The Winners of the AFC East and North, by the Numbers
Heading into Week 13 the two best division races are in the AFC, as both the East and the North have a tie atop the standings. The NFC South lead is just a half-game, but since all of the teams in that division are below .500, we’re going to ignore them.
The AFC East and North are led by four good teams, and all four teams could win their divisions
Not only do most NFL power rankings have the Bills listed ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East, they still have them on top of the AFC. Using Cold, Hard Football Facts as our guide, and their Quality Stats Power Rankings – which is a ranking based on a compilation of their proprietary stats – the Bills as the third-best team in the NFL and the top team in the AFC. When compared to the Dolphins, the Bills are No. 3 and Miami is all the way down at No. 13.
Of the four teams tied for division leads, the Bills are the best and the most likely to come out on top.
As mentioned above, Cold, Hard Football Facts has the Dolphins a good distance behind the Bills in the AFC East. They actually have the Jets above the Dolphins too, when it comes to their complete statistical picture.
The schedule also doesn’t do Miami any favors. They play the Chargers and Packers, who are ranked 25th and 24th in the Quality Stats Power Rankings, but they have the Jets at No. 9, the Patriots at No. 7, the 49ers at No. 4, and the Bills at No. 3.
According to the numbers, the Wild Card is the best the Dolphins can do.
Sticking with the Quality Stats Power Rankings, which is one of the most complete looks at how a team is performing, the Ravens are No. 8 in the NFL. That’s quite good, until you consider that their first-place mates in the division, the Bengals, are No. 5.
What the Ravens lack in a head-to-head comparison with the Bengals, they make up for in the remaining schedule. They play the Steelers twice (No. 26), the Broncos (No. 18), the Browns (No. 19), and the Falcons (No. 23). Then it’s at Cincinnati in Week 18. For the sake of us football fans, let’s hope we’re still tied going into that final game.
Cold, Hard Football Facts has the Bengals ranked ahead of the Ravens, No. 5 to No. 8. But in contrast to the easy schedule remaining for Baltimore, the Bengals have to run the gauntlet. They play the Chiefs (No. 6) this week, then the Browns (No. 19), Buccaneers (No. 14), Patriots (No. 7), and Bills (No. 3).
If they can survive that stretch before playing Baltimore in Week 18, they will be deserved hosts of that final game.