NFL Team Grades for Week 10

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystNovember 13, 2017

NFL Team Grades for Week 10

0 of 32

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    If you like exciting NFL football, I hope you got up early on Sunday. 

    While the first slate of games featured more than a few tight affairs (including an overtime tilt in Jacksonville) the late games were a trio of beatdowns.

    The New Orleans Saints kept winning, blasting the Buffalo Bills for their seventh straight victory.

    The Cleveland Browns kept losing, teasing their besieged fan base with a 10-point lead in Detroit before remembering to stink and falling to 0-9.

    And the San Francisco 49ers handed the title of the NFC's worst team to the New York Giants.

    As is the case every week here at Bleacher Report, it's time to grade all the action.

    Now what did I do with that red marker?

Arizona Cardinals

1 of 32

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Score: Lost 22-16

    There are few things that can derail a season more quickly or thoroughly than injuries. And while it's hard to argue that the loss of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone wasn't the biggest single injury of 2017, it's also hard to argue that there's been a team hit harder overall than the Arizona Cardinals.

    The Redbirds had already lost tailback David Johnson and quarterback Carson Palmer. And now, in Thursday's six-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona also lost arguably its best defensive player in safety Tyvon Branch to a torn ACL.

    The injuries are just too much to overcome. The Seahawks showed a clear blueprint this week for how to beat the Cardinals. Put eight or nine men in the box in an attempt to shut down Adrian Peterson and make Drew Stanton beat you.

    The Cards might get another win or two this year. But this team isn't going to make it back to .500—much less compete for a playoff spot. The injuries are just too much to overcome.

    And with an aging core (Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Karlos Dansby, etc.) Arizona is going to face some hard decisions this offseason.

    Week 10 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D+

Atlanta Falcons

2 of 32

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Dallas Cowboys

    Score: Won 27-7

    There may not be a team in the NFL that needed a win more in Week 10 than the Atlanta Falcons.

    They had lost four of their last five games. With the Saints winning earlier in the day, Atlanta risked falling three games off the pace in the NFC South.

    That didn’t happen, because Atlanta produced its best effort on the field since handling the Green Bay Packers all the way back in Week 2.

    Offensively, the Falcons got an efficient effort from Matt Ryan, who threw for 215 yards and posted a passer rating of almost 105. And with Devonta Freeman on the sideline, Tevin Coleman stepped up his game, racking up 83 yards on 20 carries.

    Defensively, the Falcons got a monstrous effort from defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who harassed Dak Prescott to the tune of an eye-popping six sacks. Atlanta had eight as a team.

    It was exactly the kind of outing the Falcons needed—and exactly when they needed it.

    Week 10 Grade: A

    Season Grade: C+

Baltimore Ravens

3 of 32

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    These are troubling times in Charm City.

    At 4-5, the Ravens are in real danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season—something that hasn't happened since the team's first four years in the NFL.

    Of even more concern than their record is the fact that many of the Ravens' problems can be traced back to the team's highest-paid player.

    In his 10th NFL season, quarterback Joe Flacco is having arguably the worst season of his career. Through nine games, Flacco has just 1,551 passing yards. He's averaging 0.9 touchdown passes per game, has more picks than scores and his 72.7 passer rating is the worst of his career.

    Given those numbers, it's not surprising that the Ravens are 31st in the NFL in passing. Or that they rank in the bottom half of the NFL in scoring. Or that they have a losing record.

    Baltimore's remaining schedule is pretty favorable, but unless Flacco's play improves markedly in the second half, it isn't going to matter.

    Week 10 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: C-

Buffalo Bills

4 of 32

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints

    Score: Lost 47-10

    After the Buffalo Bills raced out to a 5-2 start, there was more than a little talk that maybe this was the year that they'd end the longest playoff drought in the NFL.

    Yeah, about that.

    If last week’s loss to the New York Jets was cause for concern, then what happened Sunday against the New Orleans Saints is panic-inducing.

