AFC divisional rankings

AFC Divisional Rankings

As the summer gets closer, excitement levels around the NFL continue to rise. When looking across the league, rosters are taking shape with minor moves still to come. Fans and experts now get a good look at what each of the eight divisions looks like heading into 2024. Some of the most exciting matchups and divisions in football belong in the AFC. Today, let’s rank the four AFC divisions from the strongest to the weakest.

AFC Divisional Rankings


AFC North

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for NFL fans as for what seems like forever the AFC North has been one of the most competitive and strongest divisions not only in the AFC but in football. Since 2010, this division has had four seasons where three of the four teams qualified for the postseason which is the most out of any division in the AFC. On top of this, in 2023 the combined record in the AFC North was 43-25, totaling a .632 winning percentage, the best in football. The 2023 campaign also saw three teams from the north qualify for the playoffs with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers all punching tickets to the dance.

Not only is the history present with this division, but the upcoming 2024 season should create major fireworks between the four teams. For the Ravens, after falling one game short of the Super Bowl as the one seed last year they wasted no time upgrading this offseason. Baltimore added Derrick Henry and extended Justin Madubuike. Ravens Flock will also get a healthy Mark Andrews back into the mix.

On top of this, the Cincinnati Bengals will get their star quarterback back in Joe Burrow, and in Pittsburgh, a few new faces are in town with the additions of Russell Wilson and Patrick Queen. The Steelers were also able to add Roman Wilson and Troy Fautanu through the draft. Despite concerns looming around Deshaun Watson in Cleveland, they will get star running back Nick Chubb back and traded for Jerry Jeudy in the offseason. Fans also can’t forget the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett.

This division has it all, on offense it features two of arguably the best quarterbacks in football, Jackson, and Burrow. The North also features exciting playmakers in Nick Chubb, Ja’Marr Chase, Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry, and George Pickens. While on defense it features elite pass rushers in T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett. It’s safe to say the North will be a gauntlet once again in 2024.

AFC East

Over the last 20+ years, the AFC East has not been highly regarded as a very competitive division with primarily two teams dominating the division. From 2003 to 2019 the New England Patriots won the division every year except for 2008. Since Tom Brady left after the 2019 season, the east has belonged to the Buffalo Bills who have won the division in four consecutive seasons dating back to 2020. However, entering 2024, the division feels wide open for the first time in over two decades.

In the offseason, major changes hit Buffalo with star wideout Stefon Diggs being dealt to the Houston Texans. On top of that, the Bills lost their starting safeties, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. For Miami, it was a quiet offseason with a few subtractions except for one main addition in Odell Beckham Jr. to an already loaded wide receiver room. One team that should make the division wide open in 2024 is the New York Jets. Not only will Aaron Rodgers be thrown back into the fold, but the team added Mike Williams, Tyron Smith, and Haason Reddick in the offseason to bolster an already talented core.

What separates the AFC East and AFC North is the East does have a weak link in the New England Patriots who are staring down the beginning of a rebuild. However, the top of this division should create lots of fireworks and a case could be made for one of Miami, Buffalo, or New York to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIX.

AFC South

The AFC South caught the league by surprise with the way the standings looked when last season came to a close. Going into the season many felt the Jacksonville Jaguars would run away with the division which at 8-3 looked promising until a 1-5 collapse the rest of the way. That opened the door for the Houston Texans and C.J. Stroud to win the division with ten wins and win a home playoff game against the Cleveland Browns.

Entering 2024, this division still has its unknowns but there is a lot to be excited about. The Texans have quickly become the talk of the league with the addition of Stefon Diggs to an already dangerous air-aid attack. The Indianapolis Colts will get a healthy second-year signal caller Anthony Richardson back into the mix. The Tennessee Titans despite losing Derrick Henry were able to pivot with the addition of Tony Pollard and added key wideouts in Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. Questions do remain in Jacksonville with how they will be able to handle their late-season collapse going into 2024 but if they can rekindle their 2022 success they will be a team to watch for.

Overall it’s a division with a lot of potential but still looming question marks. As many experts like to grade players on how high their ceiling or floor is it’s similar with this division. It feels like a division with a very high ceiling but a low floor. What separates the North and the East from this division is they have proven it before, but the South still needs to do so.

AFC West

Let’s be honest if it wasn’t for the back-to-back champion Kansas City Chiefs, this division would be an afterthought. Even with the Chiefs, this division has become irrelevant to many. Kansas City has taken home the division crown in eight consecutive seasons dating back to 2016. During these eight seasons, half of them saw Kansas City as the only AFC West representative in the playoffs.

Entering 2024, the division looks the weakest it has looked in a very long time. While The Las Vegas Raiders should be competitive they still have a question mark at quarterback. The Los Angeles Chargers entered rebuild mode when they hired Jim Harbaugh who should get them back on track but how soon is the question. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, they enter the season with one of the worst receiving cores on paper in the NFL. As for the Denver Broncos, they will look to reset after the Russell Wilson debacle with a three-way quarterback competition between Bo Nix, Jarrett Stidham, and Zach Wilson. No matter the outcome of that competition, this year will most likely be nothing more than a rebuilding season in the Mile High City.

That leaves you with the Kansas City Chiefs who will look to secure the three-peat this season. With the additions of Marquise Brown and Xavier Worthy, Kansas City was able to upgrade the receiving room. Those players will join an offense that already includes the best quarterback and tight end in the game and a rising star at running back in Isiah Pacheco. All signs point towards this being Kansas City’s ninth straight division title and they shouldn’t have to do much heaving lifting to get there.

Main Image: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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