NFL Week 13 Grade Cards
Week 13 NFL Grades
We are rounding the final turn and headed for home on the 2012 NFL season and with that the games for some teams are vitally important for their playoff future. For others this part of the season is as much about playing for pride as it is for anything else, but there’s no give up in any of these teams.
Wins and losses are one thing and obviously that is what every team is judged on. But I’ve always contended that you cannot simply say that a win is a win. By that same token, you can’t look at a team solely on your record, no matter what Bill Parcells says.
This week I decided that I’m going to grade every team’s performance for Week 13. Some teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans continue to roll on, playing complete football games and showing no drastic flaws. On the other hand you have teams like the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets who continue to disappoint their fans on a weekly basis.
If you as a fan don’t think that I have graded your team fairly for this week, by all means comment below, come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard or just shout it from the rooftops. I understand these grades are subjective, and they are mine and as fans we don’t always see the whole picture and sometimes we only see what we want to see. Being on the outside of 31 of these teams, I do my best to be pragmatic and objective when assessing their play.
So without further ado I give you the Week 13 grades in the NFL.
All records aside, this is the worst football team I’ve seen play this year. That is not to say the roster is terrible because it isn’t. But in that system the 2 things that must exist is a good quarterback that makes quick decisions and a solid offensive line. Well the line is offensive alright and the quarterback situation may be unprecedented in the league in terms of being inept; and that's really saying something.
I give the Falcons a B+ for their win over the Saints. The offense was a little off, but the defense really stepped up. If this team could put both sides of the football together in the same week they would quiet a lot of their critics. At this point they are almost certainly the best team in the NFC.
I give the Bills a B- because in a game against a bad team where they didn't perform their best, they still found a way to win. The run game was tremendous and it helped them control time of possession. Their defense is underrated, and if they could just get some increased performance from their receivers they would be much better on a weekly basis.
The Ravens went into a game that they had no business losing against an undermanned team, and they came up short on offense and defense. They hold onto a lead in the AFC North, but at this point they are not playing great football, and it showed his past weekend.
The Panthers went into a no-win situation this weekend at Arrowhead stadium, and really held their own. Emotions were high and it was a game where you could just see they were flat, but you really can’t fault them for that. The Chiefs were playing with rare emotion that few teams could have matched.
The Bears get a C for me but I nearly gave them a B. I know they are taking a lot of heat for this loss, but I really think it's more about how underrated the Seahawks are, than any problems with the Bears. The offensive line is still awful and they are missing some parts on defense, but this is still a very good teams.
I give the Bengals a firm B+ for their game this week. The offense was balanced and the defense was stiff. They are clinging to their wild card hopes and so every game really counts for them. The inclusion of a run game really makes this team dangerous down the stretch.
The Browns are an improving team even if it doesn’t show up in wins and losses every week. This week it definitely did, and even though their record doesn’t show it, you can see this team has a lot of talent on both sides of the football. This week they put it together against the Raiders on offense and defense and got a big road win.
I’ve been a supporter of quarterback Tony Romo for the whole season, and I’ve taken lots of heat for it. But we saw this week with a little help in the run game just how effective he can be. The Cowboys defense was a little buttery soft, but all in all a big division win.
- I have to say that this is not the Broncos team I expected at the start of the season. But that will teach me to underestimate quarterback Peyton Manning. This week they put on another impressive performance.
I am giving the Lions a B- for their game even in the loss. They battled back and forth with the Colts for a full 4 quarters and lost on what was just an amazing individual play by Luck.
Green Bay Packers-B
Look out for when the Packers Get healthy. I give them a solid B- for their win because the offense showed some real balance and the pass defense was sound. They'd have scored higher with me if they hadn't given up 200 yards on the ground to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
The Texans grade out to a B+ for me. They are so balanced on both sides of the football and while none of their units overshadow the other, you can just see that this team is getting better each week.
This was about as close to an A+ performance as I would give, but the defense just bent too far to warrant better than a A-. If I were only grading out quarterback Andrew Luck, it would be a huge A+. He is an amazing player with a bright future in the league.
