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AFC North Has Been Best Division Since 2020

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Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Baltimore Ravens Head coach John Harbaugh

The AFC North has been the best division in the NFL since 2020, based on win % in non-division games 62.6% (106-63), according to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football.

The AFC North win percentage is by far superior than the other divisions  — 54.7% (94-78) – NFC West, 52.9% (91-81) – AFC West, 51.5% (88-83) – AFC East, 49.1% (84-87) – NFC East, 48.5% (83-88) – NFC North, 43.0% (74-98) – NFC South, 37.8% (65-107) – AFC South.

“If you double the sample, from the last 4 years to the last 8, the Steelers track record within the AFC North is even more impressive: 71.9% (34-13-1) – Steelers 54.2% (26-22) – Ravens.38.5% (18-29-1) – Browns, 35.4% (17-31) – Bengals,” Sharp wrote.

“Insanely, the Steelers have virtually the same record vs each team the last 8 years: 12-4 vs Bengals, 11-4-1 vs Browns, 11-5 vs Ravens.”

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons had a humorous debate arguing which division is the best in the NFL on Bleacher Report’s 2024 NFL Draft Live Show. Parsons thinks the NFC East is the best, while Stroud said the AFC North was by far the best division in the NFL.

“On paper last year, we were arguably the best division in football,” Parsons said. “Everyone was a playoff team.”

Stroud replied, “No sir, AFC North was the best division in football. Washington wasn’t nothing. Bro, what are you talking about? No one in the planet except for Micah Parsons thought the NFC East was better than the AFC North.”

Parsons’ argument was based solely off heading into the 2023 season, as the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all made the playoffs in 2022.

“You thought Washington was gonna to be good? There is not a weak team in the AFC North. What are you talking about? Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland …” Stroud said, who left out the Steelers by name.

“On paper, Washington was supposed to be a really great team,” Parsons replied.

“Washington is not better than any of those four teams. I guarantee you,” Stroud said.

All four AFC North teams finished above . 500 in 2023, becoming the first division since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to have all four of its teams finish with a winning record. With that stat, it’s hard to argue Stroud’s point. The Cowboys and Eagles made the playoffs in 2023, but both suffered first-round playoff losses. The New York Giants were 6-11, while  Washington finished 4-11.

On paper, the Steelers toughest game in 2024 is against the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Overall, they’ll have the third-toughest strength of schedule in 2024, with their opponents holding a combined win percentage of .533. Only the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens have a tougher strength of schedule.

 

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