The majority of the NFL teams reached the midway point of their schedule last week or will arrive there this Sunday.
Here are the midseason grades:
• AFC EAST •
1. New England (6-2) — The Patriots are who we thought they would be. Early panic set in after their loss to Detroit to fall to 1-2, but Brady is still Brady and Belichick is still Belichick. The AFC road to the Super Bowl still goes through New England. Grade — A-
2. Miami (4-4) — The Dolphins win this year’s prize as the best of the rest in the AFC East. They are nothing really special. To be .500 with Brock Osweiler starting three games, though, tells me this team could be better with some quarterbacking. Grade — B-.
3. New York Jets (3-5) — The Jets just don’t have a whole lot of talent. Rookie Sam Darnold has had his moments, but they’re a tough team to watch. Grade — C+.
4. Buffalo (2-6) — Why did the Bills ever get rid of quarterback Tyrod Taylor? Their offense is unbearable to watch. Not that bad on defense. Grade — D+.
• AFC NORTH •
1. Pittsburgh (4-2-1) — The Steelers were my pick to win the Super Bowl, but that’s when I thought Le’Veon Bell would report at the end of training camp. They’re getting better, but they’re not the team I thought before the season. Grade — B-.
2. Cincinnati (5-3) — The Bengals bungled against Kansas City, but have looked good otherwise. An overachiever. Grade — B+.
3. Baltimore (4-4) — This is pretty much what the Ravens are every year — a .500 team. Great defense, miserable offense. Grade — C.
4. Cleveland (2-5-1) — Even without any semblance of an offense, to win two games is monumental for the Browns and honestly they gave two other wins away. Grade — B.
• AFC SOUTH •
1. Houston (5-3) — Remember when coach Bill O’Brien was about to get run out of town after an 0-3 start? The howls are nothing more than whispers. This team could be a dangerous out. Grade — B+.
2. Tennessee (3-4) — Another brutal offensive team. Good thing the defense is top notch. Grade — C.
3. Indianapolis (3-5) — Andrew Luck is back, but he’s merely pedestrian. A team with a lot of holes. Grade — C.
4. Jacksonville (3-5) — Just as I said in the preseason, a one-hit wonder. In fairness, their offense was predicated on Leonard Fournette and he’s missed most of the year. Grade — D.
• AFC WEST •
1. Kansas City (7-1) — Football’s most exciting team. A thrill-a-minute offense masks a defense that routinely is gouged in the run game. Still, it’s never a dull moment. Grade — A.
2. Los Angeles (5-2) — The Chargers keep hanging around. In the past, they always talked how the Chargers could be a playoff team if they could ever get off to a good start. Now they have and they’ll at least be a wild-card team. Grade — A-.
3. Denver (3-5) — What a waste of a good defense. Case Keenum has turned back into a pumpkin after a Cinderella year. Grade — C.
4. Oakland (1-7) — After Thursday night's embarrassment on national television, it appears the great Jon Gruden experiment has gone awry and he only has 9 years left on his deal. The front office has been fleeced of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Guess they’re building for when they move to Las Vegas with all those future No. 1 picks. Grade — F.
• NFC EAST •
1. Washington (5-2) — Alex Smith is doing what Alex Smith always does — manage games and get you in the playoffs. He just won’t take them past the first round. Grade — A-.
2. Philadelphia (4-4) — Exhibit A of what a Super Bowl hangover is all about. Injuries have hurt this team severely, especially in the backfield. Grade — C.
3. Dallas (3-4) — Nobody can coach a team to .500 better than Jason Garrett. I can’t put my finger on what’s really bad about this team. Dak Prescott has to be better. Grade — C.
4. New York Giants (1-7) — It’s painful to say, but Eli is shot. Peyton Manning’s little brother has been getting buried and the atmosphere around this team is toxic. Grade — F.
• NFC NORTH •
1. Chicago (4-3) — Khalil Mack has made this defense ferocious. Still not sold on Matt Trabisky at quarterback. Grade — B+.
2. Minnesota (4-3-1) — What happened to that supposed great Viking defense? Definitely a team that should be better, especially with Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Grade — C.
3. Green Bay (3-3-1) — Everyone is starting to figure out what has been known for a long time — it’s Aaron Rodgers and little else. Grade — C.
4. Detroit (3-4) — The Lions are a game back, so they trade their most dangerous receiver. This is why the Lions never contend. Grade — C.
• NFC SOUTH •
1. New Orleans (7-1) — The NFC’s version of the Kansas City Chiefs. Drew Brees is a marvel at 39 and the Saints are starting to play a little bit of defense. Grade — A.
2. Carolina (5-2) — This team is all about winning ugly. It doesn’t score a lot, but doesn’t give up a lot. Grade — B+.
3. Atlanta (3-4) — A trendy pick to make the Super Bowl before the season, but the defense is terrible. Grade — C-.
4. Tampa Bay (3-4) — “Fitzmagic” lasted all of two games before Ryan Fitzpatrick finally came back to earth. Now he’s back at quarterback after Jameis Winston developed an outbreak of interceptionitis. Grade — C.
• NFC WEST •
1. Los Angeles (8-0) — Best record in football, but not that many signature wins. We’ll see how the Rams fare when they play Kansas City. Grade — A.
2. Seattle (4-3) — The names change, but the the results stay the same as the defense has a new cast of characters. You just wonder how good Russell Wilson would be if he had any kind of offensive line and a running game. Grade — B+.
3. Arizona (2-6) — The Cardinals beat the 49ers last week, but still the worst talent in football. Grade — D.
4. San Francisco (2-7) — When Jimmy G. tore his knee against KC, it was all over. Also, one of the NFL’s worst defenses. Grade — F.