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Which NFL division is the strongest?

Everyone's been talking about how bad the "NFC Least" is. And since I cover that division full-time for Bleacher Report, this is my chance to break from the depression and take a look at some of the stronger divisions in the NFL. Let's rank the divisions from top to bottom, seven weeks in:

1. AFC West

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .726 (16-5)

Points differential: +186

Winning teams: 3

It's easy to forget about San Diego, but the Chargers are 4-2 in interdivisional games. The Chiefs and Broncos have been the best two teams in football and San Diego might have a shot at a playoff spot as well. The Raiders aren't good, but they also aren't terrible.

2. NFC West

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .667 (12-6)

Points differential: +60

Winning teams: 2

Everyone figured this division would be the best in 2013, and they've been close. The problem is that San Francisco stumbled a bit out of the gate, while St. Louis and Arizona have probably been worse than their records would indicate (they're both 3-4).

3. NFC South

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .389 (7-11)

Points differential: +65

Winning teams: 1

I actually believe Tampa Bay is better than its record, and Atlanta definitely is. The Panthers are flying under the radar and the Saints are heavy hitters. This division is stronger than the NFC North and AFC East, despite what the numbers say right now.

4. NFC North

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .500 (9-9)

Points differential: -4 

Winning teams: 3

Minnesota is really bad and the Bears are falling off (thanks partly to injuries), but Detroit and Green Bay look strong. Despite what the numbers say, this is an above-average division. 

5. AFC East

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .588 (10-7)

Points differential: -27

Winning teams: 2

I'm keeping them below the NFC North because all four teams have been inconsistent. Plus, I don't trust anyone in this division, including New England. 

6. AFC North

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .474 (9-10)

Points differential: -35

Winning teams: 1

The Bengals are good, and they're really starting to peak. But even they're prone to some dog games, and the Ravens and Steelers have lost a lot of luster. The Browns are bad, as is this division as a whole.

7. AFC South

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .333 (8-16)

Points differential: -163

Winning teams: 1

The Jaguars are the worst team in football, the Texans have been an utter disappointment and the Titans are coming back to earth. The Colts save the division, but that isn't enough. 

8. NFC East

Winning % vs. the rest of the NFL: .294 (5-12)

Points differential: -104

Winning teams: 1

I actually think this division has better teams than the three AFC divisions ahead of it, but they haven't shown me enough. A lot of talent in Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia, and the Giants were reigning Super Bowl champs just a year ago. I don't think the NFC East will finish the season in dead last.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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