The core of NFL competition starts with its divisions.
It is where bitter rivals face each other twice a year, not just for bragging rights but also for playoff contention.
A team that can sweep its division already has six victories and will need just five more to play into the postseason, hopefully.
That’s why players circle the dates when they will face these hated opponents again.
Who would have thought the Raiders and Chargers would be better than the Chiefs this year division wise?
— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) October 24, 2021
However, the strength of each NFL division varies every year due to free agency and injuries.
There are hotly-contested titles that boil down to the final regular-season games.
On the other hand, it’s also possible for one team to dominate the field and clinch the division with a handful of games left.
Such luxury allows them to reduce their starters’ minutes to avoid injuries.
They still have to play because upsets are highly possible in the NFL.
AFC North might be the best and toughest division in the NFL
— “Three-Peat” Fan/LeVaxx (@opinionsondanba) October 24, 2021
As much as the league wants parity (hence the hard salary cap), some division leaders already landed the knockout blow against their staunch opponents.
These teams will have a happy Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas because it would take a disaster to unseat them from the summit.
3. NFC South
However, it officially became Brady’s division to lose since Brees retired.
The Buccaneers have arguably one of the best rosters in the league as Brady continues to defy Father Time.
The 44-year-old quarterback already has 2,275 yards and 21 touchdowns through seven games.
— NFL (@NFL) October 24, 2021
Their dominance on both offense and defense makes the division practically theirs.
The only mistake they’ve made lately is Mike Evans giving away the ball Brady threw for his 600th touchdown.
The best New Orleans can do is to battle for a Wild Card spot.
They will meet next week in New Orleans, but the Buccaneers will create more separation with a 7-1 record.
Tom Brady has more career passing touchdowns than the Panthers, Ravens, Jaguars or Texans as a franchise. pic.twitter.com/9xxJweFrSu
— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 24, 2021
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons are gaining some steam after winning two straight games.
In contrast, the Carolina Panthers have lost four straight since Christian McCaffrey’s injury.
But those two teams are galaxies away from what the Buccaneers can bring on the field every week.
2. NFC North
Aaron Rodgers does not only own the Chicago Bears.
Instead, he also possesses the entire NFC North.
Since he became the starting quarterback in 2008, the Green Bay Packers have won seven division titles, including four straight from 2011-2014.
This year, Rodgers proved that their 38-3 defeat to the Saints was an aberration.
Four words that will echo through #Packers history:
"I. Still. Own. You."
– Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/xF6sIjOjIf
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) October 23, 2021
They’ve won six straight games to have a three-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings have a nice push, but they’re still nowhere near the Packers.
Meanwhile, Justin Fields struggles to be consistent for the Bears while the Detroit Lions are still winless after seven games.
Therefore, set Green Bay’s 2021 NFC North title in stone.
1. NFC East
Last year, the Washington Football Team represented the NFC East in the playoffs despite a 7-9 record.
Taylor Heinicke and company also gave the Buccaneers a hard time during their Wild Card encounter.
One year later, the Dallas Cowboys dominate the division.
They also had a shot in 2020 if not for Dak Prescott’s injury.
The Cowboys have the biggest lead in any division in the NFL. Is the NFC East over? Now on @undisputed
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) October 25, 2021
Now, he’s back stronger and better than ever as the leader of the NFL’s top-rated offense.
On defense, the Cowboys also have Trevon Diggs, who leads the league in interceptions.
Barring any collapse, Dallas will clinch this division early.
— ✭✭Blizzy✭✭ (@BlizzyB_) October 24, 2021
Washington’s defense couldn’t stop anyone while the Philadelphia Eagles struggled on offense because of their unimaginative schemes.
The New York Giants are unfortunate to have most of their key players dealing with injuries.