You may recall that six weeks ago, we took a look at how the 32 teams in the NFL had graded after the opening six weeks of the season.
Well, as we have now just passed Week 12 of the NFL season, now is the perfect time to give you an update on those grades based on their performances from Week 7 through to Week 12 inclusive.
As you may also recall, I made a number of predictions for who would win each division in the NFL ahead of the season and it is interesting to note that while a number of these predictions are bang on the money, there are some that have sprung a real surprise (Vikings anybody?).
After a dramatic opening weekend, the drama has continued to mount each week of the NFL with some classic encounters, incredible games, amazing results with teams defying the odds and improving beyond all recognition, while others have seemingly fallen off a cliff with their performances.
As always, you can enjoy plenty of pre-game betting on the NFL with bet365 Sport every week of the regular and post-season and remember that the site also offers extensive In Play betting options when the games kick off too.
Let’s now take a look at how things stand in the NFL as we head towards the final third of the season with a look at the standings in each of the eight divisions, before we move on to giving you our updated grades for each team so far this season.
Current NFL Standings – Up to 30th November 2022
|NFC North||NFC West||NFC East||NFC South|
|AFC North||AFC West||AFC East||AFC South|
Let’s now explain how the grading system works for each team.
Our Grading System
The grading system uses the well known Grade system from A-F as outlined below:
- A – Excellent – The team is performing superbly well.
- B – Good – The team is doing better than expected
- C – Average – The team is about where we thought they’d be at the season start.
- D – Below Average – The team has a slightly worse record than expected
- E – Poor – A team has had a significantly worse performance than expected
- F – Awful – This team look like they have given up on the season already.
In addition to the stated grade, teams can also be given a + or – for each grade to allow for greater differentiation, for example a C+ is slightly above average, while a C- is slightly below average.
Let’s now look at how teams’ grade at Week 12 (2nd Semester) and how that compares to their Week 6 (1st Semester) grading.
NFL 2nd Semester Report
- Minnesota Vikings (9-2) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester – A
A fantastic win over the Bills was followed by a thrashing by the Cowboys which is the only reason the Vikes do not get an A+ here. Even so, they are dominating the AFC North and look a lock in to be one of the teams to avoid in the NFC playoffs this season. Justin Jefferson is a cheat code.
- Green Bay Packers (4-8) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester – F
Can you believe how poor the Packers have become? The number 1 seeds in the NFC last season now look likely to have to win out in order to stand a chance of the playoffs and with Aaron Rodgers injured and the team out of sorts, that looks very unlikely to happen.
- Chicago Bears (3-9) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester – E
As a team, the Bears are struggling but the one bright spot has been the play of quarterback Justin Fields. He was sorely missed when injured last week but his individual performances have been superb. It’s a pity the rest of the team cannot seem to match those levels.
- Detroit Lions (4-7) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester – B+
The Lions went on a three-game winning streak in the middle of the season and there has been significant improvement from Dan Campbell’s team, especially on defense. They now need to turn some of these close losses into wins to make the next step but this is very encouraging for Lions fans.
With four wins and one loss in their last five, the San Francisco 49ers have taken control of the NFC West and it’s no coincidence that since Jimmy Garoppolo took over at QB that things have improved. With that defense now firing on all cylinders, I expect the 49ers to clinch this division.
- San Francisco 49ers (7-4) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester – A-
- Los Angeles Rams (3-8) – 1st Semester E+, 2nd Semester – F
The Super Bowl holders have been woeful over the last six weeks, losing all five games played and now with injuries to key players like Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp, this Rams team could be one of the worst currently playing in the NFC. That’s a huge come down from last season’s success.
- Seattle Seahawks (6-5) – 1st Semester B+, 2nd Semester B
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks continue to defy predictions that they would struggle a lot this season as they remain in second spot in the NFC West just a game behind the leaders. Geno Smith is having his best NFL year as he carried this team on his shoulders very well.
- Arizona Cardinals (4-8) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester D-
The Cardinals have lost double the amount of games they have played over the first 12 weeks of the season and there’s no doubt that they have underperformed for a team with as much talent that it has on both sides of the ball.
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester A
The Eagles may have lost a game to the Commanders, but they are still the team that has been the best in the NFL this season. Jalen Hurts is an MVP contender and they look one of the best balanced teams in the NFL. A place in the playoffs will be guaranteed within the next few weeks for sure.
- New York Giants (7-4) – 1st Semester A+, 2nd Semester C+
A great start to the season for the Giants has tapered off a little but they are still performing better than expected. You can see that this team is growing and they are still very much in with a chance of playoff football, if they can continue to pick up wins over the last six weeks of the season.
- Dallas Cowboys (8-3) – 1st Semester B+, 2nd Semester A
Four wins and one defeat in their five games since week six have moved the Cowboys into real contention for the playoffs and with this explosive defense now being complemented by a smoother and dangerous offense, this has been an impressive spell for Dallas.
- Washington Commanders (7-5) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester A-
The Commanders won five and lost just one of their six games since Week 6 and that fantastic form has pushed them into contention for the playoffs despite still lying in fourth spot in the ultra competitive NFC East. This record would be enough to be top of the NFC South.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) – 1st Semester D, 2nd Semester D
The Buccaneers season improved slightly in that they took back top spot in the NFC South but there is no doubt that Tom Brady and company are under-achieving in what looks like one of the weakest divisions in the NFL.
