Mike Freeman's NFL Grades: Pre-Week 12 Edition

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Mike Freeman's NFL Grades: Pre-Week 12 Edition
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So I was wr- wr- wr-

(Clears throat. Stands up straighter.)

I was wrong about Nick Foles. Kind of. Sorta. Probably.

I always thought Foles was a system guy. Not a great deal of talent or accuracy. I never disliked Foles; I just thought people—particularly one or two homers in the Philly media—were engaging in premature crownulation.

What you're seeing with Foles, however, is no fluke. It's not a product of a system. He displays serious accuracy, the ability to read defenses and go through progressions, calmness, and did I mention accuracy? It was against Washington, one of the more disgraceful defenses in football, but Foles at times looked like Joe Freaking Montana.

Foles has changed the fortunes of the Eagles. Mike Vick was already gone, but this assures he will never start in an Eagles uniform again. Foles is also the kind of player who can make Chip Kelly's fancy-pants system crank at high output.

Of course, since Eagles fans are absolutely the classiest fans that ever lived, in the history of the universe—never, ever trolling, or obnoxious, or self-righteous, or violent, in any way, ever, just the cutest little fanbase in the history of the universe—they have not rubbed it in about Foles at all. They would never do such a thing.

Foles isn't always spectacular, but he is the real deal—and I'm sorry, Mr. Foles, for calling you overrated and a Philly media darling.

Now, on to the grades.

Team Grade Analysis
49ers A- The 49ers made mistakes, but it was that controversial roughing the quarterback call that changed the game. Right call, horrible rule. Protect the players, yes. That's smart. But is flagging a player for that kind of hit really protecting anyone? Brutal way to lose a game.
Bears B Chicago wins on a horrible field after a long delay thanks to tornado warnings. It wins without Jay Cutler against a solid opponent. Marc Trestman deserves a lot of credit for this one, even though his use of timeouts, or misuse of them, wasn't ideal.
Bengals A Cincy fell behind 13-0 and then scored 31 points in the second quarter. There are knockout blows, and then there's what Cincinnati did to Cleveland. The Browns were hit so hard Otto Graham felt it.
Bills A They turned four Geno Smith turnovers into 17 points. Quarterback EJ Manuel had two touchdowns despite missing two starting wide receivers (Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods). It was the kind of shocking win that makes the NFL so impossible to predict and fun to watch.
Broncos A We just get used to Peyton Manning winning and winning and winning. We take it for granted. Solid execution against a formidable Kansas City defense.
Browns F They gave up 31 points in the second quarter. Is that even possible? Is this real life?
Buccaneers A It was a certainty that Greg Schiano would be fired at the end of the season. Yet the players clearly haven't given up on the season. They out-hustled and outsmarted a vastly more talented and experienced Falcons team.
Cardinals B+ From the Cardinals' PR department: During Arizona's three-game winning streak, Carson Palmer is 63-of-92 passing (68.5 percent) for 832 yards, six touchdowns, just two interceptions and a 109.5 passer rating.
Chargers C- They didn't score a touchdown after the first quarter, have lost three straight and will be watching the playoffs from their warm condos on the beach.
Chiefs B Really impressed with a Chiefs defense that held Denver to 10 second-half points. They are the real deal. Underestimate this team at your own risk.
Colts B+ Not a great first half, but Andrew Luck had one of the best drives of the season to start the second half. Once again, the Colts are terrific after a loss. They have yet to lose back-to-back games under Chuck Pagano. 
Cowboys   Bye
Dolphins B Some good news in what has been weeks of horrible news. The Dolphins defense slowed Philip Rivers—who made several Philip Rivers-y faces, the true sign he's frustrated—and rushed for over 100 yards behind a revamped offensive line.
Eagles B Philly took advantage of a horrific Washington defense, but its own defense absolutely battered Robert Griffin III. Still barely held on to win.
Falcons F--- They got blasted…by the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers. Do you understand? The Yuccaneers! The Falcons should be ashamed of themselves.
Giants B This team scares me. They've won four straight and are quietly establishing themselves as a formidable presence in a putrid division.
Jaguars C- They tried, and things looked good against Arizona after scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. But they couldn't withstand the Palmer onslaught.
Jets F Maybe the worst performance on the day. Maybe the worst performance on the year by almost any NFL team. The Jets were blown out by a depleted Buffalo team. One of the big reasons was quarterback Geno Smith, who was 8-of-23 for 103 yards with three INTs. A passer rating of 10.1. Thank goodness the team signed Ed Reed. He helped a whole lot.
Lions D- The Lions are the Lions are the Lions. They are very Lionsy. They can't be trusted. The failed fake field goal late in the game against Pittsburgh is an example of why they just can't ever be taken seriously. Lions gonna Lion.
Packers C- They're done. No playoffs for Green Bay. Unless Aaron Rodgers has a miracle recovery. The kind of miracle recovery that would make medical journals.
Panthers A+ It's not just that Cam Newton beat Tom Brady, because football is a team game. Many integral parts and…aw, hell, CAM NEWTON BEAT TOM BRADY!
Patriots A- One of the few times a losing team will get an "A" grade. Right down to the wire. The refs picked up the flag without explanation. Brady was screaming at the head official as both walked off the field. The Patriots have a legitimate gripe after a wonderful game.
Raiders B The Raiders have a good problem—a quarterback controversy.
Rams   Bye
Ravens B- Ray Rice is quietly back on track. He had 131 yards rushing against Chicago. The problem is the rest of the Ravens team is discombobulated.
Redskins C After a miserable three quarters, Washington scored 16 unanswered points in the fourth. It was a nice run but made too late. RGIII continues to get absolutely battered.
Saints B+ They got lucky, exceedingly lucky, with that roughing call in the final minutes.
Seahawks A The scary thing about this team is that they have another gear remaining. Maybe two gears. Or more.
Steelers B+ The Steelers should hope there are more stories speculating about Ben Roethlisberger's future. Roethlisberger's numbers against Detroit: 29-of-45 for 367 yards and four touchdowns.
Texans F Players arguing on the sideline. Coaching malpractice. Crappy quarterback play. A horrible defense. No, not the Jaguars. The Texans. Massive change coming for that organization.
Titans C- The weirdness of sports: The Titans dominate their first half against Indianapolis and then implode in the second. It became as simple as one team had Andrew Luck; the other had Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Vikings D Why did the Vikings sign Josh Freeman if they're not going to play him? What was the point? The team has nothing to lose now. Play him.
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