The NFL has finally reached the final week of the regular season, which brings us to the conclusion of the divisional powerhouse rankings for the year. Inter-divisional games are over as the league schedules all divisional games for week 18.
NFC West has been challenged throughout the year, yet preseason No.1 finished the year in the lead. A dominant week 17 sealed the top spot for NFC West, which has the potential to bring three teams from its division to the playoffs (AFC West is the only other division that can accomplish that). AFC South has established itself as the worst division in football, even though it could have two teams in the playoffs. NFC East was not as bad as we had expected and AFC East ended up doing a lot better than the preseason standings indicated.
The final edition of the Divisional Power Rankings is here. Football in the west ended up leading the league in 2021.
8. AFC South
- Final interdivisional record: 16-28 (.364)
- Ranking last week: 8
AFC South is injured by the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars having two of the worst AFC records, but the division is one victory behind the No.1 seed in the conference (Tennessee Titans). The Indianapolis Colts are also a one-berth win in the playoffs, but could have locked that spot had they beaten the Las Vegas Raiders at home.
The Titans were the only team in the division to win last week, as AFC South is 26-38 (0.406 winning percentage) with a week to go. The AFC South wasn’t the worst division in NFL history, but it was poor throughout 2021.
7. NFC North
- Final interdivisional record: 18-25-1 (.420)
- Ranking last week: 7
NFC North hasn’t been a good division all year either, but the Green Bay Packers, who have the best record in football, have kept it hidden from the rest of the league. Three teams will end with a losing record, one of which (Detroit Lions) has the worst record of the conference. NFC North is set to be a better division than it has shown this season, a year after producing two playoff teams.
There will be changes in NFC North after the season, as the division is 28-35-1 (.445) with a week to go.
6. NFC East
- Final interdivisional record: 20-24 (.455)
- Ranking last week: 6
NFC East was football’s worst division last year, but managed to improve in 2021 and secure two playoff teams in the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The division had one of the worst New York Giants football teams, but improved overall thanks to the emergence of Philadelphia. If the Eagles beat the Cowboys on Saturday, the NFC East will have two teams with 10 wins in 2021.
NFC East is 30-34 this season as the 0.469 winning percentage is a huge improvement over last year.
5. NFC South
- Final interdivisional record: 22-22 (.500)
- Ranking last week: 5
The NFC South had one of the best teams in the league in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but all of the New Orleans Saints’ injuries hampered their playoff chances, but the Saints can still squeeze in with a win and a loss of the 49ers. The Carolina Panthers had another bad end to the year, but the Atlanta Falcons improved in their first season under Arthur Smith.
This division has flirted with .500 all year and will end at .500. NFC South is 32-32 for the last week of the year.
4. AFC East
- Final interdivisional record: 22-22 (.500)
- Ranking last week: 4
The AFC East will also finish at the 0.500 mark, but this division will have two teams with 10 wins, the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills, both headed for the playoffs. The Miami Dolphins had a seven-game winning streak, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a 1-7 start in the end.
That division can still get three teams over 0.500 if the Dolphins win this week, which only NFC West and AFC West can claim. AFC East is 32-32 for Week 18.
3. AFC North
- Final interdivisional record: 23-20-1 (.534)
- Ranking last week: 3
AFC North have held the title of best division in football for a while this year, but the Baltimore Ravens starting a five-game losing streak and the Cleveland Browns with a disappointing finish have them permanently removed from the top spot. This division can only get one team in the playoffs (Cincinnati Bengals), as the depth of the AFC North has shown throughout the year. There was no easy exit in the AFC North.
AFC North is 33-30-1 heading into final week, finishing with the third-best divisional winning percentage (0.523). The four teams in the division will have at least seven wins.
2. AFC West
- Final interdivisional record: 26-18 (.591)
- Ranking last week: 2
AFC West has been good throughout the year, as the Kansas City Chiefs put their six-year stranglehold on the Tested Division before winning seven straight games to seal it. The Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers both have a shot at making the playoffs, preparing for what could be a win-win final.
Three AFC West teams have nine or more wins, one of only two divisions that can claim that claim. The AFC West could also get three playoff teams (in a wild way) if the Colts find a way to lose on Sunday.
A year-round entertaining division, the AFC West is 36-28 heading into final week. This 0.563 winning percentage is the second best in the NFL.
1. NFC West
- Final interdivisional record: 28-16 (.636)
- Ranking last week: 1
NFC West has been the best division in football throughout the year, and their cross-divisional record has proven it – winning over 63% of their matches against non-divisional enemies! A perfect 4-0 week in Week 17 cemented NFC West’s status as the best division in football, the only division with two teams at 11 wins (and could have two teams at 12 wins after the week 18).
Two NFC West teams go to the playoffs, with a third on the way if the San Francisco 49ers win on Sunday. No NFL division will be able to claim that claim if the Colts and 49ers win (the Colts’ victory eliminates three AFC West teams that make the AFC playoffs), which shows the strength of the division.
NFC West could get three teams with 10 wins if San Francisco wins this week. The division is 38-26, as the 0.594 winning percentage is the best in football.