The NFL continues to be as unpredictable as ever with 12 teams in the AFC at .500 or better and eight teams separated by one game for the final playoff spot in the NFC. The final six weeks of the season will have some exciting playoff races -- along with a few battles for division titles that need to be settled.
Of course, the battle for division supremacy in the NFL is large. The AFC North still has all its teams .500 or better, while every team in the AFC West is over .500. Is that enough to overthrow the AFC North for the top spot? And how far did the AFC East move up after its unblemished week?
This week's divisional power rankings had plenty of movement -- again. On brand for this crazy NFL season.
8. AFC South
Last week's ranking: 6
No division in football had a worse week than the AFC South, which is on brand for the worst division in football. The AFC South went 0-4 in out-of-division games, which included the division-leading Tennessee Titans getting blown out by the AFC East-leading New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts blowing a double-digit lead to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Elsewhere, the Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't beat the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans lost to the New York Jets in a winnable game for the bottom feeders. This division is bad, even if it gets two playoff teams.
The AFC South is an NFL-worst 11-21 in out-of-division games (.344 win percentage) and an NFL-worst 18-28 overall (.391 win percentage).
7. NFC North
Last week's ranking: 8
For one week (and maybe for the rest of the year), the NFC North isn't the worst division in football. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions didn't do the division any favors on Thanksgiving, yet the Bears are just one game out of the final playoff spot in the NFC (at 4-7).
The Green Bay Packers pulled off a huge victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of two of the NFC's best teams, which was also the North's only victory outside the division. The Minnesota Vikings had opportunities against the San Francisco 49ers, but their loss showed the NFC North just has the Packers from preventing it from being the worst division in the NFL.
The NFC North is just 12-20-1 in interdivisional games (.379) and 18-26-1 overall (.411). This division is slightly above the AFC South.
6. NFC East
Last week's ranking: 4
Week 12 wasn't a good one for the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles found a way to lose to the New York Giants, which arguably was the worst team in the division heading into the week. New York is just one game out of a playoff spot in the NFC.
The Dallas Cowboys, who fell to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving, may not have to worry about Philadelphia in the division, but the Washington Football Team may be their biggest challenger for the title. Washington defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win its third in a row, as the Football Team sits as the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs.
The NFC East didn't have a good week, but this division isn't the "NFC Least" this year, having a 17-20 out-of-division record (.459) and 21-24 overall (.467).
5. NFC South
Last week's ranking: 5
Might as well give the NFC South to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are starting to run away with the division with the New Orleans Saints dropping three in a row. New Orleans was blown out by the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving and have fallen out of having one of the playoff spots.
Outside of Tampa Bay, every team in the division has an under .500 record. The Buccaneers had an impressive win over the Colts and remain a Super Bowl contender in the NFC. The Falcons handled business against the Jaguars, but the Carolina Panthers took one on the chin against the Miami Dolphins. The Falcons, Panthers, and Saints have their issues, but they are all still in the playoff race and are better than the other "worst" teams in worse divisions.
The NFC South is still over. 500 in interdivisional games, sporting an 18-17 record (.514). The division is 23-22 overall (.511).
4. AFC East
Last week's ranking: 7
What a week for the AFC East, going a perfect 4-0 in interdivisional matchups. This is the division we envisioned at the beginning of the year, starting with the Bills' blowout victory on Thanksgiving. The Patriots are one of the best teams in the conference, showcasing their strength with a blowout win of their own over the Titans. Buffalo and New England square off for first place in the division next week.
The Dolphins have won four in a row and are a game out of the AFC playoffs after a convincing win over the Panthers. The Jets even won (!), taking care of the Texans to cap an undefeated week for the division.
The AFC East deserves to jump three spots after last week's performance. The division is 16-16 in out-of-division matchups and 23-23 overall -- back at the .500 mark after being below that for most of the year.
3. NFC West
Last week's ranking: 3
The preseason No. 1 for the best division in football is a distant third through 12 weeks. The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football at 9-2 and were idle this week, but the Rams had a golden opportunity to showcase the division's strength against the Packers. Instead, the Rams laid an egg in losing their third straight.
The 49ers may be the second-best team in the division after earning a huge win over the Vikings. The Seahawks remain the biggest disappointment in the NFL this year, falling to Washington and sitting in last place with a 3-8 record.
The NFC West is the only division in the conference with three teams over .500. This is the best division in the NFC, but it is far from the AFC West and AFC North at this juncture.
The division is 18-12 in interdivisional matchups (.600) and 25-19 overall (.568).
2. AFC West
Last week's ranking: 2
The only division with all four teams over .500 isn't No. 1? How is that possible?
The AFC West is really good, and showcased its strength with the Raiders upsetting the Cowboys on Thanksgiving -- yet that was the only out-of-division game. The Denver Broncos beat the Los Angeles Chargers in a divisional matchup, demonstrating how hard it is to win games in this division. The Kansas City Chiefs extended their division lead with the Chargers loss (they were idle this week).
Three AFC West teams are tied for the final playoff spot at 6-5, with the Chargers owning the tiebreaker based on divisional record. This division looks if it will come down to the final week.
The 20-14 out-of-division record by the AFC West is the third-best win percentage in football (.588). The AFC West has an overall record of 25-19 (.568), tied with the NFC West for second-best in the NFL. This division is inching closer toward dethroning the AFC North for the top spot.
1. AFC North
Last week's ranking: 1
A pair of divisional matchups kept the AFC North at the top spot this week, a division that's set to have a three-way battle for the title. The Baltimore Ravens didn't play well in a win over the Cleveland Browns, but earned a huge victory to take over the top seed in the conference. Cleveland is still in the race at 6-6, but has to beat Baltimore coming out of its bye to have a shot at the division.
The Cincinnati Bengals have the look of a division champion, crushing the Pittsburgh Steelers to improve to 7-4 -- one game out of the division lead and the No. 1 seed in the conference. Cincinnati has a big out-of-division matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday while Baltimore and Pittsburgh resume their rivalry.
The AFC North holds on to the top spot with an out-of-division record of 20-12-1 (.612), the best in football. Overall, the division is 26-18-1, with the .589 win percentage also the best in the NFL. They're No. 1 for a reason.