NFL Team Grades for Week 13

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystDecember 4, 2017

NFL Team Grades for Week 13

0 of 32

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    The playoff races are taking shape. 

    Lucky Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season featured a number of matchups with big implications for the postseason.

    In Nashville and Jacksonville, the Titans and Jaguars faced winnable games against division opponents as they jockey for position in the AFC South.

    In the NFC South, the Saints and Panthers met with first place on the line, while the surging Falcons faced an even hotter Minnesota Vikings team in Atlanta.

    And the Philadelphia Eagles rolled into Seattle with a chance to become the first team this year to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

    Who came up big and who fell flat?

    Who helped themselves out and who hurt their chances.

    Which teams had the best (and worst) performances of Week 13?

    If I told you all that now, you wouldn't keep reading.

    And that would make me sad.

Arizona Cardinals

1 of 32

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Rams

    Score: Lost 32-16

    In some respects, the Cardinals deserve a lot of credit this season. Many teams would have folded after losing their star tailback and starting quarterback.

    But when the Redbirds faced the Los Angeles Rams Sunday in the desert, it was also without their second-string quarterback and the running back they acquired to try to replace David Johnson.

    With Adrian Peterson out with a neck injury and Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for the Cardinals, the results were predictable.

    After playing well last week against his old team, Gabbert looked a lot more like Blaine Gabbert against the Rams, completing just over half of his passes and tossing two picks. And despite the defense playing much better in Week 13 than in London, those miscues were too much for an Arizona team playing with no margin for error.

    At 5-7, any realistic hopes the Cardinals had of making the playoffs are gone.

    Actually, any realistic hopes the Cardinals had of making the playoffs were probably gone when Johnson fractured his wrist in Week 1.

    This was just a final(ish) nail in the coffin.

    Week 13 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: D+

Atlanta Falcons

2 of 32

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Minnesota Vikings

    Score: Lost 14-9

    Sunday's matchup between Minnesota and Atlanta was a huge test for the surging Falcons—a home tilt with the similarly red-hot Minnesota Vikings in which a win would keep the pressure on the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

    That test did not go well.

    The Falcons were outplayed in every facet of the game. Matt Ryan wasn't as effective as Case Keenum, passing for just 173 yards and failing to find the end zone.

    Devonta Freeman had a decent game on the ground, but ran for fewer yards than Latavius Murray (74 to 76). Julio Jones was a complete non-factor in the game, catching just two passes for 24 yards. And while Atlanta didn't allow a sack all afternoon, the Falcons also managed just three field goals on the scoreboard.

    Atlanta was outcoached, too. Dan Quinn burned all the team's timeouts with four minutes left in the game. All it took after that was a couple of first downs and it was victory formation from the two-minute warning.

    Big picture-wise, it isn't a catastrophic loss. But if Week 13 was a measuring stick for the defending NFC champs, it showed they're a tier below the conference's best.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: B-

Baltimore Ravens

3 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Detroit Lions

    Score: Won 44-20

    I've been more than a little critical of the Baltimore Ravens in 2017. And with good reason. Heading into Week 13, the Ravens hadn't really beaten anyone, and while the defense had been stout and the ground game had been at least OK, the Baltimore aerial attack was about as much fun to watch as drying paint.

    So now I have to also give the Ravens credit for their most impressive win of 2017.

    In a 24-point win over the visiting Detroit Lions, the Baltimore passing game came alive. Quarterback Joe Flacco set a season-high with 269 passing yards. It was only the second time this year that Flacco's passer rating was over 100, and the third time he averaged more than seven yards per attempt and threw for two touchdown passes.

    A Baltimore offense that was averaging just over 280 yards per game exploded for 370.

    If the Ravens are going to make any kind of dent in the AFC playoffs, they're going to need more performances just like this.

    Week 13 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: B-

Buffalo BIlls

4 of 32

    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. New England Patriots

    Score: Lost 23-3

    Back in Week 8, after the Bills shelled the Oakland Raiders to move to 5-2 on the season, the long-suffering fans in Buffalo began to do something dangerous. They began to hope that maybe 2017 would the year the NFL's longest postseason drought would end.

