About this time every semester students begin to really stress about grades. But what about NFL teams — who grades them? Have no fear! Your beloved sports columnist has taken the liberty to dish out midseason grades to each and every NFL team. Is your favorite team making the grade?
F — The “if you don’t start performing you will lose your team” group
The title is no joke. Jacksonville is scheduled to play games in London each of the next four years, and if they don’t improve soon they will be moving to London or Los Angeles permanently.
D- — The “maybe we can overtake Jacksonville for the first draft pick” group
Minnesota, Tampa Bay
These teams have been horrible so far and both their coaches are on the hot seat. It truly is about draft position now.
D — The “former heavyweights who have fallen on hard times” group
Atlanta, Houston, NY Giants, Pittsburgh
Atlanta and Houston were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders this year and New York and Pittsburgh are two of the league’s most storied programs. “Fallen on hard times” is an understatement with these four teams.
D+ — The “we can’t seem to shake off being bad” group
Both of these teams have electric quarterbacks in Terrell Pryor and Robert Griffin III (RG3), but neither can seem to shake mediocrity. RG3 has yet to prove he can duplicate his winning ways of last year.
C- — The “trying to survive with backups” group
Buffalo, St. Louis
Buffalo and St. Louis have each been playing with backup quarterbacks after injuries to their starters and both teams are struggling to avoid losing seasons again.
C — The “middle of the road” group
Arizona, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Tennessee
These teams are all around .500 and none of them really stand-out other than the Ravens who have been disappointing in their Super Bowl defense campaign.
C+ — The “we could be higher but aren’t for some reason” group
Dallas, San Diego
Tony Romo and Phillip Rivers have had good years so far, but both of these teams have a bad habit of finding ways to lose instead of finishing off wins during crunch time.
B- — The “surprising starts that won’t make playoffs” group
Cleveland, Miami, NY Jets
Considering the low expectations for these teams at the beginning of the year, they have actually done quite well, but all three will struggle to make the playoffs.
B — The “beat up NFC North” group
Chicago, Green Bay
With injuries to quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers, these division rivals’ fates will be decided by who can weather the storm without its star the best.
B+ — The “shaky starts but playoff-worthy” group
The Lions and Panthers each had a couple of bad losses early on but have lately emerged as legitimate contenders for their respective division crowns.
A- — The “flawed but very much alive” group
Cincinnati, New England, San Francisco
All three of these contenders have had a game or two in which they looked awful, but each of them has shaken off the bad losses and are on their way to winning records.
A — The “legitimate contenders” group
Denver, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Seattle
While none of them have been perfect, I would not be surprised if any one of these four teams hoists the Lombardi trophy in February. All are quality teams playing good football right now.
A+ — The “undefeated” group
The surprise team of the year, KC gets its own stellar grade by going undefeated in the first half of the season. It has been quite a turnaround after only two wins last year. The Chiefs will have ample opportunity in the second half to prove they are no fluke as their schedule increases in difficulty.