    The Bills weren’t beaten—they were annihilated. The Saints piled up almost 300 rushing yards and scored six touchdowns on the ground in what was the football equivalent of being run through a chipper-shredder.

    Over their last two games, the Bills have allowed 81 points.

    The cold truth is this: Buffalo got fat early in the season on a diet of tomato cans. Buffalo hasn’t beaten a team yet this season that entered week 10 over the .500 mark.

    Over these past couple of weeks, the Bills have been exposed. This isn’t to say they’re a terrible team.

    Just that they aren’t an especially good one either.

    Week 10 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C

Carolina Panthers

5 of 32

    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Miami Dolphins

    Score: Won 45-21

    There's been plenty of talk in recent weeks about the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. And rightly so. Not only do those teams lead their respective divisions, but each has wildly exceeded expectations.

    It's high time to start talking about the Carolina Panthers, too.

    On Monday night, the Panthers absolutely flattened the Miami Dolphins. Pounded them. For much of the night, Carolina adopted the persona of its nickname and, like a cat, played with its food before eating it.

    After a Miami turnover gave the Panthers a short field and a 10-point lead at the half, Carolina spent the second 30 minutes steamrolling Miami. For the game, the Panthers rushed for a jaw-dropping 294 yards. Tailback Jonathan Stewart piled up a season-high 110 on 17 carries. Cam Newton added 95 more, including a 69-yard rumble in the third quarter.

    And with the exception of a 66-yard score by Kenyan Drake and some garbage-time yardage, the Panthers defense played like a unit that entered Monday night ranked near the top of the league in most categories—including No. 1 in total defense.

    The Saints have been great, but Carolina is right on their heels.

    Week 10 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: B+

Chicago Bears

6 of 32

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Green Bay Packers

    Score: Lost 23-16

    The Chicago Bears had a golden opportunity Sunday. With Aaron Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, Chicago had its best chance in quite a while to get a win over its most hated rivals.

    That opportunity went like most things for the Bears in 2017.

    To be fair, there were positives for Chicago in its seven-point loss. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had easily the best game of his young career in throwing for 297 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 97.

    But Trubisky was sacked five times, and a Chicago defense that had been the team's strength allowed a similarly big game to Green Bay signal-caller Brett Hundley.

    The Bears' 2017 season can be summed up by one play from this game. In the first half, tailback Benny Cunningham came up just short of the end zone on a screen pass. Bears head coach John Fox challenged the ruling, claiming that Cunningham had crossed the goal line.

    The call was overturned—to a fumble out of the end zone and a touchback.

    It's been that kind of year in the Windy City.

    Week 10 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Cincinnati Bengals

7 of 32

    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Tennessee Titans

    Score: Lost 24-20

    Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a talented player. He's also a Grade A chucklehead.

    After picking up a second personal foul of the first half Sunday against the Titans on an admittedly dubious call, Burfict went to argue his case—and made contact with an official while doing it.

    Buh-bye. Probably for more than just half a game too, given Burfict's (deserved) reputation for dirty play.

    With its best linebacker in the locker room thinking about what he did, Cincinnati had no answer for the Titans' run game. The Bengals allowed 180 yards on the ground and gave up a huge game to Tennessee tailback DeMarco Murray, who scored all three of the Titans' touchdowns.

    It's been a theme for the Bengals this season. Cincinnati has talent on both sides of the ball, but it isn't so good as to be able to withstand the mistakes, turnovers and assorted unforced errors that have plagued the team all season long.

    The Bengals can take solace in the fact they aren't the worst team in the AFC North—an "honor" that belongs to their in-state rivals up Interstate 71.

    But that's about all they can take solace in in 2017.

    Week 10 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: D

Cleveland Browns

8 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Detroit Lions

    Score: Lost 38-24

    We have a first in this article this season (at least since I started writing it): The Cleveland Browns have received a grade that isn't an F.

    For a little while, it looked like we might have another—the Browns winning a game.

    Early in the game, the Browns turned a Matt Stafford interception into a 10-0 lead—the first time this season Cleveland has led by double-digits.

