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"The Patriots play in a weak division"

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by TonyTucker, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. TonyTucker

    TonyTucker Rookie

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    You know, I'm getting a little sick of this statement. I literally just flip on the TV to watch a little of the Patriots pregame, and that idiot Mike Felger is asking whether the Patriots success is because they're good, or because the division is so bad.

    I just want to know, where exactly are these other juggernaut divisions that the Patriots don't play in? Felger cited the "battle tested" AFC North, which until recently with the Ravens (and still with the Steelers), the Patriots bashed their brains in every time. The AFC South? The Colts could win it with about 8 or 9 wins this year, and last year, the Patriots annihilated the playoff bound Texans and Colts by scores of 42-14, 41-28, and 59-24. The AFC West has two very good teams this year, but not that long ago the Chargers in 2008 and the Tim Tebow led Broncos won it with 8 wins.

    The NFC East? Just win 9 or 10 games and you've got it locked up. How about the NFC North? Who's leading that, the Bears/Lions at 7-6? The NFC South has had pretty good teams with the Saints and Falcons the past few years, and now the Panthers, I'll give you that. And the NFC West is great, but again, just a few short years ago the Seahawks won that division at 7-9.

    The only year I felt like the division was truly awful was 2007, but the Patriots played basically everyone else outside the division, the 2, 3 (twice), 4, 5 seeds in the AFC, and the 1, 5 (twice), 6 in the NFC.

    Sorry for the rant, but it's the first freaking thing I hear when I turn on the TV. It's getting on my nerves.
  2. yukon cornelius

    yukon cornelius Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    paying felger any attention was your first mistake
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's something that is not true this year (look at the NFC East or AFC South), nor has it been true over the years. I have stats to back it up, but I'm going to focus on the game right now; I'll be back with those later today or tomorrow.

    Just one of those things that gets repeated so often it becomes accepted as fact, but it is a myth.
  4. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In fairness, the AFC East is a weak division, but it is far from the weakest division.
  5. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #95 Jersey

    AFC east is weak
  6. bigballas

    bigballas Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    who cares if we play in a weak division. its the age of parity...

    oh yea, we also beat saints, broncos...and played a tight game vs. panthers. hows that for weak?
  7. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    If the AFC East is always perceived as weak, that's at least due in part by the fact that Miami, Buffalo and the Jets have to play the Patriots twice.

    Add wins instead of losses to the Patriots to their records in various years and quite often you'd see that making a big difference in the standings and playoff implications

    If the Fins lose today they'll be 7-7

    If they'd had a lesser team than the Patriots in their division they'd have been 9-5

    That's a dramatic difference. Overall I'd say the rest of the AFC East has been average to good - but 2 games against the Patriots can make a huge difference in the the standings, and in perception.
  8. TomPatriot

    TomPatriot PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Felger is to football as Folgers is to coffee.
  9. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    in comparison to which other divisions. Make your case statistically.
  10. brdmaverick

    brdmaverick Rookie

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    #32 Jersey

    I think the big mistake is that analysts sometimes look at the quarterbacks and not the teams when assessing tough divisions.

    In this department the AFC East is lacking. After Brady you've got Tannehill, Geno, and Emanual. Ouch

    Even though the NFC East is a joke, it's still looked at as a tough division because you've got Romo, Foles/Vick, RGIII, and Eli.
  11. Koma

    Koma Rookie

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    It's not the Patriots job to make sure the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills are competent, well run organizations on and off the field.

    I also don't recall hearing kind of talk over the last decade when the Colts got to play in a division with an expansion team, a recent expansion team and a team that changed cities. Or even in the 80s, when the 49ers were matched up with the Rams, Saints, and Falcons. Yes, one of those three teams would be good for a couple of years at a time, but the other two were would be bad.
  12. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I get the impression that those who make the 'AFC East is weak' statement look only at the Dolphins, Jets and Bills, and then compare those three teams to all four teams in other divisions. Doing so makes for such a biased comparison since it is unequal that it simply delivers a useless reference point.

    Here are the current records of each division:

    37-19 NFC West
    33-23 AFC West
    29-27 AFC East
    28-28 NFC South
    26-27-2 NFC North
    26-29 AFC North
    23-33 NFC East
    20-36 AFC South

    Imagine that: the AFC East is the third best division in the NFL. That's right, the AFCE is better than the NFC South, NFC North and AFC North.


    An anomaly perhaps? Here are last year's division records:

    35-29 NFC North
    34-28-2 NFC West
    34-30 NFC South
    33-31 AFC North
    31-33 AFC East
    31-33 AFC South
    31-33 NFC East
    26-38 AFC West


    Let's go back one more season, to 2011:

    37-27 AFC North
    36-28 NFC North
    33-31 AFC East
    33-31 NFC South
    31-33 AFC West
    30-34 NFC West
    30-34 NFC East
    26-38 AFC South


    Not enough sample size? Okay, here's 2010:

    36-28 AFC East
    36-28 NFC South
    33-31 AFC North
    33-31 NFC North
    32-32 NFC East
    31-33 AFC West
    30-34 AFC South
    25-39 NFC West


    2009:

    38-26 AFC South
    34-30 NFC East
    33-31 AFC North
    33-31 NFC South
    32-32 AFC East
    32-32 NFC North
    30-34 AFC West
    24-40 NFC West


    And 2008:

    40-24 NFC South
    38-26 AFC East
    38-25-1 NFC East
    38-26 AFC South
    31-32-1 AFC North
    25-39 NFC North
    23-41 AFC West
    22-42 NFC West



    In the last six years the 'weak' AFC East has had a losing record just once, and if one of those losses was a victory then the division would have had no losing records over that time.

    The supposedly tough NFC East on the other hand has not had a winning record since 2009.

    Since 2008 the AFC East is 20 games over .500; during that time only one division has been better. Here's a comparison with the other divisions during that span:

    +30 NFC South (most came in 2008)
    +20 AFC East
    +12 AFC North
    +1 NFC North
    +1 NFC East (-16 since 2011)
    -10 AFC South (-28 since 2011)
    -26 AFC West (5 straight losing records, 08-'12)
    -28 NFC West
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
  13. manxman2601

    manxman2601 On the Roster

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    #24 Jersey

    Rather than taking the records of a division as a whole, I wonder whether using the records of the division minus the leader might be a better way of determining the strength of a division as it controls for the bias of having one exceptional team in a bad division.

    Now without going to the depth of your excellent post, I had a look at this year's record to date and after taking out the leaders record, the AFC East is still third in terms of games won with only the two western divisions bettering ours, a result I admit to being surprised by.
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Obviously, the leader should be removed.

    I do agree that the colts of the past 10 years have also been graced by playing in a very weak division.

  15. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the surprise is due to our hearing that the AFC East is weak so often that is has become accepted as fact.

    It's one thing for fans of rival teams to say that, but when members of the media (especially national media) do so it almost always goes unchallenged, as most assume they have done their research and have facts to support their opinions. The comment then gets repeated, and soon becomes accepted as being factual.
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When you remove the division winner, you taint the results because the of intradivision results. ie the 2007 AFCE had 6 losses to the Patriots, so the 6 wins by the Patriots are needed to balance it out.
  17. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    Beat me to it. A division's record against itself is always going to be .500, so what really matters is a division's record against everyone outside of it, so the total record (including division leader) is the best indicator.

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