- Atlanta Falcons (5-7) – 1st Semester A-, 2nd Semester C
Arthur Smith’s Falcons weren’t expected to do much this season so the fact they are still second in the NFC South, half a game behind the Bucs is still a positive, but they still do not really look like a genuine playoff contender.
- New Orleans Saints (4-8) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester D+
The Saints struggles in the post Sean Payton era continue with a poor run of results. Taysom Hill has been about the only bright spark on a Saints offense this season which has once again been hit by injuries and poor form.
- Carolina Panthers (4-8) – 1st Semester F, 2nd Semester B-
HC Matt Rhule was fired, Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson traded away as the Panthers seemed set to bin the season. Only this new look Panthers have showed real spirit to win three games over the past six weeks. There’s lots of issues to resolve in Carolina but performances are improving.
- Baltimore Ravens (7-4) – 1st Semester D+, 2nd Semester B-
I was probably a little too harsh on the Ravens in the first semester so I’ve balanced that by being perhaps a little too generous here. The Ravens are about where they should be, but until they can lose the habit of losing close games late on, they may struggle to improve further.
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – 1st Semester D, 2nd Semester A
The Bengals were 0-2 at the start of this season but have won seven of their next nine, a number of those without the services of Jamarr Chase or Joe Mixon. That is an outstanding effort by Joe Burrow and the Bengals who are now back in contention for top spot in the AFC North.
- Cleveland Browns (4-7) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester D+
As Jacoby Brissett likely bows out as starter for the Browns this week, he’ll reflect on another disappointing six-week period where the Browns lost more than they won. Can the controversial DeShaun Watson improve things? That’s what he’s been paid big money to do.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester C+
I fully expected the Steelers season to implode when they turned to their rookies, but Kenny Pickett and George Pickens have started to make major contributions alongside Najee Harris in recent weeks. It’s still not perfect but it’s an improvement on the first six weeks of the season.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester A
Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes continue to drive the Chiefs onwards. Travis Kelce has become Mahomes star target in the red zone and the Chiefs keep finding ways to win games. This team looks set to go on to claim the number 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs at this rate.
- Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester D+
Chargers fans will be a little baffled by their team’s up and down start to the season hence the low mark here. This is a supremely talented team that should be two wins closer to the Chiefs. The fact they aren’t with that talent on the roster is a concern.
- Denver Broncos (3-8) – 1st Semester D-, 2nd Semester F
The Broncos are locked in to Russell Wilson for a ton of money and the next seven years but with the. QB struggling to get anything going on offense, this Broncos team looks set for another miserable season as they cannot score enough points.
- Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) – 1st Semester E+, 2nd Semester C-
After a dismally slow start the Raiders improved somewhat in the mid part of the season. Josh McDaniels team are still well off the pace they should be setting but the signs are that this offense is finally coming to life in recent weeks as results have improved.
- Buffalo Bills (8-3) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester B
The Bills have suffered one or two more losses than you would think for a team with this talent and although they are still winning the majority of their games, teams are now pushing them hard and that lock in first place in the AFC East is now no longer a certainty.
- New York Jets (7-4) – 1st Semester A, 2nd Semester B+
Robert Saleh’s coaching job in turning the Jets around from a losing franchise, to a winning is hugely impressive. He made a brave call benching Justin Wilson and it worked and the Jets defense is one of the best units in the NFL and will only get better.
- Miami Dolphins (8-3) – 1st Semester B-, 2nd Semester A
A fantastic six weeks saw the Dolphins win all five of their games and Tua Tagovailoa return from injury to post some outstanding numbers. With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle dominating at wide receiver, the Dolphins are the top team in the East for now.
- New England Patriots (6-5) – 1st Semester B, 2nd Semester B-
New England have dealt with quarterback injuries well and have kept themselves in contention in a tough AFC East. That’s a pretty decent feat given some of the opponents in this division.
- Tennessee Titans (7-4) – 1st Semester C, 2nd Semester B+
The Titans defense has quietly emerged as one of the best in the NFL this season and they are chiefly responsible for the Titans taking a big lead in the South. It’s been a solid middle part of the season for Tennessee.
- Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) – 1st Semester D- , 2nd Semester E-
Frank Reich was fired, Jeff Saturday appointed, Matt Ryan dropped, then reinstated and despite all the chopping and changing, the Colts are still underperforming massively for a team expected to challenge in the AFC South this year.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester C
Could we finally be seeing Trevor Lawrence start to fulfil his NFL potential? Jags fans will hope that is the case after some encouraging performances from their QB in recent weeks. It’s not been a great year for the Jags but four wins out of 11 is progress of sorts.
- Houston Texans (1-9-1) – 1st Semester C-, 2nd Semester E
Solid rookie performances have been the sole bright spot of another dismal season for the Texans. However, they are stacked with early picks in the 2023 and maybe then things will start to improve. We knew they’d struggle but perhaps not quite this much.
Remember to check back upon the completion of the regular season when we will review the final third of the season, give you our grades and each team’s overall grade for the regular season, as well as a look ahead to the Playoffs!