favorite resides in the NFC South. I really like what the Saints are doing. Overall, I think the division has three playoff teams between the Saints, Falcons and Panthers.
Styf: For that to happen, the Cowboys and either Rams or Seahawks aren't in. I don't see that happening. It would be easy to say the Rams will fall off the ledge, because they did it early after a 3-1 start last year. But too much has to happen for three teams from one division to make it, when you figure in that both the NFC East and NFC West have a bottom dweller (worse than the Bucs, presumably) for the top two to feed on. By the end of the year, I'm calling that the NFC East and West will get the wild cards and your NFC South will get just one.
Nabors: I'm still not a big fan of this Seahawks team, but we should know which one of us is correct after next Monday when the Seahawks and Falcons meet in Seattle. And I'm a little surprised you wrote off the NFC North so quickly. The Vikings are legit, the Lions continue to outplay expectations, and the Packers are still 5-4 with a soft schedule over the next few weeks.
Styf: I'm not buying the Packers, at this point. They beat the Bears without Aaron Rodgers but I saw them play the Lions too. In my mind, the Vikings are winning the division and the Lions are one of the first teams out in terms of playoffs.
Nabors: Well, it sounds like we're back to where we started. I'm taking the NFC South, and you have the NFC East. I look forward to finding out how we're both wrong.