NFL Team Grades for Week 12

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

NFL Team Grades for Week 12

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season was as impactful as it was unpredictable. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos saved their respective seasons with huge wins, while teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets had their dwindling playoff hopes dashed.

    We also saw rookie quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson lead their teams to victories, while longtime veteran Philip Rivers tied an NFL record. The New Orleans Saints kept rolling, and the Cleveland Browns snapped another dubious losing streak.

    How did we grade your favorite team's Week 12 performance? Let's take a look.


Arizona Cardinals

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers

    Result: Lost 45-10

    For a quarter, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals just might be able to upset the Los Angeles Chargers. The offense engineered two long scoring drives, the defense forced a three-and-out, and the Cardinals took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter.

    After that, though, it's almost like the Cardinals remembered that they're supposed to be bad. They didn't score again and stumbled to what ultimately was an embarrassing performance.

    Arizona produced just 149 yards of net offense in the game—and only 25 yards in the second half. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen passed for a mere 105 yards, and the Cardinals had just one second-half first down.

    This was a blowout loss in every sense of the term, and it leaves Arizona with nothing positive to build on heading into next week's game against the Green Bay Packers.

    Week 12 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D-

Atlanta Falcons

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: New Orleans Saints

    Result: Lost 31-17

    After battling back from a poor start to the season to reach .500, the Atlanta Falcons have now lost three in a row and are slipping out of the playoff picture. Thursday night's loss to the New Orleans Saints wasn't shocking because the Saints have been rolling, but it was disheartening if you're a Falcons fan.

    When Matt Ryan passes for 377 yards and Julio Jones has 147 receiving yards, you would expect Atlanta to put up more than 17 points.

    Unfortunately, mistakes and an inability to run the ball—Ryan led the team with 16 yards—prevented the Falcons from keeping things close against New Orleans. Ryan, Jones and Calvin Ridley all lost fumbles, and Ryan threw an interception.

    Teams simply cannot play sloppy games and hope to knock off the Saints this season. Atlanta couldn't play a clean enough game, and it dropped to 4-7 as a result.

    Week 12 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C-

Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Oakland Raiders

    Result: Won 34-17

    The Baltimore Ravens have a legitimate quarterback controversy on their hands. Rookie Lamar Jackson made his second consecutive start in place of an injured Joe Flacco. While he wasn't perfect, he did more than enough to get the win.

    Jackson finished 14-of-25 for 178 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also added 78 yards on the ground. The game was close early, but the defense stiffened in the second half and helped hand Baltimore an easy win.

    While Jackson still has some growing to do as a pocket passer, opposing defenses have to respect his arm strength, accuracy and mobility. This opens up the run game—Gus Edwards had his second consecutive 100-yard game—and keeps defenses off-balance.

    Jackson is only going to get tougher to defend as he continues to adapt to the speed and nuances of the NFL. The Ravens have to decide if they should let him finish out the year to speed up that process. As long as he is playing well enough to keep delivering wins, Baltimore may be able to develop Jackson and reach the postseason.

    Week 12 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: C+

Buffalo Bills

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

    Result: Won 24-21

    Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey isn't a fan of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

    "He's trash," Ramsey said during his now-famous GQ interview. "And it's gonna show too. That's a stupid draft pick to me."

    There was no love lost during the Bills and Jaguars game Sunday, that's for sure. There were several confrontations during the game, and one scuffle resulted in both Leonard Fournette and Shaq Lawson getting ejected.

    Allen wasn't brilliant, but he used his running ability (99 rushing yards) and made a couple of big throws—including a 75-yard touchdown strike. That proved to be enough to get the win.

    LeSean McCoy chipped in with 46 rushing yards, the defense picked off Blake Bortles twice, and Bills out-punched the Jaguars in a slugfest.

    Week 12 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C-

Carolina Panthers

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    Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

    Week 11 Opponent: Seattle Seahawks

    Result: Lost 30-27

    Fantasy owners who started Christian McCaffrey had to be happy with the Carolina Panthers' performance on Sunday. Panthers fans? Not so much.

    McCaffrey racked up 237 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. He also helped Carolina take a seven-point lead with just under seven minutes remaining in regulation. But the Panthers defense couldn't stop Russell Wilson from making fourth-quarter magic, and the Seattle Seahawks scored 10 unanswered in that span.