The nightmare season of the Jaguars continues and I give them a C- for their performance against the Bills. The offense is just awful, but I cannot completely fault the team because the defense really did play well enough to win.
Kansas City Chiefs-A-
When you consider all the thing the franchise was dealing with it's hard to imagine a win, but they found a way. This was one of the best overall performances by this team for the entire season on both sides of the football. It just proves the talent is there, but the motivation to win is not.
The Dolphins had a chance to make a statement at home this past weekend, but the offense just didn't come to play. The defense played good but not great, but the offense was the real problem, failing to generate any sort of rhythm on their loss.
I am going to give the Vikings a C, but only because running back Adrian Peterson is so good. The rest of the team is just riding on his coat tails and they will only go as far as he can carry them. Even the defense is really under performing.
New England Patriots-B+
With the chance to clinch the AFC East, the Patriots did not disappoint. The offense was conservative yet efficient and the defense put the clamps on the Dolphins when they had to.
New Orleans Saints-D
The Saints get a D from me for this week and the season. Quarterback Drew Brees was picked off 5 times, and while the defense stood up strong at times, the team just looked lost. It's amazing how you can see just how much they miss head coach Sean Payton.
New York Giants-B-
It might seem silly to grade a team this high in a loss, but a 1 point loss to a team like the Redskins, led by quarterback Robert Griffin III is more about how good RGIII is, than any problems with the Giants. They moved the ball well and for the bulk of the game held the Redskins in check.
New York Jets-D-
The only thing that gives the Jets a passing grade is the fact they won. For the vast majority of this game the Jets looked worse than the Cardinals, and if not for the play of an underafted rookie quarterback Greg McElroy, they almost certainly lose.
I considered grading the Raiders a bit lower here but when you consider they had this game until the final drive, and if not for the combination of a terrible interception by quarterback Carson Palmer and an impressive drive by Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, they win this game.
Expectations for the Eagles have dipped nearly every week this season. So when they let the Cowboys go wild on them in a division loss, I didn't think as much about it as I would have a month ago. The Eagles are a mess, and things are not getting any better. The could have won this game, but there's just too many negative things going on with this squad right now to focus on the game.
I'm not sure if any pundits picked the Steelers to win this road matchup with the Ravens, but starting a 3rd string quarterback in a hostile environment the entire team including quarterback Charlie Batch made enough plays to win the game, and keep their playoff dream alive.
St. Louis Rams-A-
The Rams really impressed me this weekend. They took the 49ers to overtime for the 2nd time in the season and this time came out with a win instead of a tie. This might be the breakout game the Rams needed.
San Diego Chargers-C-
This Chargers team is just falling apart. Quarterback Philip Rivers is just chucking it downfield to no one that any other team wanted, running back Ryan Mathews is still struggling, and the defense is playing like a de-clawed cat. This week's loss really wasn't as close as the score.
San Francisco 49ers-C
In most circles experts consider the 49ers one of the best teams in the NFC. But on this week they got outplayed by the Rams. Some might grade this lower but it was such a huge swing on that turnover you have to give that considerable consideration.
I give the Seahawks a B+ for their big overtime win over the Bears. Quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch were huge in the win and wide receiver Sydney Rice up his body and paid for it on the game winner. The defense didn't play as well as they have, but it was good enough to win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-B-
The Buccaneers lost to the Broncos, but when you consider how good Denver is, you have to respect how close they came to beating them on the road. The run game stalled out, and they didn't help themselves in pass defense but they played about as well in a loss they could.
The Titans got manhandled by the Texans on both sides of the football. I can't grade them too terribly lose however, because I think with the amount of talent on this team they are probably playing about as well as can be expected.
I've been more than a little critical of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III this season especially compared to Luck, but this weekend he held serve with a game winning drive of his own. The Redskins weren't intimidated by the Giants vaunted defense and ran right at them all day. Big win for them for sure.