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NFL Third Semester Reports – How Have The 32 Teams Performed This Season?

Over the course of the current NFL season, we have graded the performances of the teams after around one third of matches.

We then repeated that around six weeks later after two-thirds of matches in the regular season had been played.

Now we are going to take a look at how the teams have performed over the final third of the season and there have been some stunning improvements in performance from some, while other teams have seen their performances fall off a cliff.

You can also check back to when I made my predictions for who would win each division if you like, to see how well I did!

Of course, now we have reached the end of the regular season, it is now time for the playoffs, and I have brought you all the playoff details you need, as well as predictions for all six of this week’s Super Wildcard Weekend games!

As usual, I have used odds from bet365 Sport for these bets, given that the company offers some of the best American Football betting you will find throughout the season and into the post-season.

So let’s begin with a look at how things stood in the NFL after the final week of the season, Week 18, had been completed.

NFL Final Standings – Week 18

NFC North NFC West NFC East NFC South 
AFC North AFC West AFC East AFC South 

*Bills and Bengals only played 16 games due to their week 17 clash being postponed.

Divisional Champions are in bold, playoff qualified teams in italics.

NFL 3rd Semester Report & Overall Season Grade

NFC North

  • Minnesota Vikings (13-4) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester – A, 3rd Semester – A-

The Vikings had a couple of blips, including a big loss to Green Bay over the final third of the season but they cemented the NFC North quickly and landed the third seed spot in the NFC. How well they go in the playoffs will be interesting to see.

Overall Season Grade – A – The season couldn’t have gone much better for Vikings fans.

  • Green Bay Packers (8-9) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester – F, 3rd Semester – B+

The Packers finally found some form after a dismal middle third of the season, but a loss in their final game to Detroit saw their playoff hopes evaporate and speculation that Aaron Rodgers may elect to call it a day. Significant upgrades are needed on offense in 2023.

Overall Season Grade – D+ – A poor season for the Pack. A key off-season in 2023 looms.

  • Chicago Bears (3-14) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester – E, 3rd Semester – F

The only positive to come out of this season for the Bears was the emergence of Justin Fields as a genuine duel-threat QB. However, there is so little talent around him that the Bears ended up with the first pick in the draft. They’ve got a big decision with what to do with that in a QB-heavy draft pool.

Overall Season Grade -F – Justin Fields needs plenty of support to turn things around for the Bears.

  • Detroit Lions (9-8) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester – B+, 3rd Semester – A-

After a slow start, the Lions produced over the last 2/3rds of the season and just missed out on the playoffs. That is a huge improvement for this team under Dan Campbell, who should be a contender for coach of the year. I think this young team has a real chance of playoff football next season.

Overall Season Grade – A- – The Lions are vastly improved since the start of the season.

NFC West

  • San Francisco 49ers (13-4) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester – A-, 3rd Semester – A+

After a somewhat indifferent start to the season, the 49ers have arguably been the best team in the NFL since Week 8. Hard to fault a team that has won every game despite being down to its third string QB, who was Mr Irrelevant in the 2022 Draft.

Overall Season Grade – A – 49ers look more than capable of Super Bowl success.

  • Los Angeles Rams (5-12) – 1st Semester E+, 2nd Semester – F, 3rd Semester – E-

The Rams put up the worst season following a Super Bowl win of any team in 2022 and although they battled hard in the final third of the season, the results still did not go their way. Sean McVay has plenty to ponder for next season, as do a number of their star players.

Overall Season Grade – E- – A shockingly poor year for the injury hit Rams.

  • Seattle Seahawks (9-8) – 1st Semester B+, 2nd Semester B, 3rd Semester – B+

They may not be the most consistent teams, but the Seahawks have picked up results consistently throughout the season and came up trumps in overtime against the Rams to claim the win they needed for playoff football. That was probably unexpected at the start of the year.

Overall Season Grade – B+ – I expected the Seahawks to struggle, they reached the playoffs. Enough said!

