The National Football League has completed the first quarter of its season. The following is a brief review of each division.
American Football Conference
AFC East: The Jets have demonstrated that their playoff odyssey as a last minute addition as a wildcard team through the AFC last season was no fluke. By sweeping their first three divisional games, they find themselves in the driver’s seat, slightly ahead of the Patriots. Bills’ fans need to continue to attend the woeful Bills’ games or the rumors of relocation to Toronto will increase.
AFC North: This group is tighter than appears at first glance. The cellar dweller, Cleveland, has a divisional victory while the second place, Pittsburgh, lost its only intra-divisional game so far. This division seems highly likely to produce at least one wildcard entry.
AFC South: The Colts’ domination of this group has officially ended. Two divisional losses buried that birthright. Fans must wonder if the Texans or Jaguars can handle success to stay ahead of Indianapolis.
AFC West: After last season’s run of two undefeated teams into December, only an amazingly clairvoyant forecaster could have predicted that the Kansas City Chiefs would remain the sole team with a perfect record. Their game versus the Colts will reveal the Chiefs to be legitimate contender for the post-season or just a pretender just teasing their followers with fleeting success.
National Football Conference
NFC East: Was this the same division touted as the strongest in the NFL over the summer? None of the four teams have a winning record. If anyone could be tabbed as the frontrunner, that label would fall to the Washington Redskins. Their two victories over Dallas and Philadelphia give them an advantage in terms of tie-breakers.
NFC North: Chicago has raced out to a slim lead in the division. The Bears’ win over Green Bay gives them the edge so far. The Vikings are in third place but still easily capable of winning the divisional crown. Minnesota won its sole divisional game and is only one and a half games behind the Bears and Packers. The Lions’ fans are left with their annual thrashing on Thanksgiving Day and trying to avoid another winless season.
NFC South: This division is already a two team race. Both are 3-1 but the Falcons hold the tie-breaker with their victory at New Orleans. The Panthers’ management clearly did not care to participate in this season’s playoffs by letting go of their only experienced quarterback and declining to troll the free agent market for quality players. It seems that Carolina’s front office wants to set up John Fox to fail and just let him finish out the final year on his contract.
NFC West: This quartet has been referred to the “NFC Worst”. Its members have done little to counter that moniker. No one is above the .500 winning percentage. San Francisco is one of the five remaining winless team in the league. Does the divisional champion truly deserve an automatic playoff game at home? Objective fans can justifiably reply in the negative.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT OCTOBER 2010