Though Forbes, Sports Illustrated, and other mainstream media are often commenting about the decline of football, its political controversies, and dwindling ratings, a hot topic that’s sweeping the US is the possibility of NFC East becoming the worst division ever.
Things have gotten so bad in NFC East that some are calling for the NFL to adopt the 2016 WNBA playoff structure. To step away from the format that guarantees a playoff spot to all division winners. Fans are asking that the best teams compete in the postseason, regardless of division and conference standings. They do not want to see an NFC team among the best, as many believe that it does not deserve such a spot, especially not when viewership is down by 10% as compared to 2019. NFL’s popularity is currently staying afloat due to the rise of online sport betting at 888sport and other such platforms.
However, the reality is that someone will win the division, and that team will host a postseason game, no matter their record. Of course, it is too early to tell if NFC East in 2020 will go down as the worst division in NFL history, but it sure seems to be on track.
How Bad Is the NFC East?
Well, the answer to this question is – downright awful. Things have reached a point where it now bears the nickname NFC Least, and the NFL has hit a milestone by producing a season in which every team in a division had less than three wins in the first seven weeks.
At the start of the season, no one had expectations that the division will be a juggernaut in 2020/21. However, no one was expecting this unraveling. To understand the level that the other divisions are, one has to look at the bottom of their respective standings. The Packers and the Titans have the next-worst records for division leaders, at 5-2. The Eagles currently reign at the top of the NFC East table with a 3-4 record, and Washington is trailing with a 2-5 one. All in all, after thirty-one games, the NFC East teams have a win total of 25,8%.
Which Team Will Win NFL’s Worst Division?
There is no doubt that injuries have made this race tight. According to sports statistic websites, a team may, in theory, win a division with only five wins. In one computer simulation, the Giants won the division with a 4-12 record. It is a bleak scenario and a sad state of affairs for football in general. Unless someone makes a drastic shift, we may be in for a long ride the following two-thirds of this season.
Some bookies project that the Eagles will come out on top with a record of 7-8-1. To put things in perspective, ESPN thinks that there is a 66% chance that the division winner will have less than seven wins and a 28% chance that this number will be lower than six. As of the time of writing, most online sportsbooks favor the Philadelphia Eagles to take the number one spot. Key players returning from injury make them a -165 favorite. The Cowboys are the second-likeliest winner, according to betting experts, with odds at +350. Washington is in third place, with odds at +350.
The Worst Division in NFL History
With all this talk about the possibility of NFC East claiming this much-unwanted title, one has to wonder, which division currently holds it? Well, if we look at the books based on previous results and picks, we do not have to go too far back to find our winner, seeing as it was NFC South in 2014. The Panthers won the division with a record of 7-8-1, and NFC South’s collective numbers amounted to twenty-two wins, forty-four losses, and one draw. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a particularly disastrous season, with a record of 2-14, tying the Titans for the worst numbers in the league for that year.
We can also find the second-worst division in history in this same decade. In 2010, in a bit of Sunday Night Football, the Seahawks managed to beat the Rams and claim the top spot of the NFC West standings with a record of 7-9, the same as the Rams. That year, the 5-11 Cardinals finished at the bottom of the division table, and the 6-10 San Francisco 49ers came in third place.
If we go six years back to 2004, NFC West had another horrible year, where it sent two teams to the playoffs. The 8-8 Rams and the 9-7 Seahawks. Other disastrous years for other divisions include 1984 for AFC Central, 2015 for AFC South, 2015 for NFC East, and 2011 for AFC West. Let us hope that things turn around and that 2020 for NFC East does not replace NFC South (2014) at the top of this list.