  • Arizona Cardinals (4-13) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester D-, 3rd Semester – F

Kliff Kingsbury was fired on Black Monday after the Cardinals failed to post a win in any of their last six games. Given the talent on this team, that is an incredibly poor performance for a team that should be nearer the 0.500 mark at the very least.

Overall Season Grade – F – Worrying times in Arizona after this dismal season.

NFC East

  • Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester A, 3rd Semester – A-

A couple of defeats when Jalen Hurts was out injured stops the Eagles from picking up a third straight A grade, but they got the wins they need to win their division and lock up the NFC top seed spot. Now can they convert in the playoffs? They look to be the 49ers main challengers for the NFC title.

Overall Season Grade – A – I expected the Eagles to be strong, but they outperformed even those expectations.

  • New York Giants (9-7-1) – 1st Semester A+, 2nd Semester C+, 3rd Semester – B+

Brian Daboll has done a fantastic job to bring Playoff football back to the Giants. They found things tough after a solid start, but picked up enough wins to maintain their playoff hopes and in the end qualified with a week to spare. After several years in the doldrums, this was a very positive year for Giants fans.

Overall Season Grade – B+ – Playoff football is coming to the Big Apple and deservedly so.

  • Dallas Cowboys (12-5) – 1st Semester B+, 2nd Semester A, 3rd Semester – B+

A very solid season from Dallas, especially in the middle weeks, but they have lost a few games that showed a few weakspots in the offense which may hurt them in the playoffs. However, the defense does look ready to challenge for a Super Bowl.

Overall Season Grade – B+ – A super-talented defense could be Dallas’ best chance of playoff success.

  • Washington Commanders (8-8-1) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester A- , 3rd Semester C-

The Commanders finish with a record good enough to win the NFC South, but one that sees them finish last in the NFC East. Ron Rivera’s team had a hit and miss final third of the season but showed against Dallas that there’s plenty of talent going forward.

Overall Season Grade – B- – The Commanders performed better than expected this year in a super-tough division.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9) – 1st Semester D, 2nd Semester D, 3rd Semester C

Post-season football will be coming to Tampa once again, but it is fair to say that the season has been disappointing in one of the weaker divisions of the NFL, the Bucs below 0.500 season is a huge step back for a team that seems set to struggle even with Tom Brady as QB.

Overall Season Grade – C – Playoff football was the minimum requirement and they were somewhat lucky to get it.

  • Atlanta Falcons (7-10) – 1st Semester A-, 2nd Semester C, 3rd Semester – C

It’s been one step forward, one back for the Falcons this season but the future holds promise after three rookies stepped up in the final game of the season to beat the Bucs. That paints a rosier picture for this team going forward and means the season was a developmental one for Falcons fans.

Overall Season Grade – B- – Allgeier, Ridder and London along with Pitts are the positives to come from this season.

  • New Orleans Saints (7-10) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester D+, 3rd Semester – B-

A mixed season in many ways, injuries have hit the team hard this year and it was always going to be one of transition from Sean Payton, but a 7-10 record is about fair for their efforts this year. However, a big off-season is required to turn them into contenders once again.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – The Saints probably slightly under-achieved this season, but they have shown signs of a spark.

  • Carolina Panthers (7-10) – 1st Semester F, 2nd Semester B-, 3rd Semester – B-

After a poor start to the season and the sacking of Matt Rhule, the Panthers played their best football from thereon finishing with the same record as two other NFC South opponents and landing some key wins in that period. There’s a lot of work to be done in rebuilding the franchise, but some foundations are in place.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – Steve Wilks deserves to be head coach after overseeing a huge improvement in performance despite losing Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers.  

AFC North

  • Baltimore Ravens (10-7) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester B-, 3rd Semester C

Injuries once again didn’t help the Ravens in the final weeks of the season. Playoff football was achieved but given how banged up this team is, I can’t see their interest in the playoffs lasting beyond this week’s Wildcard game against the Bengals.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – Defensively excellent all season long, the issues are with injuries to the offense which stymied their chances of winning the North.

  • Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) – 1st Semester D, 2nd Semester A, 3rd Semester A+

The Bengals look bang on track to go deep into the playoff this season after a fantastic finish to the season, all coming after a 0-2 start. Unbeaten in their last eight, with Ja’Marr Chase coming back from injury just in time for the playoffs, this Bengals team has had another successful year.

Overall Season Grade – A – As the Rams showed, repeating the success of a previous season isn’t easy but the Bengals look to be on their way to doing that.

  • Cleveland Browns (7-10) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester D+, 3rd Semester C-

Deshaun Watson’s return saw the Browns improve a little on their previous performances this season, but there’s no doubt Browns fans will be expecting more, much more from their big investment of this season. The pressure will be on Watson next year for sure.

Overall Season Grade – D+ – The playoffs were never likely with Watson missing for 12 weeks of the season, but they will be expected next year given the investment in the former Texans QB.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester C+, 3rd Semester A-

The return of TJ Watt to the defence and the Steelers young offense finding a rhythm contributed to a late season surge, another winning season and almost an unexpected spot in the playoffs. Mike Tomlin will feel his team have come a very long way since week one of the season.

Overall Season Grade – B – Nobody gave the Steelers much of a chance this season and it is fair to say they performed better than many expected, especially in the latter half of the campaign.

AFC West

  • Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester A, 3rd Semester A

The Chiefs continued their excellent form from the second part of the season into the third and wrapped up top seed in the AFC, although they still may have to play their Conference Championship game, if reached, on a neutral venue. Even so, it was another masterclass season from Mahomes & Co.

Overall Season Grade – A – Even minus Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs are still the team to beat in the AFC.

  • Los Angeles Chargers (10-7) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester D+, 3rd Semester B+

The Chargers improved over the final third of the season to lock up a playoff spot, but I did expect this team to do much better than they did in terms of their record. However, they will be a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – I expected more from a very talented Chargers team, but maybe they can show their qualities in the playoffs.

  • Denver Broncos (5-12) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester F, 3rd Semester E+

A team many felt were primed for a Super Bowl run, or at least the playoffs, never got their season going as Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense struggled in most games. Unsurprisingly a new head coach will be in place for 2023/24.

Overall Season Grade – F – A complete disaster of a season for the Broncos and the incoming head coach is going to have a hell of a job to fire up this offense in particular.

  • Las Vegas Raiders (6-11) – 1st Semester E+, 2nd Semester C-, 3rd Semester E+

Derek Carr seems to be carrying the can for the Raiders poor season, after being dropped on Week 17. However, the Raiders woes this season go deeper than just the QB and the team faces some crucial decisions this off-season if they are to bounce back.

Overall Season Grade – E+ – Josh McDaniel will have been expected to deliver more than a 6-11 record. Derek Carr’s replacement now needs to be found and who that is will be the crucial decision of the 2023/24 off season.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills (13-3) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester B, 3rd Semester – A+

The end of season run saw the Bills end strongly, even despite the horrific cardiac arrest suffered by Damar Hamlin against the Bengals. How they coped with that and dealt with the situation was outstanding, alongside their results over the final third of the campaign.

Overall Season Grade – A – A strong campaign with a dramatic and worrying ending, which the Bills came through with dignity. They look well set for a Super Bowl run this year.

  • New York Jets (7-10) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester B+, 3rd Semester – E

After such a good first two thirds of the season, the Jets season fell away chiefly due to their issues on offense, especially at the QB position. That undid a lot of great work by the Jets earlier in the season which is a shame as they deserved a better finish than they achieved.

Overall Season Grade – C – A poor final third of the season takes this grade right down. Robert Saleh has sorted the Jets defense, now he needs to find an answer to their stuttering offense.

  • Miami Dolphins (9-8) – 1st Semester B-, 2nd Semester A, 3rd Semester – E-

The wheels fell off the Dolphins bus over the final six weeks of the season as the Dolphins lost five in a row and only squeaked into the playoffs after beating the Jets narrowly and the Pats losing on the final day. It’s playoff football for sure, but the Dolphins would have wanted to be better.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – After their major investment in the pre-season in 2022, the Dolphins would have expected the playoffs, but they should have qualified more comfortably than they did.

