AFC North: Still the Toughest Division in the NFL


Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) reacts in the first half against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC North is still number one, number one being the best division in the NFL. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) recently projected the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers to win at least 8.5 games each, the only division to boast three teams with an FPI rating of 8.5.

More and more information is indicating the dominance of the AFC North, a lot of information coming in the department of the offensive line. I just recently released my Offensive Line Power Rankings within the division a couple weeks ago, so I’m going to go ahead and take the credit for all of the AFC North hype, because let’s face it, Stripe Hype provides the best hype of any website that discusses football. Now that that’s out of the way, take a look at PFF’s offensive line rankings below.

As you can see, all four AFC North teams boast offensive lines in the NFL’s top eight–three of which finished in the top five; that’s pretty impressive!

Furthermore, Will Leitch of Sports on Earth just wrote a fantastic piece on the AFC North, praising the division and calling it one of the NFL’s best two divisions along with the NFC West. To read Letich’s AFC North preview, click here.

But let’s face it, the AFC North is the best division in football. The North’s four Super Bowl championships since the turn of the millennium are the most of any division, tied with the AFC East’s four championships–all of which belong to the New England Patriots. The Bengals, Ravens and Steelers are perennial playoff contenders, and the Browns are showing significant signs of improvement.

You want to talk about dominance? The AFC North has sent two or more teams to the playoffs six out of the last seven seasons, and it has sent three teams to the playoffs in two of the last four seasons–that’s true dominance.

Next: AFC North Positional Rankings: Linebacker