NFL: Two best divisions face off in 2014

Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray (9) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. San Francisco won 15-13. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is no coincidence that the eight teams with the most difficult schedules in the 2014 season represent only two divisions. As a product of the NFL’s rotating division scheduling process, the AFC West will face off against the NFC West this year.

Both of these divisions were heavily represented in the playoffs last year. Of course the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos met in the Super Bowl. But interestingly enough, both team had to beat division rivals to get there. The Broncos beat the San Diego Charger in the divisional round, and the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship.

The Kansas City Chiefs, also from the AFC West, made it into the playoffs as well. On the NFC side, the Arizona Cardinals had a 10-6 record, but missed out on the playoffs to a Green Bay Packers team with an inferior record because they won the NFC Central.

Only the St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders were not playoff contenders from the two divisions last year.

This scheduling nugget should make for an interesting season for the top teams in these divisions. We will definitely be able to see if the Chiefs were for real last year when they go up against the defenses of the NFC West. As for the Cardinals, we’ll see if their defense is finally up to par with the 49ers and Seahawks when they contend with the Broncos and Chargers offenses.

I can’t imagine 5-6 teams from these divisions making it to the playoffs again since they go head to head. If these two divisions simply beat up on each other throughout the year, it may also open up a spot or two in the playoffs for a wildcard team to sneak in past them. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins or the Chicago Bears will be in line to gobble up a spot if it gets created.

Here is how the eight teams rank for the toughest schedules in the NFL for 2014 based on opponent winning percentage last year.

Team – Opponent Winning Percentage in 2013

1. Oakland Raiders – .578

2. Denver Broncos – .570

3. St. Louis Rams – .564

4. San Diego Chargers – .563

4. San Francisco 49ers – .563

6. Seattle Seahawks – .561

7. Kansas City Chiefs – .559

8. Arizona Cardinals – .547

Topics: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

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  • cameronmm

    The West is the best!

    • RyansDad

      We’ll see

      • twelsh36446

        The NFC North will shine this year, and the West will shrink into has beens.

  • andy

    Right now, our defense would keep us from being competitive. Chiefs offense and special teams are playoff caliber, with a little tweaking.
    I am giving Sutton a couple more years. Not sure we have all the right players for his style of play. I say that tongue and cheek. I blame him for giving up a31 point lead against Indy. And let’s not forget the last second TD the chargers scored against us AT home .
    I trust Reid and Dorsey. This isn’t Pioli and Haley.

  • Ed

    I recall when the NFCEast was the division you didn’t want to play. Oh the good old days.

  • Bill Nichols

    I want everyone to keep underestimating the Bolts………….. Come into a game against us over confident and see where that gets you… Bolts take the AFC West in 2014… Bolts baby!

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