    You'd think they would know better by now.

    Since that game against the Raiders, the Bills have dropped four of five, including Sunday's pasting at the hands of the Patriots. Despite rushing for over 180 yards against New England, the Bills managed just a single field goal. Despite facing one of the NFL's worst passing defenses, the Bills gained only 85 yards through the air.

    But wait. It gets worse!

    As Mike Rodak reported for, quarterback Tyrod Taylor was carted to the locker room with a knee injury in the fourth quarter, which opened the door for a second career appearance from Nathan "The Pick Machine" Peterman.

    Peterman didn't throw an interception Sunday, but give it time. If he starts in Week 14, he will.

    More than once, probably.

    Week 13 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C-

Carolina Panthers

5 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Score: Lost 31-21

    The Carolina Panthers faced a turning point in their season Sunday: Beat the Saints in New Orleans, and the Panthers would move into sole possession of first place and earn a split in the season series. Lose to New Orleans for the second time in 2017, and winning the NFC South would be a tall task.

    Things did not go well.

    That the Panthers lost (rather decisively) isn't the most alarming part. It's how they lost.

    A Carolina team that prides itself on being physical was pushed around all game long on both sides of the ball. The Saints dominated the line of scrimmage, outrushing the Panthers 148 to 112 and outgaining them overall 400 to 279.

    Third downs. Time of possession. First downs. Yards per play. The Panthers were beaten across the board–decisively in many areas.

    Now, Carolina is effectively two games back of the Saints, who hold the head-to-head tiebreak. And with the Vikings coming to Charlotte next week and little margin for error in a loaded NFC, the Panthers have work to do.

    Week 13 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: B

Chicago Bears

6 of 32

    Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. San Francisco 49ers

    Score: Lost 15-14

    Just when you thought the Chicago Bears had safely found the bottom and nestled themselves comfortably into the cellar of the NFC North, the team went and found all-new depths.

    Like becoming the first team to lose to the San Francisco 49ers at home since Week 1…of last season.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the Bears lost.

    Chicago's offense in nonexistent. The Bears were out-gained 388 to 147 by the 49ers, who aren't exactly an offensive powerhouse. They held the ball for barely 20 minutes.

    Yes, Mitchell Trubisky is a rookie quarterback playing with arguably the NFL's weakest corps of receivers. But he has now started eight NFL games and has more starts with fewer than 110 passing yards than with over 200.

    The Bears (and Trubisky) are a mess—period.

    Week 13 Grade: F

    Season Grade: F

Cincinnati Bengals

7 of 32

    Frank Victores/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Score: Lost 23-20

    Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, disgusted by yet another loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that all but ended any hopes the team had of making the playoffs, will likely point to a couple of questionable calls and a more than questionable hit as the key reasons Cincinnati came up short.

    But the bad calls weren't the only penalties the Bengals had on a night when the team set a franchise record with 173 penalty yards—the most in an NFL game this season.

    JuJu Smith-Schuster's crackback head-shot on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was about as dirty as hits get, but it wasn't the sole reason the Cincinnati defense couldn't hold a 17-0 lead.

    And neither of those excuses at all explains why after a great first half, Andy Dalton and the NFL's worst offense in yards per game entering Week 13 once again couldn't move the ball in the second half.

    Yes, the Bengals got some bad breaks Monday night, but they lost for the seventh time in 2017 for many of the same reasons they dropped the six that came before it.

    Week 13 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: D+

Cleveland Browns

8 of 32

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Los Angeles Chargers

    Score: Lost 19-10

    Welcome to the Week 13 edition of Moral Victory Theater. This week's film is titled At Least, starring the still-winless Cleveland Browns.

    Sure, the Browns fell to 0-12 after losing in Los Angeles…

    At least they didn't get blown out.

    At least they led 7-6 for half a heartbeat in the second quarter.

    At least DeShone Kizer almost completed half of his passes and only threw one interception.