    The Panthers struggled to stop Wilson all game, and he finished with 339 yards passing and two touchdowns. Just one stop late in the fourth would have delivered a win.

    Graham Gano also pushed a 52-yard field-goal attempt wide right in between those two Seahawks scores. That was one of several missed opportunities that ultimately doomed Carolina. Cam Newton tossed a red-zone interception, and the Panthers were stopped on an early fourth-down attempt from the Seattle 5-yard line.

    Week 12 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C

Chicago Bears

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Detroit Lions

    Result: Won 23-16

    The Chicago Bears deserve a ton of credit for pulling out the Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions. They were playing on an extremely short week—from Sunday night to Thursday afternoon—and without starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

    While Chase Daniel didn't bring the running ability Trubisky possesses, he was able to operate Matt Nagy's offense in nearly its full form. He finished the game 27-of-37 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. However, with Daniel in, the Lions were able to focus on shutting down the run. Chicago finished with just 38 yards on the ground.

    Unsurprisingly, it was Chicago's defense that put this one away by grabbing interceptions on Detroit's final two possessions—one of which was returned for a touchdown.

    This had all the makings of a trap game, and the Bears avoided it. They're now 8-3 and in control of the NFC North.

    Week 12 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B+

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Cleveland Browns

    Result: Lost 35-20

    Credit the Cincinnati Bengals for continuing to fight with a backup quarterback and after getting down big early. After being down 28-7 at halftime, backup quarterback Jeff Driskel and the Cincinnati defense got the Bengals back into the game.

    Unfortunately, you can't give Cincinnati credit for much else in this game. The defense allowed rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield to slice it apart early, Andy Dalton threw an interception that led to a Browns touchdown, and the Bengals found themselves in a 28-7 halftime hole.

    Mayfield finished with 258 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton left the game with an injured thumb, which is why Driskel took over. He's done for the season, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    Cincinnati scored two second-half touchdowns to at least pull within striking distance, and the defense held up once the Browns went into conservative mode, but the Bengals never really had a chance. Racking up 13 penalties over the course of the game didn't help matters.

    Week 12 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C-

Cleveland Browns

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    John Grieshop/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

    Result: Won 35-20

    It's steadily becoming safer to say that the Cleveland Browns have found their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield. The former No. 1 overall pick shined again against Cincinnati, passing for 258 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers.

    Mayfield has been tremendous in his last two games, and a lot of that has to do with the play-calling of new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens. The Browns opened up their offense early against Cincinnati, racking up 245 passing yards and 296 total yards in the first half.

    If we were only grading Cleveland's first half, we'd happily give a perfect score. However, the Browns went ultra conservative in the second half, attempting just four passes and gaining a mere five first downs. This placed a ton of pressure on the defense and gave Cincinnati a chance to get back in the game.

    Taking the ball out of Mayfield's hands was a mistake, but the defense played well enough to avoid blowing a huge lead. Cleveland still won by 15 and snapped a 25-game road losing streak. At 4-6-1, the Browns are on the periphery of the playoff picture.

    Week 12 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: C

Dallas Cowboys

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Washington Redskins

    Result: Won 31-23

    Plenty of people—myself included—believed the Dallas Cowboys overpaid by giving up a first-round pick for wideout Amari Cooper. Well, Cooper showed just what kind of game-breaker he can be against the Washington Redskins. If he can add such a different dimension to the Dallas offense on a consistent basis, then he'll be worth the price.

    Cooper finished with 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He added a quick-strike component to the offense and ensured Washington couldn't key in on Ezekiel Elliott and the ground game.

    Dallas racked up 404 yards of offense as a team, which proved to be more than enough to knock off the Redskins. This is largely because the defensive front seven had its way with Washington's banged-up offensive line.

    The Cowboys defense held Adrian Peterson to just 35 rushing yards and made Colt McCoy look like the backup quarterback he is.

    Week 12 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: B-

Denver Broncos

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    Week 12 Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

    Result: Won 24-17

    "I have the best hands on the team," Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris joked following his team's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    There's little arguing his late-game interception of Ben Roethlisberger wasn't the biggest play of Sunday's game.

    With just over a minute remaining and with the Steelers facing third down from the Denver 2-yard line, Roethlisberger forced a pass that Harris snagged while backing away from the line of scrimmage. That big play sealed a game that had more than a few.

