What do the AFC and NFC East have in common? For starters, they both have a team from New York, the Giants in the NFC and the Jets in the AFC. Also, both divisions have Super Bowl betting champion teams, unless you count the Bills. Don’t worry Buffalo fans, your day of Super Bowl redemption is coming sooner rather than later.
Last but certainly not least, do you know what else both have in common? Both the AFC and NFC East are the hottest divisions in pro football this season, with all eight teams in pursuit of a playoff spot.
But what has made both divisions so strong? Let’s break down why some of the best football in the league is coming out of the east and which one takes the prize as the best in the league.
AFC East Is Not the Bills and Everyone Else Anymore
Before the beginning of the season, everyone thought that the AFC East would once again be run by the Buffalo Bills. Of course, those same people didn’t imagine that the Dolphins and Jets would show up and show out this season, giving Buffalo a true run for the divisional crown.
While we could talk about the Bills for hours on end, especially after their win over the Patriots Thursday night, let’s take a trip down the East Coast to Miami and talk about Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins.
Their QB-WR trio of Tagovailoa-Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is any team’s dream backbone on offense. Thanks to Mike McDaniel’s offensive approach to the game, the Dolphins have managed to become the biggest threat to Buffalo in the division.
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When pointing out any true deficiencies this team could have, the levels of production from their running back and defensive core might be the most important tools that the Dolphins will have to work on if they wish to win their division and make a strong push in the playoffs.
Moving on to New York, how about those Jets huh? Even with a lackluster Zach Wilson manning the offense for the better part of the season, the Jets have managed to build a 7-4 record, something nobody could’ve seen coming.
After coach Robert Saleh decided to hand the reigns of the offense over to QB Mike White, sending Wilson to the bench along the way, New York’s offense finally looked ready to compete.
Still, it’s no secret that every game has been won because of how good the defense has performed, especially the secondary led by rookie sensation Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.
As the season continues, one point stands out as the most important for New York to fix. The Jets’ running game needs to start helping out more.
After losing rookie rusher Breece Hall to a season-ending injury in week 7, Michael Carter and recently added rusher James Robinson has had to deal with that side of NY’s offensive production.
Expecting Carter and Robinson to perform as Hall did might be a bit of a stretch, but if they can continue to put in the work and help White and the rest of NY’s offense down the stretch, that could end up being the most important key to the Jets making it to the playoffs.
But wait, what about the Patriots? Yes, what about them? Exactly.
Could We See All Four NFC East Teams in the Postseason?
Remember when the best thing to come out of the NFC East was the nickname “NFC Least?” Well, for those who used to enjoy cracking jokes at the expense of said division, take a seat and chew on this: The NFC East is the best division in pro football, facts are facts.
As the Eagles continue to man not only the division but the entire league with a 10-1 record, the Cowboys (8-3), Giants (7-4), and the surprisingly good Commanders (7-5) are all in the race for a playoff spot. What makes all this better is that when you look at how each team’s schedule closes, the race for the top of the division and a spot in the postseason will be riddled with divisional games left and right.
Starting with the Eagles, if you give this team a stronger defense against the run, we could perfectly be talking about the best squad in pro football. Jalen Hurts continues to play at an MVP level every week.
Philadelphia’s offense, both on the rushing and receiving end is as smooth as butter. With a defense that is a stronghold for the most part, especially the secondary, this is a team that wants the Super Bowl and they are not willing to budge on their pretensions.
For the Cowboys and Giants, the race for second place in the division only continues to get better as time progresses. While Dallas continues to rely heavily on its defense and what players like Dak Prescott, when healthy, and Tony Pollard can do on offense, for New York, it’s all about Saquon Barkley.
With this said though, both teams need to focus on staying healthy if they wish to make a strong postseason run. None can afford to lose any starters down the road, especially on defense.
I’m not one to feel joy over an injury scare, but let’s be honest here. Washington was going nowhere with Carson Wentz as their QB, but after he was sidelined, thus leaving the QB position open for Tyler Heinicke to once again take over the offense, this team has played much better. Heinicke has proven to be the leader this team needs.
While the defense has once again been Washington’s shining point, with Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Daron Payne playing at the highest level. And now Chase Young finally returns.
Which Division Rules the East?
If we were to break down the level of competition within each division, the prize goes to the NFC. If we continue breaking down that same level, but this time from a broader perspective, looking at each conference as a whole, the prize again goes to the NFC East.
With the Eagles having the best record in the league and a clear path to the No.1 seed in this season’s NFC playoffs, and with the possibility of seeing all four teams from the division making it into the postseason, it’s clear that the NFC East rules over its AFC foes.
Lastly, could we be on our way to having another AFC East vs NFC East Super Bowl? Eagles vs. Bills sounds like the most obvious choice here, of course. But what about a Cowboys vs Dolphins, or better yet, a Giants vs Jets showdown?
Yes, the possibilities of that happening are as slim, but as long as they’re there, one can only stand by and wait.