From the unbeatable Green Bay Packer to the almost winless Colts and all the way through “Tebow Time,” the 2011-2012 NFL regular season will go down as one for the ages. Each team went through their ups and their downs, whether it was the slow starting Denver Broncos to suddenly heat up and sneak into the playoffs, or the Buffalo Bills starting out as the cream of the crop then just crashing down the stretch. Each team has their story, now it’s time to grade their performance on the field.
Bills – F
After an extremely fast start, the Bills have fallen flat on their faces. Buffalo’s hopes were high after a 5-2 start, but the Bills proceeded to finish 1-8. The only win they had was against Tebow. Putting the Tebow game aside, it was Murphy’s Law being proved in Buffalo. In fairness to the Bills, after the quick start half of their team went on injured reserve.
Dolphins – C-
We need to acknowledge the sudden turnaround of the Dolphin’s season. After a 0-7 start, Miami finished 6-10. Matt Moore under center was the best thing to happen to the Dolphins this year, and I think that they may have found their QB of the future. Unfortunately, this season cost Tony Sparano his job, and I thought he was a legitimate NFL head coach. I hope he finds his way onto a contender and is back at the helm of an NFL team soon.
Patriots – A
Even though they don’t have any kind of defense at all, the Patriots still manages to get 13 wins and be ranked number 1 in the AFC. I mean come on… they had Julian Edelman playing linebacker AND safety. Their best defense is their offense, because it is always on the field. They can’t stop the run, or defend the pass. This leads me to believe that yet again, they will be a one-and-done in the playoffs this year. The Patriots still have a tremendous offense, but like the Colts this year, take the QB away and they are horrible.
Jets – D
To no one’s surprise, Sexy Lardicus Rex has a big mouth… again. But this time it came back to bite him. He guaranteed the Super Bowl, yet his team didn’t even make the playoffs, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that Sanchez is NOT the franchise QB. If I was Rex, I’d be worried about my job because he is now on the hot seat. His ground and pound offense did not work as advertised. It was awful. They were beat at their own game. They could not run the ball or stop the run. Look for major changes for the J-E-T-S.
Bengals – B-
The Bengals surprised everyone this year with a surprise playoff berth. Andy Dalton has progressed much faster than many had expected him to, and they have the next Calvin Johnson at receiver named AJ Green. The problem with Cincy is that they can’t beat anyone good. They have not beaten a playoff caliber team yet, and I predict that they will be a one and done after they play Houston this weekend.
All things aside, I think that they should change their theme song from welcome to the jungle to THIS
Browns – D
There is a saying OIC, meaning only in Cleveland. This is where a young unknown player shows a brief bit of talent, and then falls off completely. Peyton Hillis showed this in the 2011 season. After a phenomenal 2010 season, Hillis is full proof that the Madden Curse is alive and well. The problem with Hillis being out is that nothing else was working for Cleveland. For the Browns fans, this is the same old team they are used to seeing.
Ravens – A
The Ravens have the potential to be THE best team in the AFC. There… I said it! The problem is the inability to beat bad teams on the road. This is the fault of the coaching staff. Cam Cameron needs to call offensive plays that ACTUALLY WORK, and Harbaugh needs to game-plan better. Even with the horrible coaching, the Ravens have built up to be one of the best teams and a 12-4 record pretty much proves it. And for all of the Flacco-haters out there… he has the most wins of ANY QB in his first four years in the NFL. YOU HEAR THAT SKIP BAYLESS!?!?!?!?
Steelers – B+
As much as it pains me to give the Terrible Towel-a-ban a good grade, they are still among the top teams in the AFC. They Steelers always find a way to put a good defense on the field. While the D was stellar as ever, they failed to get any takeaways until they played Kansas City. The offense has picked up in the passing game with their young receivers. Age however, has caught up to them on defense, and within the next few years, most of their team will be gone or have retired.
Texans – A-
First of all, congratulations to the Texans on their first ever playoff berth, they have earned it. Somehow the Texans were able to recover from not 1, not 2, but three injured QBs this year. As crazy as this sound, 4 QBs have thrown TDs for them this year. Their running game is one of the best in the NFL. They have utilized both Arian Foster and Ben Tate to the best of their abilities, and it also helps to have a great defense even without its best player.
Colts – F
There is a disturbance in the force. Peyton Manning’s streak is over, and he hasn’t played for the Colts. They are an awful team without him. TV executives are jumping off bridges because of all of the primetime games they have wasted on the Colts this year. There was a time where they were worried about even winning a game. There has to be an explanation. I cannot explain it, but Jim Mora can!
The Jacksonville Jaguars this year were up and down, but mostly down. Their ups included a great defense, and MJD. Aside from that, injuries, and a horrible pass game were the center of their season. Their defense played excellent, until most of the players ended up injured. Blaine Gabbert showed that as a rookie, he does not have what it takes to be an NFL QB. Honestly, I think that David Blaine would make a better QB on this team.
Titans – C
The Titans are another team which saw 2011 as a year that COULD HAVE been. Coming into the season, the Titans had what I thought was one of the better teams. Unfortunately, an early injury to Kenny Britt severely damaged their passing game. It also didn’t help that Christ Johnson didn’t start producing until the season was almost over. Even with these things, the Titans were still a formidable opponent. Then, Matt Hasselbeck got hurt on several occasions. Well, that’s their season… disappointment and injuries.