    The Denver defense picked off Roethlisberger twice and totaled four turnovers. Phillip Lindsay rumbled for 110 yards rushing, and Case Keenum threw for an efficient 197 yards and two touchdowns. This was a back-and-forth game with plenty of momentum changes. The Broncos got the last and the biggest, and they remain in the playoff hunt because of it.

    Week 12 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C

Detroit Lions

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Chicago Bears

    Result: Lost 23-16

    The Lions were not in an ideal situation against the rival Bears on Thanksgiving. They were without running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., yet they still hung with the Bears.

    With LeGarrette Blount leading the way, Detroit ran the ball well against Chicago. The Lions rushed for 111 yards and 4.6 yards per carry, and as a result, they didn't have to lean too heavily on Matthew Stafford and the passing game.

    Unfortunately, it was a pair of mistakes by Stafford that cost the Lions late. With the game tied at 16 in the fourth quarter, Bears safety Eddie Jackson picked off Stafford and returned the ball 41 yards for a touchdown. Stafford was picked in the end zone the next time out to end a drive that could have tied the game, and the Lions never got the ball back.

    This was a game the Lions easily could have won, but they fell just short.

    Week 12 Grade: C

    Season Grade: C-

Green Bay Packers

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

    Result: Lost 24-17

    The Packers desperately needed to win in Week 12 to stay in the NFC North race. They failed to beat the Minnesota Vikings, though, and once again some questionable play-calling played a role.

    A week ago, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy decided to punt on 4th-and-2 with just over four minutes remaining. His offense never got the ball back. In the third quarter of this one, McCarthy decided to go for it on 4th-and-1, but he also called a run up the middle into a stacked defensive box. Unsurprisingly, that call failed.

    This loss also falls on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, who had more than a couple of errant throws and who finished with just 198 yards passing. A defense that allowed 416 yards also contributed to the loss.

    At 4-6-1, Green Bay will now find it incredibly difficult to make a push toward the postseason.

    Week 12 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C-

Houston Texans

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Tennessee Titans

    Result: Won 34-17

    On Monday night, the Houston Texans became the first team in NFL history to earn an 8-3 record after starting the season 0-3. It wasn't easy in the beginning, though, as the Tennessee Titans jumped out to a 10-0 lead.

    Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense then rattled off 27 straight points, took a commanding lead in the second half, and let J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and the Texans pass rush attack Marcus Mariota. It became clear pretty quickly that Houston was the better team.

    Watson (210 yards passing, 70 yards rushing, three touchdowns) was brilliant. Lamar Miller, who rushed for 162 yards, including 97 on one touchdown run, put the game away.

    Houston dominated in all facets Monday night. The Texans are dangerous and a team that no one should want to see in the postseason.

    Week 12 Grade: A

    Season Grade: B

Indianapolis Colts

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Miami Dolphins

    Result: Won 27-24

    The Colts faced what could have been a trap game in Week 12. They were coming off a 38-10 thrashing of the Titans, while the Miami Dolphins were coming off the bye and with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back under center.

    It wasn't pretty, but the Colts managed to avoid the trap, thanks in large part to another three-touchdown game from Andrew Luck.

    Luck wasn't perfect, as he also tossed a pair of picks, but he outdid Tannehill and got the Colts into position for a game-winning kick as time expired. Adam Vinatieri nailed that kick, the Colts tallied 455 yards of offense, the defense forced a turnover in Dolphins territory, and the Colts grabbed a hard-fought win.

    At 6-5, Indianapolis remains in the AFC South race, with games against the Jaguars and Texans upcoming.

    Week 12 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: B-

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Buffalo Bills

    Result: Lost 24-21

    The Jaguars essentially saw their season end when running back Leonard Fournette got tossed against the Bills. Fournette had 95 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jacksonville had the ball at Buffalo's 1-yard line after the ejection, but it moved backward and ended up missing the ensuing field-goal attempt.

    Naturally, the Jaguars went on to lose by three points and drop to 3-8.

    Jacksonville cannot solely blame the loss on Fournette's ejection, of course. Blake Bortles threw two interceptions while in Jaguars territory—one of which led to a field goal—and the defense couldn't slow the running of Josh Allen.

