Jerry Tapp

Divisional Dominance Is Key To Overall Success

Created on Mar. 27, 2014 5:39 AM EST

The New England Patriots have had the best record in the NFL over the past decade. One of the reasons for this dominance has been the fact that they have been almost unbeatable within their division, the AFC East. Consider this: In the last 10 seasons, the Pats have gone 48-12 (.800 winning percentage) in games against their fellow AFC East teams, the best division record of any NFL team in the last 10 seasons. Of the four teams in the AFC East (New England, Miami, Buffalo and the New York Jets), the Patriots are also the only one of those four to have a winning record in division games from 2004–2013.

It's interesting to note, however, that the Patriots are not the only team that has dominated play within their division in the past 10 seasons. The Indianapolis Colts rank second to New England with a 45-15 record (.750 winning percentage) in division games since 2003. The Colts are also the only AFC South team with a winning record in division games in the past 10 years.

Let's take this division play a step further. Did you know that the San Francisco 49ers have the biggest difference in winning percentage between division games and non-division games in the last 10 seasons? The 49ers have a .592 winning percentage in games against their fellow NFC West teams, but have won only 40 percent of their games outside their division, a difference of .192 percentage points. At the other end of the scale are the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have a .217 winning percentage in games against their fellow AFC North teams, but they have a .380 winning percentage outside their division, a difference of 163 percentage points.

Here's a look at each teams' winning percentage within their division and in games outside their division from 2004-2013.

Team, Winning pct. within division/winning pct. outside division, difference

San Francisco... .592/.400   +.192

Green Bay... .692/.550   +.142

San Diego... .700/.580   +.120

Seattle... .617/.510   +.107

Arizona... .500/.410   +.090

Indianapolis... .750/.660   +.090

Carolina... .550/.470   +.080

Pittsburgh... .683/.640   +.043

New England... .800/.760    +.040

Chicago... .567/.550   +.017

New York Giants... .567/.560   +.017

Oakland... .317/.300   +.017

Minnesota... .492/.480   +.012

Tampa Bay... .417/.410   +.007

Denver... .583/.580   +.003

Cincinnati... .517/.515   +.002

New Orleans... .567/.570   -.003

Philadelphia... .550/.565   -.015

Baltimore... .583/.600   -.017

Jacksonville... .433/.450  -.017

New York Jets... .483/.500   -.017

Kansas City... .400/.420   -.020

Dallas... .517/.560   -.043

St. Louis... .292/.340   -.048

Houston... .400/.460   -.060

Buffalo... .350/.420   -.070

Miami... .367/.440   -.073

Washington... .367/.440   -.073

Tennessee... .417/.510   -.093

Detroit... .250/.350   -.100

Atlanta... .467/.620   -.153

Cleveland... .217/.380   -.163

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