Is this year’s NFC West the best division since 2002?

A picture of the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Hono...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the Seattle Seahawks looking to wrap up home field advantage in the NFC playoffs this weekend, the San Francisco 49ers trying to hold on to a Wild Card spot, the Arizona Cardinals one win from a 10-win season, and the St. Louis Rams just two games under .500 with two games to play, it’s not out of the question to look at the NFC West as the best division in the NFL this season.

In 2002, the NFL went to a four-division format in each conference with four teams in each division. In the 11 years since, only three times have the four teams in a division won a combined 4o or more games in a season. In 2007, the four NFC East teams combined for 40 wins; in 2008, the four NFC South teams won 40 games. Also in 2007, the four AFC South teams won 42 games (Indianapolis, 13; Jacksonville, 11; Tennessee, 10; and Houston, eight) most since the new format was instituted back in 2002.

There’s a good chance that the NFC West this year will not only join the other three 40-win divisions, but they might match the 42 wins of the 2007 AFC South. These four teams currently have a combined 37 wins going into Week #16 games (Seattle, 12; San Francisco, 10; Arizona, nine; and St. Louis, six).

Here’s a quick look at the combined wins of each of the eight NFL divisions.

NFC West, 37
AFC West, 33
AFC East, 29
NFC South, 28
AFC North, 27
NFC North, 26
NFC East, 23
AFC South, 20

Interesting stat: Since 2002, the eventual Super Bowl champion has come from the division with the most combined wins three times… in 2002 (Tampa Bay), 2003 (New England) and 2004 (New England). Of the three divisions that had a combined 40 or more wins since 2002, only once, the NFC East in 2007, had a team win the Super Bowl, the New York Giants.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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