    At least the Browns held the Chargers under 100 rushing yards for the game.

    At least Josh Gordon caught four passes for 85 yards in his first game in almost three years.

    Here's the problem with this movie: The Browns lost—again. Kizer also lost a fumble. The Browns ran for fewer yards than the Chargers—against the NFL's worst run defense. And Gordon's four catches came on 11 targets, because he's a rusty receiver with an inaccurate quarterback.

    The Browns are one step closer to 0-16. That's all that really matters.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: F

Dallas Cowboys

9 of 32

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Washington Redskins

    Score: Won 38-14

    The Dallas Cowboys came into Week 13 in full-blown panic mode. Since losing star tailback Ezekiel Elliott to suspension, the Cowboys offense had gone into a tailspin, scoring just 22 points in three games.

    All three games were losses.

    Dallas needed to rally. To circle the wagons, as it were.

    The Cowboys did so in a big way against their heated rivals from Washington.

    It isn't hard to see how the Cowboys were able to handily beat Washington in Week 13. The team did something it hadn't done since Elliott was put into time-out: Dallas ran the ball.

    On a night when Dak Prescott completed just half his passes for 102 yards, Alfred Morris was the engine that powered the Cowboys to victory, rumbling for 127 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

    That just so happens to be the exact same number of yards that Morris gained in the two games before Thursday's win combined.

    Granted, at 6-6, the Cowboys' playoff hopes are still on life support. They could win out and still miss the postseason.

    But they aren't dead yet.

    Week 13 Grade: A

    Season Grade: C

Denver Broncos

10 of 32

    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Miami Dolphins

    Score: Lost 35-9

    There are not enough superlatives in the English language to properly explain how bad the Denver Broncos were in Week 13.

    They gave up two safeties to the Miami Dolphins—a feat that had never happened in the history of the latter franchise.

    Trevor Siemian did his level best to show that he's the worst quarterback on a team filled with terrible ones by tossing three interceptions—one of which was returned for a touchdown.

    Just those 10 points would have been enough to beat the Broncos.

    Denver's supposedly stout defense allowed 367 yards of total offense—to a Miami team that entered Week 13 30th in the league in that regard.

    The offense is awful. The defense appears to have flat-out quit. And a Denver team that was the NFL's champion just a couple of years ago is now mired in its longest losing streak in half a century.

    The Browns, Giants and 49ers may have built an early lead, but the Broncos are making a late surge to win the title of the league's biggest dumpster fire in 2017.

    Week 13 Grade: Double Extra Super Z-

    Season Grade: F

Detroit Lions

11 of 32

    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Baltimore Ravens

    Score: Lost 44-20

    Stop me if you've heard this one before.

    In a big game against a good opponent, the Detroit Lions came out flat on both sides of the ball, only for Matthew Stafford to lead the team charging back in the second half.

    In 2016, all those comebacks got the Lions into the playoffs.

    But hope is not a strategy, and in 2017, the comeback magic keeps coming up short.

    After falling behind the Ravens 20-0, Stafford and the Lions got back within 27-20 in the fourth quarter. But after Stafford left with a hand injury, the Ravens slammed the door, returning an interception for a score to put the finishing touches on a game they controlled throughout.

    At 6-6, the Lions have now dropped two in a row against playoff contenders, and while the schedule eases up from here and x-rays on Stafford's hand were negative, Detroit's back is now against the wall.

    The Lions have to win out from here and hope for help. And once again, hope is not a strategy.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C-

Green Bay Packers

12 of 32

    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Green Bay Packers

    Score: Won 26-20 (OT)

    Here we go again.

    Last year, the Green Bay Packers were 4-6 after 10 games. Then Aaron Rodgers stood on his head, the Packers won six straight and wound up playing in the NFC Championship Game.

    The circumstances are different (and then some) in 2017. And it's possible that 10-6 won't be good enough for a wild-card spot this season.

    But after surviving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, the 6-6 Packers have a pulse.

