The Chiefs division dominance is even more remarkable in a league where every other division is a tight race to the finish.
In 2015, the Chiefs started the season with a 1-5 record. They had just lost Jamaal Charles for the season (and ultimately for the rest of his tenure in Kansas City), and they were staring down the barrel of a possible lost season. However, the team rattled off 10 straight wins to finish in second place in the AFC West and they recorded their first playoff victory in 22 years. This is also the last season that the Chiefs did not win the division. In fact, since that game, the Chiefs have only lost 2 games inside the division and have outscored their divisional rivals 849-487. It has been utter dominance for the majority of five seasons and according to Pro Football Focus, that dominance should continue into the 2020 season. They state that the Chiefs are a -425 favorite to win the AFC West again and no other team is close to that mark in their respected divisions. Here is a look at those divisions and how the teams match up against each other.
If there was ever a team that was used to division dominance, it is the New England Patriots. Since the 2000 season, the Patriots have won the AFC East 17 times and is on a current streak of 11 division wins in a row. However, that streak could be in jeopardy for the 2020 season. The staple of the team for the past 20 seasons, Tom Brady, is off to Tampa Bay and the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are both surging in the right direction. While it is never a smart idea to count Bill Belichick out, it does seem like this will be a tougher year than most.
For the past decade, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have gone back and forth as division winners with the Ravens winning the past two seasons. Baltimore does have the reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson, but with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, it would be impossible to completely count out the Steelers. Plus, the Cincinnati Bengals may surprise everybody after selecting QB Joe Burrow in this year’s draft.
The AFC South has belonged to the Houston Texans for four out of the past five seasons. However, with the Tennessee Titans actually advancing further in the playoffs than the division champion Texans, this division is anything but a lock. With the Texans trading away WR DeAndre Hopkins in the offseason and the Titans bringing back nine offensive starters, this division just got a whole lot tighter.
Is it Philadelphia? Is it Dallas? Is it Washington? That has been the question for who will win the NFC East for the past five seasons and it always seems to come down to the last game of the year. As far as talent goes, Dallas should win the division every year. They have all the weapons in Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliot, and Dak Prescott. Plus, they brought in WR CeeDee Lamb in the draft. On paper they should be the team to beat, but it won’t be too surprising if they end up at an under-whelming 8-8.
The NFC North is another toss-up division, with the last three seasons having a different winner. Aaron Rodgers definitely gives Green Bay the QB advantage. Chicago appears to have everything but the QB, as Mitch Trubisky has yet to live up to his draft position, and Minnesota has a great defense. This is why, in most seasons, a wild card team also comes from this division.
The Saints have been the front runners in the NFC South for the past three seasons and the past two seasons haven’t really been that close. Atlanta does have some talent though, with Matt Ryan still under center and Julio Jones still catching passes. Plus, that new QB in Tampa Bay knows a thing or two about winning divisions.
The NFC West has seen every team win at least once in the past five seasons. Arizona, who hasn’t won it since 2015, now looks pretty solid with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald. Add in the return of Kenyan Drake, who was dominant after being traded to the Cardinals in the middle of last season, and Arizona might be right up there with San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles.