NFL Non-conference records: NFC finishes slightly ahead of AFC, but are they better?

Otto Greule Jr

The final records for non-conference opponents are in the books, who did the best and worst and what does it all mean?

Sometimes I just like things to be on the internet, so I'll be the one to write an article about it. In fact, that's how I started blogging in the first place, and if it wasn't for me doing that, who else would have transcribed the lyrics to the hit song "Hanging Out With My Family" from the film Birdemic?

The following information probably is on the internet already, most likely in several places, but I wanted to compile the data myself so that I could get a better feeling for it. I simply wanted to know if the NFC really was better than the AFC this year.

I still think that the answer is "Yes" but that also really depends on how you define "better." Does being better mean that you are stronger at the top, in the middle, at the bottom, or overall and if it's "overall" then we also have to decide what "overall" means. Are the 16 teams in the NFC as a whole better than the 16 teams in the AFC?

The best barometer we might have for that is head-to-head standings between the NFC and the AFC. That's the data I've compiled, and like Jordan Knight (or Robin Thicke if you're the generation below me) let me give it to you.

Non-Conference Record Standings:

Broncos 4-0
Chiefs 4-0
Bears 4-0
Cardinals 4-0
Chargers 3-1
Bengals 3-1
Patriots 3-1
Jets 3-1
Seahawks 3-1
Panthers 3-1
49ers 3-1
Rams 3-1
Ravens 2-2
Steelers 2-2
Colts 2-2
Redskins 2-2
Packers 2-2
Saints 2-2
Buccaneers 2-2
Browns 1-3
Dolphins 1-3
Bills 1-3
Titans 1-3
Eagles 1-3
Cowboys 1-3
Giants 1-3
Lions 1-3
Vikings 1-3
Falcons 1-3
Raiders 0-4
Jaguars 0-4
Texans 0-4

Conference records:

NFC 34-30
AFC 30-34

Division records vs other conference:

NFC West 13-3
NFC North 8-8
NFC South 8-8
NFC East 5-11
AFC West 11-5
AFC East 8-8
AFC North 8-8
AFC South 3-13

Points of interest:

- The NFC West absolutely dominated the AFC South. The Colts saved the South by going 2-2 (funny enough, by beating the 49ers and Seahawks but losing to the Rams and Cardinals) but otherwise most of the teams were outmatched and featured two of the three 0-4 non-conference records in the NFL; the Jaguars and Texans.

Which sort of brings up another point.

- The Jaguars and Raiders both are 4-7 in the AFC, which looks a lot more respectable than their overall 4-11 records. Meanwhile, the Broncos are 8-3 in the AFC and the Chiefs are 7-4. It's still a sizable gap between Oakland and Denver, but a much closer gap in their conference records than what their overall record shows.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks went 3-1 in non-conference play for an NFC record of 9-2, compared to the Rams and their conference record of 4-7. The gap remains the same because they both went 3-1 against the AFC, though it also brings up an interesting point about the actual strength of St. Louis and Arizona (in terms of beating up the Jags and Texans -- the same black mark that the Colts get for their 10-5 record and the fact that they're about to be 6-0 in the worst division and 5-5 outside of it) however, does it also just show how strong the NFC is?

- This was also an interesting year to pit the NFC West against the NFC South, since those are clearly the two best divisions in the conference, if not the NFL.

- Can the NFC be stronger than the AFC if the NFC East was so terrible? If it wasn't for the Redskins (of all teams) going 2-2, they would look even worse. Yet, what have we really learned from these sort of conference records?

All we can prove is that the NFC West is much, much better than the AFC South and that the AFC West is much, much better than the NFC East. Nobody would've doubted that, right? But what about the NFC West versus the AFC West? Or the AFC East versus the NFC East?

The overall record of 34-30 against the AFC is still pretty close, and it's not as cut-and-dry as saying, "The NFC is just clearly better." I believe that the NFC is stronger at the top, not quite as weak at the bottom, but probably also has a couple "posers" that are about to win their divisions as a result of squeaking by bad teams. (Chicago is probably terrible.)

So there it is now, on the internet. Up next? I've been thinking that maybe "sex" stuff could do well on here too.

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