    Sadly, they remembered they were the Browns and squandered it.

    If you're into silver linings, tailback Isaiah Crowell had his best game of the year with 5.6 yards a carry. And rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer wasn't terrible.

    But when Kizer tried (and failed) to sneak it into the end zone from six yards out with no timeouts just before the half and allowed time to run out, it just about summed the entire season in Cleveland.

    And as each week comes and goes with a loss, it's looking more and more like the Browns could be set to join the Lions as the only teams to go 0-16 in NFL history.

    Week 10 Grade: D

    Season Grade: F

Dallas Cowboys

9 of 32

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Atlanta Falcons

    Score: Lost 27-7

    Given the timing of the Dallas Cowboys' Week 10 shellacking at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, many will presume it happened because of the absence of tailback Ezekiel Elliott.

    But Zeke's suspension looks like the least of the team's problems.

    With Tyron Smith out, the Cowboys started Chaz Green at left tackle. To say it was a disaster was an understatement. Dak Prescott was sacked eight times and harassed countless others, including six sacks by defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

    Care to guess who was blocking him?

    That wasn't the only potentially disastrous injury. Linebacker Sean Lee was forced from the Falcons game with a hamstring injury, and the Dallas defense just isn't close to the same without Lee on the field.

    The loss drops the Cowboys three back of the NFC East-leading Eagles, and while it may not be time to freak out yet, if Smith and Lee miss next Sunday's tilt with Philly, pressing that panic button won't be far off.

    Week 10 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C+

Denver Broncos

10 of 32

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. New England Patriots

    Score: Lost 41-16

    To defeat the New England Patriots, an NFL team has to play its very best. Maximum effort. Minimum mistakes.

    Gift-wrapping 24 points isn't advisable.

    That's exactly what the Denver Broncos did in getting waxed at home for their fifth straight defeat. There was a muffed punt in the first quarter that led to a touchdown. A 103-yard kick return by Dion Lewis. A blocked punt that led to a field goal. And a moronic 12-men penalty in the fourth quarter that kept another touchdown drive alive.

    All in the same game.

    Yes, a besieged Denver defense allowed more than 40 points for the second week in a row. But it was forced to defend a short field on more than one occasion.

    The Broncos have collapsed in just about every way imaginable. The offense was already turning the ball over at an alarming rate. The defense had already taken a huge step backward relative to its performance the past few years.

    And now the special teams have become a comedy of errors.

    It's going to be a long second half of the season at Mile High.

    Week 10 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D

Detroit Lions

11 of 32

    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Cleveland Browns

    Score: Won 38-24

    The good news for the Detroit Lions is that Sunday's 38-24 victory over the Cleveland Browns moves the team to 5-4 and keeps it in second place in the NFC North.

    Quarterback Matthew Stafford bounced back from a shaky start to throw three touchdown passes. The Lions ran for 104 yards as a team and averaged over five yards a carry.

    But Lions head coach Jim Caldwell probably isn't doing cartwheels about his team's effort in Week 10.

    The Lions trailed by 10 early in this game—the most any team has trailed the Browns all season long. A Detroit run defense that entered the game sixth in the NFL allowed an eye-popping 201 yards to the Browns.

    Detroit won the game, and an argument can be made that's all that matters.

    But as they have so many times this year, the Lions came out slow and had to rally to get that win.

    Against an 0-9 team, that didn't matter. But when they play teams that aren't awful, it's bound to come back and bite them.

    Week 10 Grade: C

    Season Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

12 of 32

    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Chicago Bears

    Score: Won 23-16

    Let's be honest. The Green Bay Packers' 23-16 win over the Chicago Bears Sunday doesn't really change anything. Without Aaron Rodgers, a Packers team many had penciled in for a February trip to the Twin Cities and Super Bowl LII is staring a lost season in the face.

    Still, it had to feel good to end the losing streak—especially against a rival.

    The win also gave the Pack at least a glimmer of hope that there could be a few more wins before it's all said and done.