    Still, this was a winnable game for the Jaguars, and playing undisciplined football and making dumb mistakes cost them any chance of hanging around in the wild-card race.

    Week 12 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Week 12 Bye

    The Kansas City Chiefs lost a shootout for the ages to the Los Angeles Rams before heading into the bye. While it's never ideal to take a loss into the bye, the Chiefs have to still feel confident that they're one of the top teams in the league.

    The problem is the Patriots won during the bye, so the Chiefs have just a one-game lead over New England for the No. 1 seed and lost the head-to-head tiebreaker.

    The Chiefs can feast on a pair of remaining Raiders matchups, but they still have tough games against the Ravens, Chargers and Seahawks to get through.

    Season Grade: A-

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

    Result: Won 45-10

    The Chargers suffered a huge letdown last week against the rival Broncos, but they avoided doing the same against the Cardinals on Sunday. After sleepwalking through the first quarter and falling behind 10-0, the Chargers came alive to score 45 unanswered points.

    Philip Rivers tied an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions. The Chargers defense allowed less than 150 yards of total offense, and the Los Angeles offense scored on seven of its final 10 possessions.

    Unfortunately, starting running back Melvin Gordon also suffered a knee injury during the game. According to ESPN's Eric D. Williams, it's an MCL injury that could sideline Gordon during next week's Steelers matchup.

    Gordon's injury is about the only thing that went wrong for the Chargers, who moved to 8-3.

    Week 12 Grade: A+

    Season Grade: B

Los Angeles Rams

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Week 12 Bye

    The Rams were on bye this week, but they still managed to lose the No. 1 seed in the NFC, at least temporarily. This is because the Saints picked up their 10th win of the season and already own the head-to-head tiebreaker over L.A.

    Make no mistake, though: the Rams are still one of the top teams in the NFL. They're averaging the third-most points in the league, 35.4 per game, and they have a defense loaded with playmakers capable of ending drives in an instant.

    Los Angeles carried the momentum of a huge win over Kansas City into the bye, and the Rams should parlay that into an 11th win over the inconsistent Lions in Week 13.

    Season Grade: A

Miami Dolphins

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

    Result: Lost 27-24

    The Dolphins finally got quarterback Ryan Tannehill back, and he nearly helped deliver a much-needed victory.

    Tannehill looked sharp most of the game, finishing 17-of-25 for 204 yards and two touchdowns. The Dolphins ran the ball well, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and the defense forced three turnovers. All of this helped the Dolphins build a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.

    However, the Miami defense couldn't stop Andrew Luck and Co. from storming back in the final period, and some questionable offensive play-calling gave the Colts the opportunities they needed.

    Miami went three-and-out on its final two possessions, totaled negative-one yard between them and took just 2:30 off the game clock. The Dolphins fell to 5-6 as a result and out of the AFC East chase.

    Week 12 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C-

Minnesota Vikings

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Green Bay Packers

    Result: Won 24-17

    The Vikings got themselves firmly back in the playoff race with a convincing win over the rival Packers on Sunday night. They did so thanks in large part to quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had perhaps his best game with Minnesota.

    Cousins finished 29-of-38 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings' backfield contributed 91 yards rushing as well. The final score would have been more lopsided if not for a pair of missed Dan Bailey field-goal attempts.

    Missed field goals helped lead to a tie the last time these teams met, but they weren't so critical here. The Vikings defense was able to keep Aaron Rodgers out of rhythm, and the Packers weren't able to keep pace on the scoreboard.

    At 6-4-1, Minnesota is very much alive in the wild-card race, but they have a crucial Week 13 matchup with the Patriots upcoming.

    Week 12 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: B-

New England Patriots

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: New York Jets

    Result: Won 27-13

    The New England Patriots came out of the bye sluggish, and for a while, it appeared as if they might blow it against the rival New York Jets. Thanks in large part to Sony Michel and the ground game, however, New England pulled away.

    According to Michel, head coach Bill Belichick challenged the Patriots' rushing attack heading into the game.

    "The challenge was just to be able to run the ball consistently," Michel said, per Zack Cox of

    The Patriots responded by rushing for 215 yards and 6.0 yards per carry. This allowed New England to run a balanced offense, as Tom Brady chipped in with 283 yards and two touchdowns.

    New England's defense is still a question mark, but when the Patriots are balanced and efficient on offense, they'll be tough to beat down the stretch.

