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It's Football Time In USA

Mill Woods

Posted on September 2, 2019 13:18

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Did you have a wonderful summer? I hope you are ready for an action-packed autumn. The professional sports league that gave us record numbers of overtime games is about to kickoff for another tense season. That league, of course, is the NFL.

Change! In 2019, teams like the Bucs, Raiders, Packers and Cardinals are doing a makeover, while the Browns and Bears are making a lot of playoff noise.  

With the Bucs turning to Bruce Arians for help, the NFC South is probably not the league's toughest division any more. That distinction likely goes to the NFC North, where the Packers are now struggling to just tread water. In the AFC, the South is the most competitive - it just got a little less deadly when QB Andrew Luck retired unexpectedly.  

The schedule matters - a lot! An easier schedule can mean fewer injuries and a better shot at a home game and/or bye. 

Here are the NFL divisions that have at least two contenders.  

AFC West - Chiefs and Chargers

AFC South - Jaguars and Titans

AFC North - Ravens and Browns

NFC North - Bears and Vikings

NFC East - Eagles and Cowboys

NFC South - Saints and Falcons

I could have easily added a third team to a couple of these.

The Patriots are an awesome team (did I need to tell you that?) but it is greatly to their advantage that they have long competed in the NFL's weakest division. Since 2000, they have won too many division titles to count, and they often enter the playoffs with a first-round bye. Yes, the schedule does matter.

So, what does the 2019 season look like?  

In the NFC, the Cowboys and Eagles have the good fortune to compete against that weak AFC East division. The only bad news for Eagles and Cowboys fans is that they also drew the tough NFC North. Still, the team that wins this division has a good chance of capturing a first-round bye. In the AFC, the Patriots are the team most likely to take a first-round bye.

Out west, it will be wild. The NFC West drew the AFC North and the even tougher NFC South. That means the NFC champion Rams will have a harder time getting a prime playoff spot than in the prior two seasons. The 49ers are improving rapidly under new coach Kyle Shanahan, so the only easy division opponent left is the Cardinals, who could finish last in the NFL.

The only good news for the Chiefs and Chargers is that they get to play the Broncos and Raiders twice. They have eight tough matches against the NFC North and AFC South.

The AFC North is now up for grabs. Although I think the Bengals and Steelers have weakened, they are still forces to be reckoned with. The red-hot Browns and Ravens are not unbeatable, but they are going to make life tough in this division.

The NFC South belongs to the Falcons and Saints. The Bucs are still talented, but it will likely take more than one season for them to catch up. The Panthers are a great team, but their QB situation is in flux (Cam Newton).

Next time, I'll tell you my 12 playoff teams.

 

Mill Woods

Posted on September 2, 2019 13:18

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Source: CBS Sports
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