    Pressed into throwing the ball more by injuries to tailbacks Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery, Brett Hundley had his best game since taking the reins for the Green Bay offense. Hundley completed 18 of 25 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown—numbers good for a passer rating north of 110.

    One win is a small consolation, given what Green Bay had in mind for the 2017 season.

    But it beats a blank. If you don't believe me, ask the Bears.

    Week 10 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C

Houston Texans

13 of 32

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Los Angeles Rams

    Score: Lost 33-7

    I almost feel guilty for criticizing the Texans.

    After all, this was a team that appeared to be turning it around—ready to make a push in the AFC South. Then Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice and Houston had to re-insert Tom Savage at quarterback.

    With Savage under center, the Texans are toast.

    It's not all his fault. The loss of players like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus has taken a toll on a Texans defense that was carved up by Jared Goff and the Rams like the prime rib I had for dinner Saturday night.

    It was delicious, in case you were wondering.

    It's just been too much. Too many holes punched in the hull on both sides of the boat. And it all came to a head in a deluge of points Sunday that left head coach Bill O’ Brien (per Jeff Risdon of Texans Wire) questioning his ability as a coach.

    Head for the lifeboats, folks.

    The Texans are sunk.

    Week 10 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D-

Indianapolis Colts

14 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Score: Lost 20-17

    If you're the type who believes in moral victories, there were some things to like in Indy's last-second loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    On offense, Jacoby Brissett passed for 222 yards and a pair of long touchdowns against one of the NFL's best pass defenses. His passer rating for the game was actually higher than Ben Roethlisberger's.

    On defense, a beleaguered unit played one of its better games of the season, holding two of the NFL's best offensive stars (Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell) to a combined 159 yards and no touchdowns.

    Despite all that, the Colts couldn't seal the deal. The offense sputtered late and committed a turnover that helped the Steelers tie the game. The defense couldn't prevent Roethlisberger from putting the Steelers in position to win the game at the final gun.

    Week 10 could have been a signature moment—the high-water mark for the 2017 Colts.

    Instead, it's just one more loss in a season full of them.

    Week 10 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: D

Jacksonville Jaguars

15 of 32

    Logan Bowles/Getty Images

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

    Score: Won 20-17 (OT)

    In the past, this was a game the Jacksonville Jaguars would have lost.

    Not a whole lot went right for the Jaguars in Week 10. Tailback Leonard Fournette, who has been the backbone of the Jaguars offense in 2017, managed just 33 yards on 17 carries against the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Blake Bortles, who has not been the backbone of Jacksonville's offense this season, attempted over 50 passes—which is not, as they say—a good sign.

    And yet, the Jags pulled it out at the end.

    The hero of the day, as it's been for most of the season, was Jacksonville's Pick-fil-A defense.

    (Because no one's open on Sunday. Don't look at me—I didn't make it up.)

    It was cornerback A.J. Bouye whose overtime interception of Philip Rivers set up the game-winning field goal. And the Jaguars put the clamps on Melvin Gordon, holding him to 27 yards on 16 carries.

    Good teams find ways to pull games out when things aren't working as hoped.

    And odd as it sounds, the Jaguars are a good team.

    Week 10 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

16 of 32

    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    Earlier in the season, it looked like the Kansas City Chiefs were going to be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. The Chiefs won their first five games of the season, beginning with a dominant effort at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.

    The Chiefs are still in first place in the AFC West at 6-3, but the bandwagon so many hopped on after that winning streak has hit a pothole of late.

    Since peeling off five straight wins, the Chiefs have lost three of four, including a Week 9 setback in Dallas.

    It isn't hard to figure out why the team has struggled recently. Over the first five games of the season, rookie tailback Kareem Hunt averaged over 120 rushing yards per game. In the four games since, he's averaging fewer than 50.

    When the Chiefs return next week in New York, getting that ground game on track will be a priority.

    Week 10 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: B

Los Angeles Chargers

17 of 32

    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Week 10 Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Score: Lost 20-17 (OT)

    For most of Sunday's matchup in Jacksonville, the Chargers outplayed the Jaguars—even if both teams didn't exactly light it up.

