The 2009 NFL regular season is a quarter of the way through. After four weeks we are starting to see the contenders separate from the pretenders. Today is report card day for the NFC. Let’s take a look at some teams on the Dean’s List and some teams who are worthy of a big fat “F” for fail.
There are several different components I take into account in grading the teams. The first is overall won/lose record. The second is quality of competition and how teams played up or down to their competition. Third, are these teams over or under achieving based on pre season projections and analysis? Fourth, I take into account coaching and how well teams have been prepared and whether any coaches have made decisions that won or lost games. Fifth, overall individual efforts from team players are definitely taken into consideration in both positive and negative grades. With that said, let’s hand out the NFL First Quarter Report Cards for the NFC.
Dean’s List –
New York Giants
I know, the Saints and Vikings are undefeated but the Giants are in a completely different class. Both the Vikings and Saints have won big games, but the Giants have dominated. The Giants have won in Dallas and Arrow Head which are both terribly difficult places to play. The Giants offense is back to being multi-dimensional with many different receivers stepping up. I just think whether all teams are undefeated or not, the Giants are in a class all by themselves thus far.
Grade A –
New Orleans Saints
Both teams are undefeated and deserve a lot of credit for this. It doesn.t matter who it is, but for the Vikings to plug a brand new quarterback in and win out thus far is impressive. Both teams have played up to their competition and won some incredibly close games. The only thing separating the Saints from the Dean’s List is that both teams have struggled at times on offense and defense, where the Giants have hit on all cylinders. The Saints need a little more consistency on defense before I am ready to anoint them in the same class as the Giants. Great win by the Vikings on Monday, but not enough for the Dean’s List.
Grade B –
San Francisco 49ers
All of these teams are one loss away from an A mark. The one common denominator here has been questionable defense. The 49ers have been more consistent, yet still gave up critical points to the Vikings. The Bears just allowed close to 30 points Sunday from the Lions. The Eagles have looked great against subpar opponents, but may or may not have been exposed against Drew Brees and the Saints. The Falcons are a nice, steady team but the loss in New England reminded me why they weren.t the pre season favorite to win the NFC South. Additionally, their defense is terrible and ranked 30th overall at this point in time.The other common denominator here is that all three of these teams had high expectations coming into 2009. So far, the jury is out on whether any of these teams can come up big when it counts. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see two of these teams move up and two move down at the halfway point.
Grade C –
Green Bay Packers
The Lions may seem like the odd team out here with a 1-3 record. However, the Lions have played consistent football all season. They have hung in there with everyone and are playing at a very high level of football. This is a team that could turn into a major spoiler come December.
Grade D –
The Seahawks are a tough one, because they are missing their franchise quarterback. At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots last year show that there is life after your franchise quarterback if you do the things you need to do to win. The Seahawks were embaressed Sunday against the Colts and Jim Mora looked just as clueless on the sidelines as he did in Atlanta.
The Redskins are a whole story in itself. They have the honor of being the first team in a season and a half to lose to Detroit. The coaching has been just God awful at times. Particularly, in the Detroit game. Jason Campbell looks like he has regressed since last season. Jim Zorn is in way over his head. The Redskins had to fight for a win Sunday against winless Tampa Bay. This team is a disaster is on the borderline of turning into the biggest laughing stock in the NFL.
Grade F –
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
St. Louis Rams
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