  • New England Patriots (8-9) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester B-, 3rd Semester – D+

Bill Belichick has said he intends to come back next season, but whether Mac Jones will be his starting QB remains to be seen. The Patriots offensive woes have been a major issue all season long, which is a pity as their defense is one of the very best in the league.

Overall Season Grade – C+ – The Patriots defense brings this mark up as it was they who almost took New England to the playoffs. The offense needs a major upgrade in 2023/24.

AFC South

  • Tennessee Titans (7-10) – 1st Semester C, 2nd Semester B+, 3rd Semester – F

The Titans went from being one win over the Jags to claim a playoff spot, to missing out altogether after a dismal end to the season, losing seven straight. Mike Vrabel has already sacked four coaches and he needs to look at his options on offense as the Titans did not beat an opponent with a record better than 0.500 all season long.

Overall Season Grade – E+ – The Titans run defense was excellent but their offense suffered horribly at times and in a very weak division, this was a very poor showing from Tennessee.

  • Indianapolis Colts (4-12-1) – 1st Semester D- , 2nd Semester E-, 3rd Semester – F

It’s fair to say that the Colts dismal end to the season was unsurprising. I can remember them tanking to claim Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft. I expect a new Head Coach to be in place soon and for the Colts to seriously consider trading with the Bears for the number 1 pick in the draft to nab Bryce Young ahead of the Texans. That may be the only positive from this season.

Overall Season Grade – F – A season to forget for the Colts. The Matt Ryan experiment failed, the Jeff Saturday appointment was baffling and their defense underperformed.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester C, 3rd Semester – A+

What a stunning turnaround for the Jacksonville Jaguars who stormed back to relevance with 7 wins in their last eight games, including two over the Titans, to claim the AFC South title for the first time in 20 years. Doug Petersen has done a fantastic job over the second half of the campaign,

Overall Season Grade – A- – From worst in the NFL to AFC South Champions. That is a fantastic season by anyone’s standards, even in the NFL’s weakest division.

  • Houston Texans (3-12-1) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester E, 3rd Semester – C+

Lovie Smith’s departure was expected and the fact his team beat the Colts in their season-ending game means the Texans do not get the 1st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Was that Lovie’s final gesture of defiance to the team management? Who knows? But it opens the door for the Texans to be beaten to the top QB prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft, which is a concern.

Overall Season Grade – D- – Another season of struggle from the Texans but we knew it was coming. The Rookies were a positive and with more picks this year, the Texans should make big strides in 2023/24.

NFL 2022/23 Playoff Details

NFC Seedings

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – 14-3 – Bye for Week 1 of the Playoffs
  2. San Francisco 49ers – 13-4
  3. Minnesota Vikings – 13-4
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8=9
  5. Dallas Cowboys – 12-5
  6. New York Giants – 9-7-1
  7. Seattle Seahawks – 9-8

AFC Seedings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs* – 14-3 – Bye for Week 1 of the Playoffs
  2. Buffalo Bills* – 13-3
  3. Cincinnati Bengals* – 12-4
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars – 9-8
  5. Los Angeles Chargers – 10-7
  6. Baltimore Ravens – 10-7
  7. Miami Dolphins – 9-8

*Bills and Bengals played just 16 games after their Week 17 clash was postponed.

NFL Super Wildcard Weekend Playoff Fixtures & Moneyline Tips

  • Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers – 49ers to win (2/11)

Prediction – Seahawks 17-35 49ers

  • Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Chargers to win (20/23)

Prediction – Chargers 27-24 Jaguars (OT)

  • Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills – Bills to win (2/13)

Prediction – Dolphins 10-38 Bills

  • New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings – Vikings to win (20/33)

Prediction – Giants 28-31 Vikings

  • Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals – Bengals to win (20/61)

Prediction – Ravens 13-31 Bengals

  • Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cowboys to win (4/6)

Prediction – Cowboys 21-13 Buccaneers

All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing, but may have changed in the meantime.

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