    Despite Brett Hundley failing to pass for even 100 yards, the Packers were able to make it back to .500 thanks to the running of rookie tailback Jamaal Williams (21 carries, 113 yards) and a defense that harassed Jameis Winston to the tune of seven sacks.

    It was an ugly win over a bad team. But those count the same as the pretty ones, and with Rodgers back on the practice field, there's renewed hope he could return for a last-minute push to the playoffs in a couple of weeks.

    Is it likely at all that the Packers will be playing in the NFC title game again? Not even close.

    But there's hope. And on Sunday, that hope stayed alive.

    Week 13 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C

Houston Texans

13 of 32

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Tennessee Titans

    Score: Lost 24-13

    The Houston Texans have officially hit the "please just let it be over" portion of the 2017 NFL season.

    OK, so Houston hit that the moment that Deshaun Watson crumpled to a heap on the practice field with a torn ACL. But for once, a loss wasn't Tom Savage's fault. At least not completely. Savage threw for 365 yards against the Titans and only turned it over once.

    He was also only sacked four times, which is progress…I guess?

    But the Texans managed just a field goal after going up 10-0 early and allowed 198 yards on the ground—including a 75-yarder late by Derrick Henry that salted the game away.

    It's been a nightmare season in Houston. There isn't a team in the NFL that has lost more impact players to season-ending injuries.

    But there's also no light at the end of the tunnel in 2017. Fans can look forward to Watson's return in 2018, but they can't look forward to the team using the high draft pick it's barreling toward to get him help.

    That pick belongs to Cleveland.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Indianapolis Colts

14 of 32

    Logan Bowles/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Score: Lost 30-10

    It's easy to point to the absence of quarterback Andrew Luck as the reason why the Indianapolis Colts are so bad right now.

    Sure, Luck's injury is part of the problem. But it's just that—only part of it.

    Lusck is not the reason why an abysmal Colts line allowed four more sacks in a 30-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. That brings the total number of times Jacoby Brissett has been flat on his back in 2017 to an eye-popping 47.

    And Luck is not the reason why a Jaguars passing offense that averaged fewer than 195 yards per game entering Week 13 went off for over 330 Sunday.

    The offensive line and defense were weaknesses the Colts were supposed to have addressed in free agency and the draft this year.

    That obviously didn't happen.

    Until they do, the Colts will be out of luck.

    Week 13 Grade: F

    Season Grade: F

Jacksonville Jaguars

15 of 32

    Logan Bowles/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts

    Score: Won 30-10

    For most of this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been both a good team and a flawed team. Defensively, the Jags are as talented as anyone. But the offense was hampered by an inability to consistently move the ball through the air.

    Sunday's shelling of the Colts was an lesson in how dangerous the Jaguars are capable of being when they play well on both sides of the ball.

    Yes, it came against a Colts defense that ranks much closer to the bottom of the NFL than the top, but Blake Bortles had easily his best game of the season, topping 300 passing yards for the first time this year and throwing a pair of touchdown passes.

    At 8-4, the Jaguars are already guaranteed their first non-losing season since 2010. Their next win will mean Jacksonville finishing over .500 for the first time since going 11-5 in 2007.

    That was also the last year the Jags won a playoff game.

    If Bortles keeps putting together efforts like Sunday's, the Jaguars may well repeat that feat in 2017.

    Week 13 Grade: A

    Season Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

16 of 32

    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at New York Jets

    Score: Lost 38-31

    Not even five minutes into Sunday's matchup with the Jets in New York, the Chiefs led 14-0.

    In the game, Alex Smith threw for 366 yards and four scores. He added a 70-yard run.

    Yes, you read that right.

    The Chiefs amassed 474 yards of total offense against New York.

    And they lost. Again.

    Yep, you read that right, too.

    On a day when the Chiefs' comatose offense finally woke up, the defense apparently stayed in Kansas City. Jets quarterback Josh McCown threw for over 300 yards. The Jets added 157 yards on the ground and piled up 30 first downs and 488 total yards.

    There are not words to adequately describe the breadth and totality of Kansas City's collapse in 2017. After winning its first five games, the Chiefs have now lost four straight and six of seven. An insurmountable lead in the AFC West has been surmounted by the Chiefs' own incompetence.

