On Sunday, we established that the NFC South is a really tough division. No team has ever won back-to-back titles in the division and its competitiveness is symbolic by the lack of many trends, especially defensively. It's an up-and-down division that is up for the taking every season, but it's always a fight.
While the NFC South has the title, arguably at least, as the toughest division in the NFL, it also has another title, according to one knowledgeable source: The top QB division.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com recently ranked the NFL's divisions by their quarterbacks, and he has the NFC South at the top of the list. Of course, New Orleans' Drew Brees headlines the list as one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the league, but Jeremiah ranks Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan second in the division ahead of Carolina's Cam Newton and Tampa's Josh Freeman.
Jeremiah explains that he puts the NFC South at the top because of depth, production and upside. His point of view is well-respected around the league, spending eight seasons as an NFL scout before joining NFL.com recently.
"Ryan has been incredibly consistent in the first four years of his career," he wrote.
Ryan enters his fifth season with one Pro Bowl season under his belt and three trips to the playoffs. While the knock against Ryan is that he has yet to win in the playoffs, he's not the first top quarterback to do so. Under the new tutelage of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Ryan is expected to be handed the keys of an offense that is finely tailored to his skills. Another season of improvement and growth from Ryan could see him rise even higher into the upper echelon of top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Jeremiah lists the NFC North headed by Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Detroit's Matthew Stafford next on the list. At No. 3 is the NFC East, with Eli Manning of New York and Tony Romo of Dallas at the top of the class.