CBS Sports went through each division in the NFL and to see who is the strongest. The first and last should come as no surprise. The NFC East was and continues to be the worst division in the league. It’s so bad that even the fans who watch those teams can’t argue against that every week. Every team in the NFC East had a losing record outside of the division. That says it all. Luckily, we play that division this year.was and continues to be the worst division in the league. It’s so bad that even the fans who watch those teams can’t argue against that every week. Every team in the NFC East had a losing record outside of the division. That says it all. Luckily, we play that division this year.
The best division? The NFC West:
1. NFC West
This division is so stacked, it’s almost unfair.
The NFC West dominated the NFL last year, and it won’t be surprising if it happens again in 2020. The NFC West has consistently been producing some of the best teams in the NFL. Over the past six years, all four teams have played in at least one NFC title game. To put that in perspective, only one other division has even produced three conference title teams in that same span (AFC South). The reason that fact is notable is because it feels like any of the NFC West’s four teams could end up back in the NFC title game this year. Not only did the Cardinals have a big offseason, but the 49ers will likely be one of the favorites to win the NFC this year, well, as long as they make it to training camp in one piece, which isn’t exactly a given right now.
If the NFC West is good, it could end up making some history this year. With the NFL playoffs expanding in 2020, it will now be possible for a division to send ALL FOUR of its teams to the playoffs, and if any division can pull that off this year, it feels like the NFC West would be the most likely one to do it.
NFC West out-of-division record in 2019: 26-13-1 (10-6 vs. NFC South, 10-6 vs. AFC North, 3-1 vs. NFC East, 3-0-1 vs. NFC North)
2020 out-of-division schedule: vs. NFC East and AFC East
Regarding the “as long as they make it to training camp in one piece” line, it’s been a rough month. Deebo Samuel broke his foot, Richie James broke his wrist, one of the skill players tested positive for COVID-19—and we still don’t know who or how they recovered. Then, Raheem Mostert requested a trade, and George Kittle has yet to sign an extension. I’ve seen rumors around the internet saying that Kittle and the 49ers aren’t close to an agreement, though I’m not sure how much stock we can put into that. Kittle is under contract, and the 49ers don’t have to do anything as of now.
As for the division, does the NFC West’s strength worry you, or are the Niners good enough where they’ll be able to overcome their divisional foes? I’d bet we’ll be in for some close games once again this year, and winning four division games won’t be easy for the 49ers. Luckily, there’s the NFC and AFC East to the rescue. The other three teams in the division get to play those teams as well, but I go back to matchups. Not many teams are built to beat the Niners.
The pass rush and speed on defense made it tough for opposing offenses to punch it in the end zone last year, and even with a slight drop-off, everyone expects the Niners to be a top-3 unit in 2020. It’s the other side of the ball that should be even better, and that’s scary for the rest of the NFL.