    Week 12 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

    Result: Won 31-17

    The Saints didn't dominate on Thanksgiving the way they did in Week 11, but they still played well enough to beat the Falcons handily.

    New Orleans set the tone with the run game, rushing for 150 yards and 4.8 yards per carry. Drew Brees chipped in with an efficient 171 yards and four touchdowns, though he did toss his second interception of the season.

    The story of the game, though, was the Saints defense. New Orleans did give up 366 yards of offense, but it also held the Falcons to 1.6 yards per carry and forced four turnovers. The Saints can afford to give up yardage when they can make timely stops and take the ball away—especially with an offense capable of scoring in bunches.

    When the New Orleans defense plays like it has over the last three weeks, the Saints are going to be nearly impossible to stop down the stretch.

    Week 12 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: A

New York Giants

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

    Result: Lost 25-22

    The New York Giants came into their matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles on a two-game winning streak. For a long stretch, it looked like they would continue their streak, but they couldn't string together enough impact plays to put the defending champs away.

    Poor coaching and questionable offensive play-calling played roles in this loss. Though running back Saquon Barkley averaged 7.8 yards per carry, he only got 13 of them. Even with the Eagles secondary missing several starters, the Giants rarely attacked deep down the field.

    "Knowing they were struggling in the secondary, personally I would have loved to attack them," wideout Odell Beckham Jr. said, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

    New York led 19-3 in the second quarter but managed just one field goal the rest of the way. One more score might have stuck a dagger in the Eagles and their season, but it never came.

    Week 12 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: D

New York Jets

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: New England Patriots

    Result: Lost 27-13

    For the second straight game, the Jets played without rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. For the second consecutive game, New York lost. The big difference, though, is that backup Josh McCown played fairly well in this game.

    Against the Bills, McCown completed just 17 of 34 passes for 135 yards and two interceptions. He finished this game 26-of-45 for 276 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

    Was McCown great against New England? No. However, he played well enough for New York to win. Instead of blaming their replacement quarterback, the Jets can blame poor game planning and a lack of defense for the loss.

    New York allowed 498 yards of total offense. The Jets also ran the ball just 15 times. This isn't a winning formula against the Patriots, and it led to a Jets loss on Sunday.

    Week 12 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Oakland Raiders

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens

    Result: Lost 34-17

    The Raiders failed to build off last week's win over the Cardinals, though they did keep things close early. They held a 7-3 lead heading into the second quarter and trailed just 13-10 at halftime.

    However, the defense couldn't slow Baltimore's running game in the second half, and a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown by Terrell Suggs ended Oakland's chances.

    In all, the Ravens amassed 416 yards of offense, and it's become clear that the Raiders defense lacks talent. That isn't a surprise. What the Raiders have to be concerned about is quarterback Derek Carr's inconsistency.

    Carr finished the game just 16-of-34 for 194 yards and a touchdown. This isn't the type of performance a team expects from a franchise quarterback, and it's fair to wonder if coach Jon Gruden even views Carr as such.

    Week 12 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: F

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Week 12 Opponent: New York Giants

    Result: Won 25-22

    The Eagles came into Week 12 reeling from a blowout loss. A loss to the Giants would have essentially ended their chances in the NFC East, but Philadelphia managed to avoid the upset.

    Doing so saved the Eagles' season.

    "Yeah, this was a big game for us," quarterback Carson Wentz said, per Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Obviously in terms of the divisional standings, all that fun stuff, but really mentally."

    The Eagles fought back from a 16-point deficit, largely by running the ball (29 times) and keeping New York's offense off the field. The resiliency they showed this game could carry over into the coming weeks.

    At 5-6, Philadelphia still sits behind the Redskins and Cowboys in the division, but those happen to be the next two teams on the schedule.

    Week 12 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Denver Broncos

    Result: Lost 24-17

    Plenty of fans will blame this loss on Ben Roethlisberger. He uncorked the pass that was picked off at the end of the game and tossed another interception that led to a Broncos touchdown.

    However, James Conner and Xavier Grimble both lost fumbles—Grimble's went through the end zone and erased a scoring opportunity—and the defense couldn't get key stops. Chris Boswell had a field goal blocked on Pittsburgh's opening drive as well.