    The Chargers did little on the ground, and while Philip Rvers' 235 passing yards don't seem like a lot, it's well over the average amount the Jags have surrendered this season.

    The Bolts also didn't allow a sack to a Jaguars pass rush that entered Week 10 leading the NFL in that category. They even had the lead and the football with under two minutes to play.

    You know what all of that got the Bolts?

    A fat bag of nothing. Because of one play in overtime.

    A quick glance at the stat sheet would appear to indicate that Rivers gave the game away with an interception in extra time. But wide receiver Travis Benjamin actually had the ball for a moment before it was wrenched away and returned 51 yards by cornerback A.J. Bouye.

    The Chargers had a chance here to get back to 4-5. To get their season back on track after starting the year with four straight losses.

    But L.A. snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a loss that's going to hurt for a while.

    Week 10 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: D+

Los Angeles Rams

18 of 32

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Houston Texans

    Score: Won 33-7

    At halftime of Sunday's win over the Houston Texans, the Rams led just 9-7. The Texans appeared to have done an excellent job of slowing down the NFL's highest-scoring offense.

    Unfortunately for the Texans, NFL games have two halves.

    The Rams exploded in the third quarter, piling up 21 unanswered points in an aerial barrage that left a shell-shocked Houston defense wondering what hit it.

    There was a 94-yard pass to Robert Woods. Then a 17-yard strike to Sammy Watkins. Then another touchdown toss to Woods—19 seconds later.

    By game's end, Jared Goff had 355 passing yards and three scores. Tailback Todd Gurley amassed 136 total yards. Woods reeled in eight catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

    And the Rams offense had steamrolled another hapless foe.

    The schedule gets hairy over the next month, with a trip to Minnesota and home tilts with the Saints and Eagles.

    But the way this offense is playing, it's possible the Rams could win every one of those games.

    Week 10 Grade: A

    Season Grade: A

Miami Dolphins

19 of 32

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: At Carolina Panthers

    Score: Lost 45-21

    Believe or not, there was a time Monday night, with less than a minute left in the first half, when the Miami Dolphins trailed the Carolina Panthers by just three points and had the football.

    Then Jay Cutler threw an ill-advised interception that led to a Carolina touchdown and a 10-point halftime deficit.

    Then the Miami defense stayed in the locker room for the second half—or at least appeared to.

    If it’s possible for a 45-21 game to not be as close as the score, the Dolphins accomplished that feat. Miami allowed 550 yards of total offense—a franchise record for the Panthers. Carolina rolled up 295 yards on the ground. The Panthers were 11-of-14 on third down and had 30 first downs.

    For most of the season, it’s been the Miami offense that’s been the disappointment. But against the Panthers the defense apparently decided it wanted the spotlight—for all the wrong reasons.

    It was the third straight primetime game for the Dolphins. A third straight loss with the entire nation watching.

    And while we may have already suspected it, there’s now zero question…

    The Miami Dolphins aren’t good.

    Week 10 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D+

Minnesota Vikings

20 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Week 10 Opponent: at Washington Redskins

    Score: Won 38-30

    The winner of Week 10’s “Weirdest Game” award goes to Sunday’s shootout between the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins in the nation’s capital.

    Mainly because it was a shootout.

    The Vikings came out on the right end of that shootout, thanks to the right arm of Case Keenum.

    Maybe it was because Keenum could hear the footsteps of Teddy Bridgewater, who was active Sunday. Or maybe it’s just because Keenum’s having the best season of his NFL career. But whatever the reason he was masterful against Washington, topping 300 passing yards and throwing a career-high four touchdown passes.

    It wasn’t a perfect effort. The Vikings normally stout defense uncharacteristically allowed 30 points, including a 13-3 stretch in the second half that allowed Washington to make a game of it late.

    But the Vikings have now peeled off five wins in a row and six of their last seven in advance of a huge home tilt with the Los Angeles Rams—a game that now shapes up as a potential deciding factor in which of those teams gets a Round 1 bye in the playoffs.