    The sky is not falling in Kansas City.

    It already fell. Along with a meteor, a large hunk of space junk and half of the wreckage from the second Death Star.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C-

Los Angeles Chargers

17 of 32

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Cleveland Browns

    Score: Won 19-10

    At the end of September, the Los Angeles Chargers were an 0-4 disaster of a football team sitting at the bottom of the AFC West.

    A lot has changed since then.

    After downing the hapless Browns in Week 13, the Chargers have peeled off six victories in eight games and clawed their way back to .500 and a tie for first with every team in the division that isn't the Denver Broncos.

    Frankly, the game wasn't really as close as the score. The Chargers held the ball for almost 35 minutes, outgained the Browns by 138 yards and piled up 335 yards through the air.

    It's that passing game—led by quarterback Philip Rivers and wide receiver Keenan Allen—that has keyed LA's climb up from the AFC West basement.

    And frankly, with the Oakland Raiders searching for consistency on both sides of the ball and the Kansas City Chiefs in full-on implosion mode, the presence of Rivers as the best quarterback in the division just might be what wins the West for the Chargers in 2017.

    Week 13 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C+

Los Angeles Rams

18 of 32

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Arizona Cardinals

    Score: Won 32-16

    On paper, Sunday's NFC West showdown in Glendale looked like a game the Rams would win by two touchdowns if they executed with the precision on both sides of the ball that was on display against the New Orleans Saints in Week 12.

    That's exactly what happened.

    Tailback Todd Gurley racked up 158 yards of total offense. Jared Goff was crisp, throwing for 220 yards and a pair of scores. And the defense pitched in a big play, with speedy linebacker Alec Ogletree bringing back a Blaine Gabbert interception 41 yards for six.

    At 9-3, the Rams already have their most wins as a team since 2003—the last time they won the NFC West. It's the most wins the Rams have tallied in La-La Land since 1989.

    Over the next few weeks, we'll find out whether the Rams are truly ready for a potential Super Bowl run. The team's next three games are at home against the Eagles, and then trips to Seattle and Nashville.

    They looked the part in Week 13.

    Week 13 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: A-

Miami Dolphins

19 of 32

    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Denver Broncos

    Score: Won 35-9

    Due credit.

    The Miami Dolphins played their most complete game of the season Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Despite a pair of interceptions, Jay Cutler was relatively solid through the air. Tailback Kenyan Drake rolled for 120 yards and a score on 23 carries.

    And Miami's defense left footprints all over Denver's collective face all afternoon long.

    The problem is, I don't know that it means anything.

    This blowout wasn't a testament to how good the Dolphins are. Or how good they can be. Or any real indication that the team has turned some mythical corner that might allow for a late push toward the No. 6 seed in the AFC bracket.

    It was just the latest example of how god-awful the Broncos are in 2017.

    It will take exactly seven days to find out if Miami's big Week 13 win was a fluke or foreshadowing.

    Next week, the Golden Boy and the Tomettes visit Miami when the Patriots come to town. The same Patriots who handled Miami with ease in Week 12.

    And I haven't seen anything from the Dolphins to make me believe that's going to end well.

    Week 13 Grade: A

    Season Grade: D

Minnesota Vikings

20 of 32

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Atlanta Falcons

    Score: Won 14-9

    Can we please stop talking about Case Keenum being benched in favor of Teddy Bridgewater?

    Because what we should be talking about is Case Keenum as a potential candidate to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

    You heard me.

    In Sunday's big win in Atlanta, Keenum missed on just five of his 30 pass attempts. He threw a pair of touchdown passes without an interception and posted a passer rating of over 120.

    Keenum didn't throw an incomplete pass in the entirety of the second half. Not one.

    The soaring Vikings have now peeled off eight wins in a row. Over the last three weeks, they have thrashed the Rams at home, gone to Detroit and feasted on the Lions on Thanksgiving and defeated the defending NFC champions in their house.

