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AFC South Spiraling Downward to Bottom of NFL

December 12th, 2013 at 5:42 PM
By Steven Wright

The AFC South has seen a steady decline in the quality of its teams since the 2007 NFL season, but this season is hitting a low in the last six years.

Nearly going overshadowed by the New England Patriots 16-0 regular season, the AFC South in 2007 had the best year of its 12-season existence and possibly of any division in history, sending three teams to the playoffs, all of whom finished above .500. It even saw its fourth-place finisher end up at 8-8.

Since that season, the Colts have been the division's only wild-card participant on two occasions, and have made six of the nine total playoff appearances by AFC South teams.

With the Colts set to make that seven out of 10 in already wrapping up the division crown in 2013, a deeper look around the league shows they hold the honor of being the only division champion so far, and have had a rather easy road in doing so.

The NFC East had been the clubhouse leader for most of this season, with its leader hovering around or being at .500 for several weeks.

While it is also looking most likely at just its division champion making into the postseason, the NFC East's depth has grown with the Philadelphia Eagles emerging to becomes favorites over the Dallas Cowboys.

The AFC South is missing several key factors in comparison to the NFC East that help make it the worst division in the NFL this season.

With that twosome at the top, the NFC East easily outranks the AFC South in strength, as the second-place Tennessee Titans are not just gone from division contention, but on the brink from being out of the playoff race.

Neither division has been filled with defensive juggernauts, but the NFC East has the offenses at least to make up for it. Meanwhile, the AFC South is the lowest scoring division in the league, with the Colts as the highest scoring team, ranking just above the league average mark of 23.5 points per game.

The NFC East wins at the bottom as well. Yes, the Washington Redskins evolved into a mess and have given up more points than any other team, but 11 straight losses is as tough a feat to accomplish as 11 straight wins. It is exactly what the Houston Texans have done though, dropping the last seven by an average of four points to put them in line for the top choice in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Colts themselves cannot be thought of without a bit doubt surrounding them to their current capabilities against non-divisional foes. Indianapolis is one of four teams in the league undefeated against its division, but take that away and the team is left with a 4-5 record outside of the AFC South. The Cowboys are in the same boat in the NFC East, but they're not sitting atop its division and prepping for a home playoff game yet.

There is not a single division that can be picked out and thought of as the best from top to bottom in the NFL this season. However, the AFC South has continued to take itself out of consideration with another poor year.

How bad has the division gotten? Put it this way: Even the Jacksonville Jaguars are beating AFC South teams.

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Tags: Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL

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