    Week 10 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: B+

New England Patriots

21 of 32

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Denver Broncos

    Score: Won 41-16

    The New England buzzsaw was turned on full-bore in Week 10.

    Granted, the Pats got as assist from a Denver team attempting to make every special teams gaffe imaginable in one game, but New England put forth a brutally efficient effort in dismantling the Broncos.

    Tom Brady was razor sharp, throwing three touchdown passes and putting up a passer rating of over 125. With wide receiver Chris Hogan out, Brady leaned more heavily on his backs and tight ends, with the former routinely abusing Denver's safeties and linebackers in coverage.

    Tailback Rex Burkhead also continued to see an expanded role offensively, turning 13 touches into 63 total yards and a touchdown.

    The New England defense still isn't great. But it is better. Sunday night's game marked not only the Patriots' fifth straight win, but also their fifth straight time holding opponents under 20 points.

    Most NFL teams and fans don't want to hear this. But Sunday's blowout just hammered home something we already knew: The NFL's big bad is back—and it's as bad as ever.

    Week 10 Grade: A

    Season Grade: A-

New Orleans Saints

22 of 32

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Score: Won 47-10

    I don't know if I've awarded an "A+" since I took over this piece. In my mind, that denotes essentially a perfect game. A flawless performance.

    In Week 10, the New Orleans Saints came about as close to a perfect game as an NFL team is going to get.

    The Saints opened the proverbial can on the Bills on Sunday. And they did so in a manner that's unconventional—at least for them.

    Drew Brees passed for just 184 yards in the game—his lowest output of the season. He also didn't throw a touchdown pass.

    And the Saints still scored 47(!) points, because New Orleans piled up a staggering 298 yards and six(!) touchdowns on the ground.

    The win was the seventh in a row for the Saints, who have reinvented themselves in 2017. New Orleans isn't throwing the ball all over the place. It's winning with a balanced offense. Playing defense.

    And a team no one expected a lot from in 2017 now has to be viewed as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

    Week 10 Grade: A+

    Season Grade: A-

New York Giants

23 of 32

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at San Francisco 49ers

    Score: Lost 31-21

    The New York Giants are redefining the concept of rock bottom on an almost daily basis.

    In just the last week, we’ve seen the Giants get trounced at home by the Los Angeles Rams, reports that the Giants have quit on head coach Ben McAdoo and denials issued for said reports.

    That was just the appetizer for Sunday’s main course.

    The Giants just got rolled by a 49ers team that experienced their biggest lead of the season when they pulled ahead of New York—by four points.

    They pulled even farther ahead than that, though. For the second straight week, a New York defense that was among the best in the NFL last year got smoked. Only this time it was by a 49ers team that hadn’t won a game in almost a calendar year.

    With all due respect to players like Landon Collins who insist New York hasn’t quit, my eyes disagree.

    This is the worst Giants team I’ve ever seen—and I’ve been watching football for pushing 40 years.

    Week 10 Grade: Super-Jumbo-Sized F-

    Season Grade: F

New York Jets

24 of 32

    Steve Nesius/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Score: Lost 15-10

    The New York Jets are a hard team to figure out.

    Last week, the Jets played possibly their best game of the season in beating the Bills at home. The win got Gang Green to within a game of .500. Beat a Buccaneers team with no Jameis Winston and no Mike Evans, and the Jets would reach 5-5.

    Very few people thought the Jets would win five games all season.

    So of course, when presented with this opportunity to reach unforeseen heights, the Jets promptly rolled over, kicked their legs into the air and laid an egg.

    With Matt Forte out with an injury, the Jets had no ground game to speak of. And despite out-gaining the Buccaneers 275 to 271, the Jets came up short on the scoreboard—at least in part due to losing the turnover battle and a second-half offense that was offensive. The Jets had three three-and-outs, a turnover and a turnover on downs in the second half before scoring a garbage time touchdown with the game out of reach.

    It was an ugly game played by a pair of bad teams. Fans who watched it aren't getting those three wasted hours back.

