Nearing the midpoint of the season, parity abounds. 24 of the 32 teams in the NFL have earned between three and five wins through Week 7. Nevertheless, some divisions have clearly outperformed others.
Divisional Power Rankings:
1. AFC West
The AFCW earns top billing by a slim margin. The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos are tied atop the division with the upstart Raiders at 5-2. Denver still fields a ferocious defense, while Oakland has learned how to win close games. The Chiefs have rediscovered their identity as a team that wins in the trenches and have four wins, including the last two in a row. And the Chargers have rebounded from several fourth quarter meltdowns to climb back into the race, at 3-4.
2. NFC East
This division has been better than expected, largely due to the success of rookie signal callers. The Cowboys have won five consecutive games behind a powerful offensive line and efficient offense. The Eagles have four wins and Carson Wentz has played well. The Redskins and Giants are both a game above .500, and boast respectable offenses. Combined, the NFCE is 6-1 against the AFC this season.
3. AFC East
New England is the only team in the league with six wins, and have looked the part, overcoming several key player absences to stack up wins. Buffalo has posted four wins, their defense is solid and their offense is clicking, resulting in a +56 point differential this season. Miami is 3-4 following a pair of wins, and have played well at home. The Jets are not very good, but still more talented than most of the other basement dwellers in the league.
4. NFC North
Minnesota has the best defense in the league this season, but dropped their first game of the year on Sunday, their offense line is well below par. Green Bay has four wins and are beginning to find success on offense without a proven running back. Detroit has been better than expected, they are 4-3 on the strength of a high scoring offense. The Bears have a single win on the year, and have lost three in a row, but are getting healthy.
5. NFC West
Seattle has gritted their way to a 4-1-1 record, their offense has taken a step back, but the defense is still hanging on. Arizona is surprisingly 3-3-1, they will likely start stacking some wins in November. The Rams are 3-4, losers of three straight. They have too many holes on their roster to make a serious run. The 49ers are a mess, with no capable quarterback, a bad defense and six consecutive losses.
6. AFC North
The Browns drag down the division as the NFL’s only winless team. However, the three perennial contenders have been disappointing as well. The Ravens and Steelers have been dealt numerous injuries, and have a combined .500 record. Pittsburgh has lost two in a row and Baltimore four in a row. Cincinnati is currently below .500 and have not been as good as they were last season on either side of the ball. The division as a whole is 1-6 against the NFC.
7. NFC South
Atlanta is leading the South with the most explosive offense in the league. Their defense has improved, but not enough to hold onto leads in either of their last two games. Tampa Bay is 3-3 with two victories in a row, Jameis Winston has cut down on the turnovers as their rushing game has picked up. The Saints abysmal defense has been too much for Drew Brees to compensate for, especially in road games. The curse of the Super Bowl runner-up has struck Carolina, they have lost four in a row. The Panthers defense has declined dramatically without Josh Norman.
8. AFC South
The Texans are leading this division with four home wins and three road losses. Their defense has been hit hard by injuries and Brock Osweiler has not payed up to his contract so far. Indy is 3-4, Andrew Luck is keeping them alive almost singlehandedly. The Titans have a solid defense, and Marcus Mariota is finding his stride, but they are not a viable contender yet. Jacksonville has been a disappointment, at 2-4 their passing offense has regressed.