This week, Marshall Faulk said, "To be GMC Professional Grade you must scrutinize from top to bottom. Some divisions have four teams in playoff contention, while others are lucky to have one," and then asked us the following question: "Look at the league and tell me, which division is the toughest from top to bottom?"
The obvious answer would be the AFC North. Prior to last week, it was the only division in NFL history to have every team at least three games above .500. Does that make it the toughest division in football...or the luckiest?
To an extent, you could say that the AFC North is one of the reasons the NFC South is so bad this year. On the flip side, one could say that the only reason the AFC North appears to be playing at a high level is the fact that they've had the luxury of facing such a poor division in the NFC. I think that any way you put it, having all four teams still two games above .500 heading into Week 14 is a record to be crowd of, regardless of the schedule.
From top to bottom, no other division has every team with at least a .500 record. Record-wise, the next most competitive divisions are the AFC East, AFC West, and NFC West. Let's take a look at the combined number of wins for each division:
AFC East: 23 wins for top three teams, 25 wins overall
AFC North: 22 wins for top three teams, 29 wins overall
AFC West: 24 wins for top three teams, 25 wins overall
NFC West: 24 wins for top three teams, 29 wins overall
While the AFC North is more balanced with mostly 7-win teams, several other divisions are have multiple teams with more than 7 wins. The NFC West beats the Browns when you consider the top three records, and they are tied for overall wins. And, should a division like the AFC East or AFC West be penalized for having one bad team, even if they have three potentially high-caliber teams?
What do you think, Browns fans? If you were talking to another football fan across the country, would you put up an argument that the AFC North is the toughest division in football?