With only 16 games per team, every game is critical. But those six games on the schedule against your division seem to have even more significance.
"Division games are so important," says NBC Sports analyst and former head coach TONY DUNGY. "That's where you've got to win if you're going to win your division."
Since the current eight-division format was instituted in 2002, the 11 Super Bowl champions have posted a combined divisional record of 45-21 (.682) in their title seasons. All 11 clubs posted a .500 or better record in division games during their championship years.
"Division games take on more importance," says Denver Broncos quarterback PEYTON MANNING. "You do more from a preparation standpoint because it's a division game. Having a good week of practice is really where it starts."
"If you can win your division games, it counts more than a game," says Green Bay Packers wide receiver JORDY NELSON. "Winning your division games is huge when it comes to winning your division."
The Packers, who have won 13 of their past 14 NFC North contests, have been one of the most successful teams in division play.
The teams with the best division records over the past five seasons (since 2008):
|Team||Division Record||Pct.||Overall Record||Pct.|
|New England Patriots||26-7-0||.788||65-22-0||.747|
|Green Bay Packers||24-7-0||.774||57-29-0||.663|
|San Francisco 49ers||22-10-1||.682||50-36-1||.580|
"Division games are important," says Green Bay head coach MIKE MC CARTHY. "We spend extra time on our division opponents in the offseason, which I'm sure every NFL club does. Your path to success depends on your ability to win games in the division."
The teams with the most division titles since realignment in 2002:
|Team||Division Titles||Playoff Berths|