How would the AFC North rank in regards to all the other divisions in the NFL? Well, according to CBSSports.com, they would place the division which houses the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns at the very top.
In their Divisional Power Rankings, CBSSports.com has the AFC North in first, not for their postseason success, but for the competitiveness of the division and regular season success. See what they had to say about the ranking:
1. AFC North:
If these rankings were based only on winning playoff games, Andy Dalton alone would have the AFC North in last, but thankfully for Dalton, the regular season matters here, too. The AFC North went 26-13-1 in non-division games in 2014, thanks in large part to the Bengals, who went 7-2-1 out of division. The AFC North also sent three teams to the playoffs in 2014, which is the second time that's happened since 2011. The only other division to send three teams just once in that span is the AFC West, which did it in 2013. (AFC North vs. NFC West and AFC West in 2015)
Truly, if these rankings were based on postseason success, the AFC North would not be at the top. Despite having three teams in the postseason in 2014, only the Ravens were successful in moving beyond the Wild Card round. However, the fact the division set NFL records last season for all teams holding a winning record goes a long way towards the talent which is found within the AFC North.
Some might say their 2014 success was in large part due to the fact the teams were paired with two very weak divisions in the AFC and NFC South, and that point is hard to argue, but at the same time teams still have to go out and perform. Which is something the AFC North did extremely well last year.
As easy as the 2014 schedule may have been, it only gets more difficult for the teams within the division as they are paired with the AFC and NFC West divisions, not to mention having to battle each other twice a season.
Take a look at the complete Divisional Power Rankings:
1. AFC North
2. NFC West
3. NFC North
4. AFC West
5. AFC East
6. NFC East
7. NFC South
8. AFC South