    And it serves as a reminder that while the Jets might be better than we thought, they still aren't very good.

    Week 10 Grade: D-

    Season Grade: D+

Oakland Raiders

25 of 32

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    The Oakland Raiders entered the 2017 season with big aspirations. As a matter of fact, you could say they were "Super."

    Things didn't go according to the script. With Derek Carr on the shelf for some time with a back injury, the Raiders struggled over the first six weeks of the season. A Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers dropped the Raiders to 2-4 and left them in real danger of falling so far behind the Kansas City Chiefs that any hopes of winning the AFC West would be over by the season's midway point.

    However, with two wins in three games (coupled with the Chiefs' dropping three of four), the Raiders are back in the division race. At 4-5, the Raiders are two games back of the Chiefs, and they also have a head-to-head win over Kansas City in Week 7.

    The key for the Raiders over the second half of the season will be consistency. After that huge win over the Chiefs, the Raiders traveled to Buffalo and got shelled by the Bills.

    That sort of ping-ponging around isn't going to get Oakland into the postseason.

    Week 10 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

26 of 32

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    There isn't a team in the NFL in 2017 that entered its bye week with bigger smiles than the Philadelphia Eagles.

    At 8-1, the Eagles have the NFL's best record. They ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense entering Week 10, third in rushing offense, second in the league in scoring offense and first in run defense.

    Quarterback Carson Wentz had a brilliant first half of the season. Last year's No. 2 pick is likely the front-runner for MVP. He's thrown for 2,262 yards and a league-leading 23 touchdown passes with just five interceptions.

    There isn't anything the Eagles aren't doing well this year. Even a secondary that appeared to be the team's weak link has exceeded expectations, and Philly should benefit from the return of cornerback Ronald Darby from his ankle injury.

    Not many folks picked the Eagles in the NFC East this year. But Philadelphia looks like more than just the best team in its division.

    Through the first nine games of their schedule, the Eagles look like the best team in the NFL.

    Week 10 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: A

Pittsburgh Steelers

27 of 32

    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Indianapolis Colts

    Score: Won 20-17

    For a time Sunday, it looked like the biggest upset of Week 10 was going to take place in Indianapolis, where the Colts were on the verge of knocking off the AFC North-leading Steelers.

    But some late heroics by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a last-second field goal by Chris Boswell saved Pittsburgh's bacon.

    The Steelers dodged a bullet, but it's still a performance that had to make Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin uneasy—especially coming out of a bye.

    After all, the Colts entered Week 10 last in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing over 29 points per game.

    Not only did the Steelers not come especially close to hitting that mark, but Pittsburgh's offensive stars were held largely in check. Le'Veon Bell had just 80 yards on 26 carries, and Antonio Brown only caught three passes for 47 yards.

    Pittsburgh's league-leading pass defense also had issues, allowing a pair of long touchdown throws from Jacoby Brissett.

    Against a three-win Colts team, this lackluster effort was enough to eke out a late victory.

    Next week against the Tennessee Titans, it will probably get Pittsburgh smoked.

    Week 10 Grade: C

    Season Grade: B

San Francisco 49ers

28 of 32

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Score: Won 31-21

    Break up the 49ers!

    Prepare the victory parade!

    OK, so that was snarky.

    On one hand, beating the corpse of the New York Giants is a bit like beating a Galapagos tortoise in a footrace. It’s not something to brag about.

    But when you haven’t won a game in 323 days or beaten a team that isn’t the Rams since December 6, 2015, (no, really) any victory is cause for celebration.

    It wasn’t just the win itself. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who had struggled mightily to date, completed 76 percent of his passes and tossed an 83-yard touchdown pass. The defense made plays when it needed to and notched three sacks.

    Does any of this mean the 49ers aren’t still terrible? No.

    But in Week 10 at least, the 49ers weren’t the worst team in the NFC.

    And that’s something.

    Week 10 Grade: B

    Season Grade: F

Seattle Seahawks

29 of 32

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: at Arizona Cardinals

    Score: Won 22-16

    That old saying about winning the battle but losing the war leaps to mind when considering Seattle’s six-point win over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.