    It won't get any easier next week, as in Week 14 the Vikings travel to Carolina to face the Panthers. But if anything, this brutal stretch will only serve to prepare the Vikings for what's to come.

    The playoffs—and maybe becoming the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl in its own building.

    Week 13 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: A-

New England Patriots

21 of 32

    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Buffalo Bills

    Score: Won 23-3

    Had you told a fan of the Buffalo Bills before Sunday's battle with the hated Patriots that the Bills would hold Tom Brady to 258 passing yards with no touchdowns and an interception, you probably would have elicited a smile.

    They're so cute when they have hope.

    There wasn't much of that going around Sunday in Buffalo. The Bills were at least able to hold the Pats out of the end zone in the first half, but there wasn't a five-minute stretch during this game where any rational person would have thought, "Hey. The Bills might win this game."

    That's largely because while the Bills were able to contain Brady, they were gashed on the ground to the tune of 191 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots racked up an average of 5.5 yards every time they ran the ball Sunday.

    It's like New England got bored and said, "Rather than throw for 350 yards and score 35 points, let's win today with ball control and defense—because we can."

    God, the Patriots are annoying.

    Week 13 Grade: A

    Season Grade: A

New Orleans Saints

22 of 32

    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Carolina Panthers

    Score: Won 31-21

    At the risk of sounding dramatic, Sunday's NFC South matchup in the Big Easy was a huge game for the Saints. Lose to the Carolina Panthers and the Saints would fall from first place.

    All the momentum from that eight-game winning streak would be gone.

    The Saints did not lose. As a matter of fact, they punched the Panthers right in the mouth, sending a message about who is the best team in the division.

    That they did so with such physicality is a testament to this new version of the Saints. Against one of the best defenses in football, tailbacks Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for a jaw-dropping 248 total yards and three scores.

    The Saints handled a good Panthers team in a game when Drew Brees only threw one touchdown pass.

    Now, the mission is clear: Win three of four to close the season, and the South is theirs.

    It won't be easy, though. The Saints still have two games with the Falcons—including one on a short turnaround Thursday in Atlanta.

    Week 13 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: A-

New York Giants

23 of 32

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Oakland Raiders

    Score: Lost 24-17

    The New York Giants are a disaster right now. A team with Super Bowl aspirations in September is 2-10 in December. Head coach Ben McAdoo had the same odds of getting fired that McDonald's has of selling at least one cheeseburger on any given day.

    And sure enough, per ESPN's Jordan Ranaan both McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were let go on Monday

    McAdoo spent most of last week being pilloried for benching Eli Manning for Geno Smith. Rightly so, as the situation was about as poorly handled as a situation can be. But something weird happened in Oakland Sunday: Smith wasn't terrible.

    He wasn't great either, but Smith did throw for 212 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of almost 90.

    Yes, it came against a shaky Raiders defense. And the argument can certainly be made that Manning would have played at least as well and that if Smith is New York's future at quarterback, then the future is doomed.

    But if nothing else, Smith appears to have earned another start next week against Dallas.


    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: F

New York Jets

24 of 32

    Elsa/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    Score: Won 38-31

    The Jets are the worst team at tanking in the history of sports.

    Yet again, Gang Green appears to have forgotten that the proper way of taking a dive is to lose the game. They just haven't been putting together a full 60 minutes of commitment to losing.

    Take Sunday's matchup with the Chiefs. At first, it looked like the Jets had everything under control. They spotted the Chiefs 14 points before the game was even five minutes old.

    But then they started screwing it up. Getting first downs. Scoring points. Playing well
    (in the case of Josh McCown and his 331 passing yards and two total touchdowns, very well).

    Of all the nerve!

    Kidding aside, there may not be a more impressive coaching job in the NFL this year than what Todd Bowles has done with this Jets team in 2017. He won't get many Coach of the Year votes (the Jets are still a 5-7 team), but he should.

    This was a team many thought wouldn't win a game. It's won five and been in just about every contest it's played this season for four quarters.

    The Jets are not an easy out—at all.

