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NFL 2023 preview: AFC East or AFC North? Rating the hardest divisions

Final season, it was once a foregone conclusion that the AFC West was once the hardest department within the NFL. Perhaps one of the vital hardest divisions ever.

Neatly, no longer precisely.

The Kansas Town Chiefs held up their finish. They gained the Tremendous Bowl. And the Los Angeles Chargers did too, to an extent, making the playoffs sooner than struggling an epic cave in within the wild-card spherical. The Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders had been giant disappointments. It wasn’t the hardest department ever, and even the hardest of the 2022 NFL season.

Nonetheless, we will take a bet on which department would be the hardest (and very best) this season. Listed here are our preseason scores of the divisions, from weakest to most powerful, with a tricky name between No. 1 and a pair of:

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to the team with a huge new contract. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to the group with an enormous new contract. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Solar/Tribune Information Carrier by way of Getty Photographs)

8. NFC South

Working out remaining position wasn’t arduous. Final season’s champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had been fortunate to get to 8-9. And Tom Brady retired within the offseason. The New Orleans Saints may well be progressed with Derek Carr at quarterback, and the Atlanta Falcons would possibly make giant strides if quarterback Desmond Ridder is best than anticipated. The Carolina Panthers have a rookie quarterback, however Bryce Younger must be a just right one. At very least, the champion from this department must be over .500. We are hoping.

7. AFC South

When was once the remaining time this department was once some of the few very best within the NFL? The Jacksonville Jaguars are the transparent favourite after a powerful end to remaining season. It is skinny after that. The Tennessee Titans flirted with an offseason hearth sale, however did not finally end up buying and selling Ryan Tannehill or Derrick Henry. The roster has a large number of holes despite the fact that. The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are coming off depressing seasons and each groups have rookie quarterbacks. It would not be a wonder if the Jaguars win the department by means of a couple of video games.

6. NFC North

The NFC North may well be sneaky unhealthy if the Detroit Lions do not reside as much as the hype. The Minnesota Vikings are in for an enormous regression after one of the crucial lucky seasons ever, the Inexperienced Bay Packers do not know what to anticipate from Jordan Love as he’s taking over for Aaron Rodgers (despite the fact that he regarded just right this preseason) and the Chicago Bears earned that No. 1 total pick out within the 2023 NFL Draft after a three-win season. Numerous the department’s luck would possibly journey at the Lions, who remaining gained the department in 1993 when it was once the NFC Central.

5. NFC West

The ground of the department drags the rating down. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks must be high quality. They each made the playoffs remaining season and look like just right bets to make it to the postseason once more. Each groups have sturdy rosters and coaches. The Los Angeles Rams are rebuilding no longer lengthy after profitable a Tremendous Bowl. And the Arizona Cardinals are liked to have the worst document in soccer.

4. AFC West

This department will probably be harder if the Denver Broncos play as much as the expectancies they’d remaining offseason. New Broncos head trainer Sean Payton is a large improve, and possibly he can repair Russell Wilson. The Kansas Town Chiefs are going to be nice once more. You might be speaking your self into the Los Angeles Chargers’ giant breakout season as we talk, as a result of they tease us with the ability at the roster yearly. The Las Vegas Raiders, neatly, possibly it may not be as unhealthy as remaining season.

3. NFC East

The NFC East had 3 playoff groups remaining season. The Philadelphia Eagles led within the fourth quarter of the Tremendous Bowl and the Dallas Cowboys can have gained a couple of different divisions remaining season. The Eagles and Cowboys are simply as sturdy as remaining season and each must be again within the playoffs. The New York Giants are due for regression, however head trainer Brian Daboll gets essentially the most out of the roster. The Washington Commanders may well be higher than anticipated too if new quarterback Sam Howell emerges.

2. AFC North

There is a just right case to be made for the AFC North having 4 playoff-level groups. The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the vital very best groups within the NFL. Large issues are anticipated from the Cleveland Browns now that Deshaun Watson will probably be within the lineup from Week 1 on. The Baltimore Ravens controlled to retain Lamar Jackson, and feature a brand new offense that would push him to the next point. And the Pittsburgh Steelers by no means publish a foul season underneath Mike Tomlin.

1. AFC East

You’ll communicate your self into the Buffalo Expenses, Miami Dolphins or New York Jets profitable a Tremendous Bowl. The Expenses had been higher remaining season than you consider, the Dolphins can have a top-five offense and protection, and the Jets were given an Aaron Rodgers improve. You’ll additionally argue the New England Patriots, with an unbelievable protection and an offense that will probably be progressed after a much-needed coordinator trade, will probably be one of the vital NFL’s wonder groups. The most important downside for the AFC East groups is they’ve to play every different two times. This department will probably be a gauntlet.


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