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NFL Draft

Which NFL Division Will Be The Most Competitive In 2020?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 9, 2020
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The NFL and college football are different in many ways. One good example is the discrepancy in divisional pride. 

At the college level, you'll often see fans of a conference defer to boasting their conference's superiority. The SEC is notorious for its pride in being the best conference in the land, even amid hated rivals Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia and others. The NFL? Not so much. There are even divisional "rivalries" that run tame. Some of this is a byproduct of the league's divisional realignment, but even still you won't find the same pride in being a member of the AFC South as you will in being a part of the SEC.

Perhaps we should see some more pride in the NFL's divisional hierarchy because all divisions are not created equal. For the past decade, the AFC East has been the Patriots and then everyone else. The Chiefs have owned the AFC West for the last four seasons. Meanwhile, on the other side of the league, the Vikings, Bears and Packers have each worn the division crown in the last three years and all three won multiple division titles in the 2010s. The NFC West has seen each of their four teams win a division championship as recently as 2015.

All divisions are not created equal; not in hardware and certainly not in their 2020 outlook. But which division in 2020 is poised to be the most competitive?

Some divisional races in 2020, such as the AFC East, figure to be tightly knit; but don't figure to have a lot of high-quality play. The Patriots are on a down year, the Bills are arguably the most complete team but need more consistent play from their quarterback, the Jets have significant questions with their supporting cast for Sam Darnold and their coaching staff and the Dolphins have a ton of new pieces in Year 2 of an aggressive rebuild.

Other divisional races figure to be marred by roadblocks by inferior teams, which knocks them down in the hierarchy of competitive divisions. Both the AFC and NFC South are good examples: the Saints and Buccaneers are all-in in 2020 on the NFC side. While the Falcons are angling to make a playoff run, the Panthers are facing a significant teardown of their own and aren't expected to compete highly this year. Same for the AFC side, where the Titans, Texans and Colts all boast a legit chance to win 10 games; but the Jaguars are young and face a lot of question marks with their decision to build around quarterback Gardner Minshew.

So, which NFL division stands to offer the best competition from top to bottom and from start to finish?

Bet on the NFC West. The division has the luxury of playing the AFC East this season, presenting a slew of winnable out of conference games and cross-country travel to further bolster their home-field advantage. The NFC West also plays the NFC East, bringing difficult challenges against both the Eagles and Cowboys but also two softer games against rebuilding programs in Washington and New York; two teams led by first-year coaches.

The NFC West's four squads offensively boast superstar quarterback Russell Wilson, former No. 1 overall picks in Jared Goff and Kyler Murray and one of the brightest head coaches in all of football in Kyle Shanahan, who finally had his roster healthy last season and promptly made a run to the Super Bowl. Top to bottom, the NFC West looks to boast potential playoff contenders and their weakest link in Arizona added wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason and invested heavily in the defensive side of the football in the 2020 NFL Draft.

If you had to ask yourselves which division in football was most likely to see four teams with final records at or above .500, the NFC West makes a strong case. So, if you want to enjoy an entertaining and crowded division race from start to finish in 2020, keep your eyes out west on the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and 49ers. That's going to be one hell of a ride.

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