NFL Midterm Results: Grading All 32 Franchises After 8 Weeks (Part 1, the AFC)
Week 8 has now come and gone, and many teams are now halfway through their seasons. In school, you have midterms, so lets take a look at the classes all around the NFL, and assign these teams their grades.
New England Patriots (6-1)
At the midway mark, the Patriots boast the league's best record. They are getting it done on offense and pulling together on defense. This team is very disciplined and with Tom Brady being relieved by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Pats may once again be the top of the class in the NFL.
New York Jets (5-2)
The Jets are yipping at the heels of the Pats, and were certainly the loudest team this offseason. After a sloppy win against a struggling Denver franchise, and being shutout this past Sunday against the Packers, there may be cause for concern. After a promising start, it seems the Jets may have plateaued at the midway mark and should change things up to get back on track.
"Could Do Better"
Miami Dolphins (4-3)
The Dolphins are right on the tails of the Jets, despite the fact that they have yet to win a home game. That is due to the fact that they are 4-0 on the road. If Miami can pull together a few home wins and keep dominating on the road, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
"Must Improve Consistency"
Buffalo Bills (0-7)
The Bills are the star-crossed team of the NFL this season. In the last two weeks, they have taken arguably two of the league's toughest teams into overtime with a chance to win both games. Unfortunately for the Bills, this isn't a league of "Almost."
"Shows Great Effort, Just Not Too Bright"
Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
After somewhat of a slow and sloppy start, the Colts are back on top in the AFC East, and looked great getting there Monday night. The fact of the matter is that as long as Peyton Manning is on this team, the Colts will always receive high marks.
"Just What We Have Come to Expect"
Tennessee Titans (5-3)
The Titans are in great shape at the midpoint as they find themselves just a game-and-a-half back from the Colts. They also are unbeaten within their division. The team just needs to find a way to close out close games, such as the losses to Denver and San Diego.
"Does Not Play Well with Others"
Houston Texans (4-3)
Houston started off so promising, but saw a serious setback in their quest for their first division title Monday night when they lost to the Colts. The good news for Houston is that their remaining schedule is much easier than Indy's.
"Knows the Material, but Chokes On Tests"
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)
Jacksonville has exceeded everyone's expectations this year. The biggest surprise has to be the way David Garrard is playing. You have to wonder, if Garrard doesn't go down against the Titans, those standings might look a whole lot different.
"Has Shown Great Improvement"
Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
The Ravens are one of the toughest teams in the NFL this year. They have a balanced offense and solid defense. Overall, they are a very good football team. Not yet great, but very good.
"Does What is Asked Consistently"
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
The Steelers would have been crowned top of the class had they just been able to beat the Saints. Now their schedule toughens up, it will be interesting to see if this team can reclaim the lead. Due to the way they played without Roethlisberger, and the way they are now playing with him, it probably wouldn't be smart to bet against these guys.
" Bully's Others Too Much"
Cleveland Browns (2-5)
Let's be honest, no one really expected the Browns to do anything this year, yet they are making strides thanks much in part to a revamped defense and Peyton Hillis. The future looks pretty bright in Cleveland with Colt McCoy at the reins.
"Potential to Be Late Bloomer"
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)
The reigning AFC North champs have looked dismal this year. Many expected offensive fireworks when it was announced that Carson Palmer would be throwing to both T.O. and Ochocinco. The Bengals have simply failed to live up to the hype.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)
The Chiefs have shocked everyone this year and are in first place in the AFC West. It really seems the only thing holding this team back is the passing game. If they can get it going, they are a serious threat for the Super Bowl. I really mean that.
Oakland Raiders (4-4)
The Raiders are at .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2002. They are really only a couple of missed field goals away from being tied with KC for the division lead. Could the Silver and Black nation really be back? Stay tuned.
"Good Recovery After Poor First Showing"
San Diego Chargers (3-5)
San Diego is notorious for slow starts, but they have really outdone themselves this year. Let's see if that victory is enough to turn the Charger's season around, but for now, one thing is prevalent: The Chargers are No. 1 overall in both offense and defense, yet have a losing record. There is no excuse for that, Norv.
"Lacks Discipline and A Strong Parental Figure"
Denver Broncos (2-6)
Okay, Broncos fans. I know your all thinking "F," but let me tell you why this team is not deserving of such a grade. You must take into account the injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball. That really hampers down a team. Denver is putting out a team without their best players on the field. Plain and simple. Give Josh McDaniels credit for at least keeping this team competitive in most of its games this year.
"Can't Quite Do What It Takes...Yet"
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