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The whole nine yards: Midseason report card

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The end of first quarter is upon us and we are a few days away from getting report cards in the mail. It is also the midway point in the NFL season, so here are some grades and comments on all 32 teams ranked by grade range.

Star Students (A range):

Green Bay Packers (7-0) – The defense and running game need to start pulling their weight, but Aaron Rodgers is in a class of his own right now.

San Francisco 49ers (6-1) – Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has this team playing smash mouth football by playing great defense and running the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – The reigning AFC champs passed a big test this last Sunday by beating Tom Brady and the Patriots in Pittsburgh.

Buffalo Bills (5-2) – Leading the AFC East, which no one expected with two playoff teams from last year in the Patriots and Jets in their division.

Detroit Lions (6-2) – The Lions are excelling in partner projects, as Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Matt Stafford have developed a great chemistry together.

 

Almost There (B range):

New Orleans Saints (5-3) – This team is better than their record has indicated, but they failed to do their homework on the Rams and their grade suffered.

New England Patriots (5-2) – Tom Brady is doing all the work, but this is a group project and the defense is not defending the pass.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) – “Underclassmen” Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are leading a resurgent Bengals offense that wasn’t supposed to be this good this early. Still haven’t beaten a really good opponent though.

Chicago Bears (4-3) – Starting to find their offensive identity with the increased role of Matt Forte, and the defense remains strong against the run.

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Lost to the hapless Jaguars and got down early to the Cardinals, but still in pretty good shape with a great defense.

New York Giants (5-2) – Eli Manning is minimizing mistakes and slowly working his way into the elite tier of quarterbacks he already says he is a part of.

Houston Texans (5-3) – This division was handed to them on a silver platter, but they have yet to take advantage of the help they are getting in the absence of Peyton Manning.

Tennessee Titans (4-3) – Making things very difficult for the Texans due to the solid play of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, but running back Chris Johnson has yet to deliver since signing his contract at the start of the year.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) – Started off poorly and sustained a few key injuries, but quarterback Matt Cassel has taken control of this team and led them to four straight wins.

 

Average (C range):

San Diego Chargers (4-3) – Started strongly but the Chargers are fading fast in a competitive division in the AFC West.

Carolina Panthers (2-6) – This team has three legitimate playoff contenders in its division, but Cam Newton has kept this team in most of their games.

Atlanta Falcons (4-3) – Offense is good, but the defense can’t cover multiple wide receiver formations, causing them to get gashed against the pass.

New York Jets (4-3) – Head Coach Rex Ryan was a bit of a classroom distraction in the first half of the season. Hopefully he will settle down and let his team’s play do the talking.

Oakland Raiders (4-3) – Their high powered offense took a step back with injuries to Jason Campbell and Darren McFadden, but the Raiders are going all-in by acquiring Carson Palmer for 2 high draft picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3) – The defense is showing signs of age and on offense they can’t seem to keep a running back healthy.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) – The Eagles were supposed to be the “dream team” this year, but so far the pieces they brought in are not quite fitting just yet.

 

Way more effort needed (D range):

Minnesota Vikings (2-6) – In a really tough division but this team is not giving the ball to their best player in Adrian Peterson, especially late in games.

Denver Broncos (2-5) – Broncos fans got their Tim “Tebow time.” What’s next, Brady “Quinn quitting time”?

Cleveland Browns (3-4) – Madden NFL 12 cover boy Peyton Hillis is cursed and is bringing the rest of Cleveland down with him.

Dallas Cowboys (3-4) – Tony Romo is showing flashes of potential, but his late game flops have cost the Cowboys a couple wins.

Washington Redskins (3-4) – This team looked great until the “bad Rex” version of Rex Grossman reared its ugly head yet again.

 

Failing (F range):

Seattle Seahawks (2-6) – The Seahawks are 31st in the league in yards. They aren’t moving enough down the field to earn participation points in an Option 3 gym class.

Arizona Cardinals (1-6) – This team is making foolish mistakes that are causing them to lose a lot of games late.

St. Louis Rams (1-6) – Got the Saints to underestimate them but this is still a very bad team with a lot of devastating injuries to key players.

 

Expelled for Lack of Attendance:

Indianapolis Colts (0-8) – “Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!”

Miami Dolphins (0-7) – Never came back from summer vacation. Someone needs to tell Head Coach Tony Sparano the lockout is over.

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The whole nine yards: Midseason report card