The NFL underwent a pretty drastic division realignment in 2002, creating 2 new division to compensate with the addition of a new team. Before 2002, the divisions were in a complete disarray. Tampa Bay was in the same division as the Lions, and the 49ers had to play the Falcons twice a year. However, this isn’t to say the divisions are perfect now. I am going to attempt to realign the divisions, keeping in mind rivalries but will be focusing on geographical areas. I don’t want a scenario like the Cowboys in the NFC East.
AFC North: New England Patriots, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles. This division makes sense from a rivalry and a geographic standpoint. With all teams located in the northeast, no team will gain an extreme advantage of playing in warmer weather. Plus, we would get to see the Giants and Patriots play twice a year. I left the Jets out of this division because I felt it would have been boring to see the Patriots play basically the entire state of New York.
AFC East: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, and New York Jets. The hardest hitting rivalry in the NFL would still stay intact, as well as creating a rivalry between the Ravens and the Redskins as they are less than 100 miles apart. As for the Jets, I’m sure their notoriously outspoken players and coaches wouldn’t rub any team in this division well.
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Atlanta Falcons. Remember when i didn’t want the entire state of New York in one division? I changed my mind down south. There aren’t any rivalries in this division, but each team is in the midst of a rebuild and has plenty of young stars on their rosters. These players will be playing against each other for a while and would create many rivalries down the line.
AFC West: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle Seahawks: This divisions houses one of the best rivalries in the league between the 49ers and the Seahawks. The Raiders are an up and coming franchise and it would be interesting to see them prove this twice a season by taking on one of the best teams in football.
NFC East: Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts. The Panthers seem like the odd man out in this division, as the rest is relatively close geographically. That being said, seeing Andrew Luck and Cam Newton duel twice a season as well seeing them go up against one of the better defenses in football would make for some good entertainment throughout the season.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions. This division remains intact because not only does it make sense geographically, but also makes sense from a rivalry standpoint. Rivalries in this division run deep and each team has a deep-seeded hatred for the other. This division is perfect for defensive football lovers.
NFC South: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, and New Orleans Saints. The automatic in-state rivalry between the Texans and the Cowboys comes to fruition, as well as getting to see JJ Watt get a shot a Mariota and Brees twice a season. This division features an odd mix of teams, and yet seems to work well, at least in my mind.
NFC West: Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, and Kansas City Chiefs. This division may very well be the most stacked division in football. The AFC West essentially traded the Rams for the Cardinals and effectively created the division of death. Every team, with the exception of the Chargers, has an outside chance to win the conference every season.