It's Week 9 of the 2010 National Football League season, which means we're officially at the midway point.
That can only mean one thing. It's time for Professor Aragon to hand out some midterm grades. No one relates to earning a wide variety of grades like I do, so I'm suited to giving them out.
It has certainly been a strange NFL season. No team deserves a straight "A," not when the league didn't have a single team win its first four games for the first time since 1970. There are quite a few "B" and B-plus teams and, of course, some failures.
Here are the grades:
Patriots (A-): Don't they remind you of their 2001, 2003 and 2004 Super Bowl teams? Tom Brady spreads it around to an average receiving corps. The defense isn't dominant but makes plays when it needs to. They have the NFL's best record and may be the team to beat.
Chiefs (A-): They are the surprise team of the 2010 NFL season. They feature an exciting player in Jamaal Charles and could take a huge lead in the AFC West with a win today over the Raiders.
Colts (B+): It seems that you could pick five random guys out of downtown Salt Lake City, put them in Peyton Manning's offense and the Colts would still win 10 games.
Ravens (B+): They haven't been all that dominant, and they allowed the hapless Bills to score 34 points on them. But they are 5-2, and you can't argue with that.
Steelers (B+): They were playing better before quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension, but they've been dealing with key injuries on defense.
Giants (B+): They seem to have fixed the problems that plagued them in blowout back-to-back losses to the Colts and Titans. One thing is for certain about this team: it puts opposing quarterbacks in danger.
Packers (B+): Numerous injuries haven't derailed them. Losses to the Redskins and Bears were bad, but they've rebounded with an emotional win over the Vikings, and a stellar defensive effort against the Jets.
Raiders (B+): Not the laughingstock of the league anymore. Running back Darren McFadden and their defense are playing superbly, and they could make some noise in the AFC West with a win today.
Buccaneers (B+): Another team with a chance to make a statement today. They have an outstanding QB for the future in Josh Freeman.
Rams (B+): Speaking of quarterbacks for the future, they have theirs in Sam Bradford. Partly because of how lousy the NFC West is, they have a legitimate shot at winning their division.
Jets (B): How does a team with LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller fail to score a point at home? Other than that, they've been pretty good.
Titans (B): Outside of a head-scratching home loss to the Broncos, they've been fairly solid. With the addition of Randy Moss, they're a contender in the AFC.
Falcons (B): Like a handful of other teams, they're outstanding at home and average on the road. But it's hard to take them too seriously after they were handled by the Eagles .
Dolphins (B-): They're in a class of their own when it comes to playing at home (0-3) and on the road (4-0). Just think where they'd be if they could handle their business at home.
Texans (B-): After an outstanding start, it's hard to envision them as a contender. The Cowboys beat them. That says it all.
Eagles (B-): Playing musical quarterbacks is never good, and they'll surely settle on Michael Vick if he stays healthy.
Browns (C+): They've been in every game except for a loss to the Steelers. They're feisty, as they showed in a win over the Saints, and Eric Mangini is coaching for his job the rest of the way.
Jaguars (C+): Their grade should probably be lower but they are 4-4. Just an inconsistent nightmare: they beat the Colts, yet lost to the Titans by 27 and to the Eagles and Chargers each by 25.
Redskins (C+): They always compete, which is good. What's not good is coach Mike Shanahan pulling Donovan McNabb late in a game and questioning his cardiovascular endurance. How do you fix that?
Saints (C+): They've played great in two games. They've played average or lousy in the other six.
Seahawks (C+): Perhaps no other team in the league is as different at home and on the road. They've had three solid wins at home and have been blown out by the Raiders, Rams and Broncos on the road.
Bears (C): Their winning record is deceiving. They've lost three of four and have plenty of problems to fix.
Lions (C): Watch out for the Lions, especially at Ford Field. They've competed in every one of their games.
Cardinals (C): They're still trying to find consistent quarterback play. If they do, they could win the division.
Bengals (D): Carson Palmer is done. Chad Ochocinco is almost done. It's time to start over.
Chargers (D+): Their record (3-5) is unacceptable considering they're ranked No. 1 in total offense and total defense. They still have time to pull it together, but they've dug themselves a hole.
Panthers (D): Poor Steve Smith. He should be playing for a contender in his final seasons.
Broncos (D): It's stunning how far they've fallen compared to last year at this time. They're 4-12 in their last 16 games.
49ers (D-): They would probably be the league's most disappointing team if not for the Vikings and Cowboys. But as I've said with every other team in the NFC West, they're still in the division race.
Bills (D-): They try hard, which is more than you can say for the Cowboys. But trying hard isn't good enough in pro sports.
Vikings (F): Brett Favre came back for this? The Moss situation ended up as a big waste — and especially a waste of a third-round pick.
Cowboys (F-): They were close to finished before Tony Romo got hurt. Jon Kitna seals the deal.
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