    Yes, the Seahawks won the game—largely because they shut down Arizona tailback Adrian Peterson, limiting him to 29 yards on 21 carries.

    But Seattle, which already has many leaks, sprung a new one—a big one.

    Star cornerback Richard Sherman suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the game.

    I blame those hideous Color Rush uniforms. What was that?

    Sherman’s loss can’t be overstated. Last year in the playoffs, Seattle was shredded through the air with Earl Thomas on the sideline, as it tends to be less effective on defense when one of Thomas, Sherman and Kam Chancellor is out. The Seahawks cornerbacks can't be trusted to be dominant without the four-time Pro Bowler. 

    Once again Seattle couldn’t run the ball, managing just 75 yards on 23 carries against the Redbirds.

    Yet again the Seahawks couldn’t pass protect—Russell Wilson was sacked five times and hit seven times, including a wicked second-half shot to the jaw.

    Without Sherman, they may have too many holes to win in the postseason—if they make the playoffs at all.

    Week 10 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30 of 32

    Steve Nesius/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. New York Jets

    Score: Won 15-10

    Given a disastrous first half of the 2017 season in which the Buccaneers won just two games, Tampa Bay will no doubt take a win any way it can get it.

    With that said, Sunday's win over the New York Jets can best be described with one four-letter word.

    No, not that one. Jeez.

    Ugly.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, subbing for the injured Jameis Winston, completed just 50 percent of his passes for 187 yards. Tampa Bay averaged less than three yards a carry on the ground, with Doug Martin gaining just 51 yards on 20 carries.

    Simply put, the Buccaneers played well enough to win—but they did not play well.

    It changes little. The Buccaneers are mired in the AFC South basement, and they aren't climbing out soon if Sunday's game is any indication.

    So while Tampa won, it's doubtful there will be much celebrating by the Buccaneers on Sunday night.

    Week 10 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: D

Tennesee Titans

31 of 32

    James Kenney/Associated Press

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

    Score: Won 24-20

    The Tennessee Titans once again embraced the "exotic smashmouth" offense of head coach Mike Mularkey on Sunday.

    Tennessee came into Week 10 10th in the league in rushing. That ranking will climb after Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals—a game in which the Titans parlayed 36 carries into 180 yards on the ground and had the ball for 40 minutes.

    Fifty-one of those yards came courtesy of the legs of quarterback Marcus Mariota, who appears to be healthy again after being hampered over the past few weeks by a sore hamstring.

    And if Mariota is healthy again, the rest of the AFC South may be in trouble.

    The Titans aren't piling up the style points—the last three wins have been by a combined 10 points.

    But those three wins have been part of a four-game winning streak that has Tennessee sitting on top of the division at 6-3.

    Next week will bring a true test of just how good the Titans are when they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.

    But for now at least, it's smiles all around in the Music City.

    Week 10 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B

Washington Redskins

32 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Week 10 Opponent: vs. Minnesota Vikings

    Score: Lost 38-30

    The Redskins didn’t know it at the time, but they wasted a golden opportunity Sunday to gain ground on the Dallas Cowboys in the race for second place in the NFC East.

    Offensively, the Redskins played relatively well against the Minnesota Vikings. Kirk Cousins passed for 327 yards and a touchdown. The total yardage was nearly identical between the two teams. Washington won both the time of possession and turnover battles.

    They did not, however, win the scoreboard battle.

    The blame for that rests mostly with the defense. Washington had no answer for Minnesota’s Case Keenum, who threw four touchdown passes. The Vikings were 8-for-12 on third down, and 5-for-5 in the red zone.

    That is, as they say, ungood.

    At 4-5, Washington is now fresh out of margin for error. The division is all but lost, and a Wild Card spot will be too if the Redskins lose more than once or twice the rest of the way.

    If the Redskins continue playing defense like they did Sunday, there’s going to be more than two more losses.

    Week 10 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C-

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X