    And they could very well wreak more havoc as a spoiler over the last month of the season.

    Week 13 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C-

Oakland Raiders

25 of 32

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Score: Won 24-17

    Things haven't quite gone according to plan for the Oakland Raiders in 2017. But despite all the trials and tribulations, a Week 13 win over the foundering New York Giants would lift the Silver and Black into a virtual tie atop the AFC West.

    The Raiders got that win.

    At first glance, beating what's left of the Giants by just seven points at home doesn't appear overly impressive. But the Raiders got that win without the services of wide receivers Amari Cooper (concussion) and Michael Crabtree (suspension).

    Without his top two receivers, Derek Carr still threw for 287 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders also got a big game from Marshawn Lynch, who posted his first 100-yard game as a member of the Raiders and scored on a 50-yard rumble.

    With everything that's gone wrong for the Raiders this season, it's rather remarkable that one week from now, they'll travel to Kansas City with first place in the division on the line.

    And Oakland should be back at full strength offensively for that one.

    Week 13 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C

Philadelphia Eagles

26 of 32

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Seattle Seahawks

    Score: Lost 24-10

    On Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles had a chance to emphatically stamp their ticket to the playoffs. And to win a 10th straight game in one of the NFL's hardest places to play and send a message that they are the no-brainer favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LII.

    The Eagles got emphatically stamped in their brainer, all right.

    Philadelphia didn't just lose its second game of the season. Or the first by double digits. The Eagles got their hats handed to them.

    Entering Week 13, the Eagles led the NFL in scoring at just under 32 points per game. They managed just one touchdown and 10 points in Seattle. That, despite outgaining Seattle by over 100 yards.

    Two Carson Wentz turnovers (including one at the goal line) may have had something to do with that.

    The Eagles are still a great football team. They will win the NFC East. They may well play in Minneapolis in February.

    But Seattle showed clearly Sunday night that the Eagles are mortal.

    That they can be beaten.

    Week 13 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: A-

Pittsburgh Steelers

27 of 32

    Frank Victores/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Cincinnati Bengals

    Score: Won 23-20

    The good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers is that the team got the Week 13 win it needed to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the fight for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, coming back from down 17-0 to survive another squeaker 23-20.

    In the end, that's all that matters.

    It's also just about all the good news the Steelers got Monday night.

    For starters, the Pittsburgh defense has started to spring some leaks of late. The team stiffened in the second half, but for the second straight game, the Steelers allowed a bad offensive team to go well over its season average in total yardage.

    Also, Pittsburgh will probably be without a couple of key players when it faces the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken to a Cincinnati hospital after suffering a scary-looking back injury early in the game, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will likely draw a suspension after cheap-shotting Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict late and then standing over him.

    But those are problems for another day. For now, thanks to Ben Roethlisberger's right ram and Le'Veon Bell's ability to hurt defenses in so many ways, the Steelers are the AFC's second 10-win team of 2017.

    Week 13 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: A-

San Francisco 49ers

28 of 32

    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Chicago Bears

    Score: Won 15-14

    All hail King Jimmy the First! Savior of Santa Clara!

    Jimmy Garoppolo made the first of what will be many starts for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday—at least if his performance against the Bears is any indication.

    Yes, Garoppolo didn't throw a touchdown pass. In fact, the 49ers didn't score any touchdowns at all. He also tossed the first interception of his NFL career.

    But despite a bad offensive line, no real help from the run game and a less-than-imposing cadre of pass-catchers, Garoppolo flirted with 300 passing yards.

    And most importantly, the Niners won their second game of the year and first on the road.

    It wasn't an impressive win. Nor does it mean that San Francisco is now suddenly a good (or even fair) NFL team.

    But finding a solution under center is a huge step for any team looking to climb from the depths of futility into the light.

    One game's guarantee the 49ers have—but early returns are promising.

    And promise has been in short supply in San Francisco in 2017.

