Every year the NFL changes in a lot of ways. There are the years when you have more turnover than others, but every year the overall dynamic of the divisions changes. This past offseason you saw a massive amount of turnover, and it certainly seems like the AFC is running away from the NFC as it pertains to talent.
Nonetheless, when you take a stab at ranking all NFL divisions, like Pro Football Focus (PFF) did recently, you have to notice a trend when looking at all four teams who make up that respective division.
With all that said, it should shock no one which division is at the top of these rankings. That would be none other than the AFC North.
Let’s take a look at PFF’s explanation behind their rankings, as well as how everyone else ranked...
1. AFC NORTH
The Cincinnati Bengals have been to the AFC championship game in each of the past two seasons, falling at the final hurdle against the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl to end the 2021 season. Quarterback Joe Burrow finished with the NFL’s highest PFF passing grade in the regular season and playoffs last year (91.0). Lamar Jackson missed the final six games of the season for the Baltimore Ravens but ended the year with an 85.2 PFF grade, which ranked fifth at the position. With a revamped group of wide receivers featuring Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round draft pick Zay Flowers, they will expect to contend with the Bengals for the division crown.
Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns earned the highest PFF pass-rushing grade in the NFL last season (93.5), but they will need quarterback Deshaun Watson to produce better than his 51.6 PFF passing grade, which ranked 34th of the 36 quarterbacks to record at least 200 dropbacks in 2022. Over the final eight weeks of the season, only three quarterbacks had a higher PFF passing grade than the 82.9 mark produced by Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Steelers, something that will spark hope for a quick turnaround.
Now it’s time to take a look at how the rest of the NFL’s divisions were ranked:
2. AFC WEST
3. NFC EAST
4. AFC EAST
5. NFC WEST
6. NFC NORTH
7. AFC SOUTH
8. NFC SOUTH
What do you think of the rankings? Is the AFC North the strongest division, or is there another division which tops the charts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they continue through OTAs and the rest of the NFL offseason.