NFL First Half Season Grades: AFC
I know the NFL season is 17 weeks long, so the middle of the season is half way through the eighth game, right?
Here is how I had the teams rated in my preseason rankings along with their predicted records, and where they are now. The grade I am giving is not for the team, but for my predictions.
Pittsburgh Steelers , 13-3 / 5-2
The Steelers were my top seeded AFC Team. Other than the two losses in the closing minutes of their week two and three games, the Steelers have handled most teams they have played.
New England Patriots , 12-4 / 5-2
The biggest question about the Patriots was, would Tom Brady come back as Tom Brady? Brady is playing most of the time like the Tom Brady of old, especially in the last few weeks. The question is now, can the defense continue to play at the level to win championship? Remains to be seen.
Tennessee Titans , 10-6 / 1-6
For me to be correct, the Titans are going to have to run the table, which just isn't going to happen. No one expected the Titans to fall so hard. Maybe it was the curse of the Terrible Towel, maybe not. The Titans could be in trouble, and looking for a new coach come January.
San Diego Chargers , 9-7 / 4-3
San Diego is great at beating the bad teams, but can not seem to beat the good teams. They are playing exactly like I thought they would. The Chargers have the talent on their team to be successful, so I would have to put the blame on the coaches.
Baltimore Ravens , 11-5 / 4-3
After the Ravens dropped three games in a row, they were looking to not be as successful as I thought they would be. But after pounding the previously undefeated Broncos, the Ravens are again looking like they are for real.
Miami Dolphins , 10-6 / 3-4
After winning the AFC East last year, the Dolphins are struggling a lot worse than I thought they would. Their special teams and defense bailed them out against the Jets Sunday, but they cannot count on that every game. Losing Chad Pennington for the year is what will keep them from the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts , 9-7 / 7-0
Man, did I miss the boat on this one! I thought with the new coaching staff in place, the Colts would suffer. With the Titans playing horrible, the Colts are the top team in the AFC to this point.
Houston Texans , 9-7 / 5-3
I started out knowing that the Texans were a much improved team, but I did not know that they would be playing to the level of a wild card competitor. If the Texans continue to play to this level, they could gain their first playoff appearance in team history.
Cincinnati Bengals , 8-8 / 5-2
Tied with the Steelers for first in the division, the running game has the Bengals as one of the top teams in the AFC. Their defense is playing like they are for real, and Carson Palmer is again playing at Pro Bowl form.
New York Jets , 8-8 / 4-4
The Jets are playing pretty much exactly as I thought they would. Rex Ryan has the defense playing great, but the rookie QB is struggling against the better teams.
Kansas City Chiefs , 6-10 / 1-6
I thought with Matt Cassel and Scott Pioli coming from New England, the Chiefs would sweep the Raiders, split with the Broncos and Chargers, and beat Cleveland and someone else on their schedule they should lose to. I was wrong.
Jacksonville Jaguars , 6-10 / 3-4
After losing to the Titans Sunday, the Jaguars are again heading in the wrong direction. Jack Del Rio could be looking for a job next year.
Oakland Raiders , 5-11 / 2-6
Coaches beating up assistants, a QB that is blaming everyone but himself, and a defense that two weeks ago said they were going to be in the playoffs.
Buffalo Bills , 5-11 / 3-5
TO was not the answer. The defense is not good, and the offense is worse.
Cleveland Browns , 4-12 / 1-7
The Browns are actually worse that I thought they would be. I thought for sure that they would be able to win at least one out of every five, but at this rate, they will win half that many.
Denver Broncos , 2-14 / 6-1
MAN, did I miss the boat on the Broncos. I was certain Josh McDaniels would be a complete flop, and who could blame me with the way the offseason went?
Calculating my GPA for the AFC teams, my grade is just over 2.5. Good enough to pass, but not good enough for the Dean's List. Take away the Titans and Broncos, who have shocked everyone with their play, and I am closer to 3.0.
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