    Week 13 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: F

Seattle Seahawks

29 of 32

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Score: Won 24-10

    Russell Wilson is ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

    With the NFL's hottest team coming to Seattle, no run game to speak of and an offensive line that blocks when it feels like it (which isn't often), Wilson did what any normal person would do when facing such circumstances.

    OK, maybe not normal people so much as superheroes.

    Wilson showed Sunday night why he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, carrying the Seattle offense to a decisive win over the Eagles by tossing three touchdown passes.

    It wasn't just Wilson. An injury-depleted Seattle defense stepped up in a huge way, limiting the NFL's highest-scoring team to just 10 points. The Seahawks notched three sacks, forced a pair of turnovers and played a phenomenal game all the way around.

    This win doesn't fix all of Seattle's flaws. And it's still going to be difficult for a one-dimensional Seahawks offense to make it all the way through the tournament in January.

    But Sunday night's impressive win also sent a reminder rippling across the NFC: There isn't a team in the conference that wants to face Seattle in the first round—especially if it means heading to the Emerald City to do it.

    Week 13 Grade: A+

    Season Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30 of 32

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: at Green Bay Packers

    Score: Lost 26-20 (OT)

    With Jameis Winston back in the starting lineup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, the hope was that Tampa could get a win in Green Bay against the Brett Hundley-led Packers.

    Winston played pretty well, throwing for 270 yards and two scores with a passer rating of 112.8 despite taking a beating most of the day.

    With Doug Martin on the shelf with a concussion, Peyton Barber drew the start at tailback. He played pretty well, too—topping 100 rushing yards and averaging 4.4 yards a carry.

    And yet, as has been the case more often than not in 2017, Tampa found a way to lose.

    It found a way to lose despite out-gaining the Packers, 395 to 276. Despite holding the Packers under 100 passing yards for the game. Despite winning the time-of-possession battle by over 10 minutes. And despite turning the ball over just once.

    Frankly, I'm not sure how the Buccaneers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Titletown.

    But bad teams find a way—and the Buccaneers are most assuredly a bad football team.

    Week 13 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Tennessee Titans

31 of 32

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Week 13 Opponent: vs. Houston Texans

    Score: Won 24-13

    The Tennessee Titans are the NFL's kings of winning ugly in 2017.

    Sunday against the Texans, Tennessee didn't look especially sharp. It started slow, falling behind 10-0. Marcus Mariota had another unimpressive effort, passing for just 150 yards. And while Tennessee rushed for almost 200 yards, 75 of them came on a Derrick Henry rumble when the game was all but decided.

    And yet, the Titans won for the sixth time in seven games to stay in first place in the AFC South.

    It's hard to view this Titans team as a serious Super Bowl threat. It had a "litmus test" game a couple of weeks ago in Pittsburgh and was blasted by the Steelers.

    But at 8-4, the Titans also can't be dismissed as they prepare to head west for winnable games in Arizona and San Francisco.

    After that, we may well find out just how good the Titans really are. Their last two games are at home against the Los Angeles Rams and a Week 17 tilt with the Jaguars that may well be for the whole ball of wax in the division.

    Week 13 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: B-

Washington Redskins

32 of 32

    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Week 13 Opponent: at Dallas Cowboys

    Score: Lost 38-14

    The Washington Redskins entered Week 13 with a simple edict. An edict borne of good old-fashioned desperation.

    Beat the reeling Dallas Cowboys, or kiss any real chance they had of making the playoffs in 2017 goodbye.

    Well, au revoir. Sayonara. See ya.

    The Redskins were blasted Thursday night in Dallas in a game where just about everything that could go wrong did. After two straight 100-yard efforts, rookie tailback Samaje Perine managed just 38 yards on 12 carries. The Washington defense was scorched early and often by a Dallas offense that had struggled mightily in recent weeks.

    And Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins had an awful game, tossing a pair of interceptions and losing a fumble.

    In a loaded NFC where 10-6 may not be good enough to make the playoffs, the 5-7 Redskins are toast. The next month will be an exercise in playing out the string.

    Then comes an offseason filled with looming questions, not the least of which is the future of Cousins in the nation's capital.

    Week 13 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D