    When five of your 11 possessions result in four turnovers and a missed kick, it's hard to win on the road, something the Steelers struggle with anyway. Yes, Roethlisberger was responsible for two turnovers, but he was also responsible for the 462 yards passing that kept Pittsburgh in the game.

    Pittsburgh needs to figure out how to play more consistently on the road. Losing this game dropped the Steelers out of the No. 2 seed in the AFC, which means much of the postseason could be on the road.

    Week 12 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C+

San Francisco 49ers

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Result: Lost 27-9

    The San Francisco 49ers had a lot stacked against them heading into Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were coming out of the bye week, but they were also playing with their third-string quarterback. They were without Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon and traveled across the country for an early afternoon game.

    None of this excuses putting up such a dud against an inconsistent Buccaneers team. After scoring a touchdown in the second quarter—and missing the extra point—San Francisco only managed three more points.

    The 49ers failed to finish drives, Nick Mullens was picked off twice, and the defense had few answers for Tampa's passing attack. Despite having two weeks to get ready for this game, the 49ers looked woefully underprepared.

    The good news is San Francisco remains on track to earn the first overall pick in the draft.

    Week 12 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D-

Seattle Seahawks

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Week 12 Opponent: Carolina Panthers

    Result: Won 30-27

    The Seahawks refuse to go away, and they hung tough against the Panthers after being down in the fourth quarter.

    The Seattle running game produced just 75 yards. The defense gave up 476. Yet this team keeps finding ways to survive.

    "We had some mishaps in the first half, which is typical," receiver Doug Baldwin said, per Brady Henderson of "But when the game's on the line, for whatever reason, we just make plays."

    Wilson was incredible down the stretch, firing darts downfield in clutch situations and leading Seattle to 13 fourth-quarter points. By winning back-to-back games, the Seahawks have climbed to 6-5 and right back in the NFC wild-card race.

    The next task will be avoiding a slip-up against the 49ers in Week 13.

    Week 12 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

    Result: Won 27-9

    For the first time since perhaps Week 2, everything went right for the Buccaneers.

    Jameis Winston rattled off 312 yards passing and, more importantly, didn't turn the ball over. The defense grabbed a pair of interceptions, and the running game—which totaled 108 yards—was at least good enough to keep the offense balanced.

    The end result was a dominant win. It was a good first impression in what may be Winston's last chance to prove he is Tampa's quarterback of the future. He was only reinserted as the starter this week.

    If Winston can keep playing mistake-free football like he did in this game, he may just earn himself a new contract with the Buccaneers—and Tampa will win a few more games down the stretch. The next two weeks will be crucial, and the Panthers and Saints are next on the slate.

    Week 12 Grade: A

    Season Grade: D+

Tennessee Titans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Houston Texans

    Result: Lost 34-17

    One thing we've learned about the Titans this season is that they aren't going to quit. Head coach Mike Vrabel has instilled an aggressive mentality in his team, and Tennessee is going to remain dangerous down the stretch.

    Right now, though, Tennessee is in trouble. The Titans were dominated by the Colts last week, and they didn't fare too well after going up 10-0 against Houston.

    Running the ball was a problem—wideout Corey Davis led the team with 39 yards—and so was trying to stop Watson, Miller and the Houston offense. Marcus Mariota had a strong day passing the ball (303 yards and two touchdowns) but he could not find the big plays needed to complete the comeback.

    Tennessee now faces winnable games against the Jets and Jaguars over the next two weeks. Those are must-wins.

    Week 12 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C-

Washington Redskins

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Week 12 Opponent: Dallas Cowboys

    Result: Lost 31-23

    The Redskins got handed a decisive loss by the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and Washington is in serious trouble.

    Actually, Washington was in trouble a week ago when starting quarterback Alex Smith went down with a torn ACL. The team was already dealing with an injury-hampered offensive line, and with Smith out, opposing defenses can focus on stopping Adrian Peterson and the ground game. That's exactly what Dallas did Thursday, and Washington couldn't overcome Peterson's mediocre performance.

    While Colt McCoy is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league, he's still a backup. He made too many mistakes—including three interceptions—against Dallas, and Washington simply couldn't keep pace on the scoreboard as a result.

    Washington is now tied with Dallas at 6-5 and atop the division. Divisional matchups against the Eagles and Giants over the next two weeks will be critical.

    Week 12 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C