Broncos – B-
Chiefs – C+
Despite the horrific start, being outscored 90-10, and the massive amounts of injuries, the Chiefs still put up a respectable season finishing 7-9. Not having their playmakers Charles and Berry absolutely killed them, and so did Todd Haley. Firing Haley and acquiring Orton were the smartest things that they did this year. Look for Romeo Crennel and Kyle Orton to lead them to a playoff berth next year.
Raiders – C+
My early favorite for the AFC west choked. There is nothing else to say about them. I could stop now, but I am contractually obligated to go on. Run DMC got hurt, and Nnamdi left. That killed their offence and pass defense. They let Tebow come back and beat them.
There’s nothing else for me to say, and I need to fill space… so here’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel
Chargers – C-
The definition of underachiever! Norv Turner and Phillip Rivers killed this team early, and Norv did the rest of the year. Yet again they did manage to catch lightning in the bottle in December, but fell short. Just think, if they won one more game, they’d be playing Pittsburgh on Sunday instead of Jesus/Tebow and the Broncos…
Cowboys – D
The Cowboys are another definition of choking. Tony Romo is a synonym. The Boys could have easily had 10 wins if not for Romo. They could have beaten the Lions and the Jets, and that means that the Giants AND Lions are nowhere near the playoff picture. After watching this year, it makes me so happy that the Ravens decided to get Harbaugh at HC instead of Jason Garrett.
Giants – B
Like their Super Bowl year, the Giants had a late season surge to just make the playoffs. What confuses me is how you can lose to the Deadskins… twice. How? Still, I’d rather see them in the playoffs than the other teams in that division, and I can see them making a nice run in the playoffs like the Packers did last year.
Eagles – D
Some dream team. We saw a glimpse of what they can do late in the season, as they won four straight games to finish strong, but it was too little too late. VY’s comments came back to bite him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was cut following this awful showing. What surprises me is how Andy Reid is going to have a job next year. We saw how inept he was this year will all of the talent on this team.
Redskins – F
Hail to the Deadskins,
We can’t score touchdowns,
We just take the three!
Run or pass and score, we need a lot more,
Mikey’s Shanahanagens help the other team’s score.
Gripe on, Gripe on, till Beck is back
Shame in Wash-ing-ton
Bad, Bad, Bad!
Hail to the Deadskins,
Let’s grab Dan Snyder
Hang him from a tree!
Bears – D+
Lions – A
The Lions came out and surprised everyone with a playoff berth. I have to say they really impressed me throughout this year. I like what Jim Schwartz has done with them this year, and making the playoffs will no longer be an unheard of accomplishment for this proud, yet horrible franchise.
Packers – A+
How could you not be on the Packer’s bandwagon this year? They started 13-0, and then lost to KC. I think Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL, but he’s not the MVP because of what Matt Flynn did with that same offense. Watching the Packers this year has been a lot of fun, but I believe that the Saints are the better team and will bounce them out in the NFC championship game.
Vikings – D-
I can summarize their team right now in one word: horrible. Other than AP and Jared Allen, there is NOTHING to like about this team, and now with Peterson hurt, I’m not sure how he’ll do next year. I have a very hard time believing he will be the same back he was. The only bright spot of this season was the nice flashes of play we saw from Joe Webb, the backup…
Falcons – B
The Falcons SHOULD be higher in the ranks, and have a few more wins. How can so many weapons underperform so badly? The slow start killed them. They could be so much better. After watching this season for the Falcons, I am happy that the Ravens drafted Flacco and didn’t get Ryan.
Panthers – C
Ok, I don’t want to go on a rant against Cam Newton. I really don’t feel like it, but I will. He’s another Tebow, a RB with an arm. He won’t be successful in the long term, teams will figure out the gimmick. Now what will make the Panthers a good team in the future is the defense will be getting healthy next year. Sadly, Drew Brees is in their division, and it’s going to be a long, long time until they can win.
Saints – A
Such high hopes at the start of the season, and a good start only to go downhill overnight. After starting the season 4-2 in first place, they proceeded to lose 10 straight games. Pathetic! Raceme Morris deserved to be fired for that debacle.
Cardinals – C+
Kevin Kolb may have been the worst offseason acquisition this year. Without him playing, John Skelton just so happened to lead the Cardinals to 8 wins, and then sneak into the playoff race in the end. It’s amazing how after winning losing to Baltimore, they went 7-2.
Rams – F+
So they beat the Saints and fired their coach. That’s about it for the Rams this year. They are just another one of those bad teams. Last year it looked as if they had something special in Sam Bradford, and it seems that he has taken a major step back as of late.
49ers – A
First year head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has turned this team completely around. Alex Smith has gone from a huge bust to a serviceable QB. He can’t win games for them, but he won’t lose them. Does that remind you of a certain QB that the Ravens had in their Super Bowl year? Let’s not forget that amazing defense. Redskin fans are wondering why Carlos Rodgers has suddenly decided to get some hands that don’t drop every pass. There is not weakness in that defense, and it will be more than a match for any team in the playoffs.
Seahawks – C+
BEAST MODE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all that needs to be said about the Seahawks. If the lockout didn’t happen, they would be a 10 win team. They have a good young defense and a fast west coast offense. Let’s not forget about Marshawn Beast Mode Lynch! They WILL contend in the near future. That is a fact.