2017 NFL midseason grades, MVPs, outlook, best players, moments for all 32 teams

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Every NFL team has played at least eight games, and the playoff picture is becoming clearer. That means there are some teams with Super Bowl LII aspirations — and some looking ahead to the 2018 draft.

NFL Nation reporters go in depth on all 32 teams at the halfway point, picking out best and worst moments and MVPs, and looking ahead to the rest of the season. Click the links after each team to view the full posts.

We rated each teams’ first half of the season based on their performance and outlook. Here’s the scale and how many teams are in each tier:

Near perfection: Three teams
Above average: Five teams
Average: 13 teams
Below average: Four teams
Bring on 2018: Seven teams


Near perfection

At 6-2, the Rams are off to the kind of start few could’ve ever foreseen. Their offense, last in the NFL in yards over each of the previous two years, has operated as one of the league’s best. Read more.
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If someone would have told you that the Vikings would be 6-2 at the halfway point without quarterback Sam Bradford or star rookie running back Dalvin Cook, you would have thought they were crazy. Read more.

The Eagles caught the NFL off guard by storming to a league-leading 8-1 record. Quarterback Carson Wentz quickly raised expectations with standout play that showed he had arrived earlier than anticipated. Read more.


Above average

Coach Sean McDermott has the Bills riding high — higher than most predicted to start the season. He has cleaned up problems with discipline and focus around the locker room, while building team chemistry. Read more.

The Chiefs set themselves up for a big second half by winning their first five games. Their offense has been more productive than at any time since Andy Reid arrived as head coach in 2013. But the defense has been a problem. Read more.

Tom Brady said it best after the team improved to 6-2 heading into its bye: “We can definitely do a better job. There are high expectations for us. … Hopefully, our best football is ahead of us.” Read more.

The Saints don’t quite qualify for the “near perfection” category, despite their scorching six-game win streak, because almost every victory has come with a hiccup or two. But they have perfected the art of finding ways to win. Read more.

The Steelers are tied for the AFC’s best record, despite underachieving as an offense, which can be considered a good sign. Pittsburgh has shown resiliency by going 4-1 on the road. Read more.


Average

The Falcons had high standards coming off the Super Bowl and managed to start 3-0, before losing three in row. But a team that led the league at 33.8 points per game last season isn’t even close to that number so far. Read more.

There were times when the Ravens looked like a playoff team. But there were other periods when Baltimore looked like one of the league’s worst teams. Read more.

Perhaps the clearer picture of what the Panthers can be came in a 17-3 win at Tampa Bay on Oct. 29. Cam Newton had his moments but wasn’t spectacular. The defense was spectacular. As coach Ron Rivera said, it was a glimpse of what he believes the team can be. Read more.

The Bears seemed to be headed toward another disastrous year when they started off 1-3 with quarterback Mike Glennon. But Chicago recovered, largely thanks to a stingy defense. Read more.

The Cowboys lost as many games in their first five weeks as they did all of last season. There has to be disappointment at the slow start, especially considering expectations entering the season. Read more.

It has been an inconsistent first half for the Lions. They started off better than expected, with two road wins in the first month of the season, but stuttered throughout October with four losses in five games. Read more.

It might seem a surprise to rate a 3-5 team as “average,” but rookie Deshaun Watson kept the Texans in every game in which he played. Watson, however, is out for the season after tearing his ACL in practice. Read more.

The Jaguars already have surpassed their 2016 victory total and are in the hunt for the AFC South title. They’ve done it with a defense that ranks first in the NFL against the pass and in sacks. Read more.

Where do we start with the star-crossed Dolphins? They faced two or three seasons’ worth of adversity in eight games. Through it all, they have won enough games to remain in position to make a playoff push. Read more.

Surprise! The Jets don’t stink. Projected by many to be the worst team in the NFL, they’ve already won more games (four) than anyone could’ve expected. Read more.

The first half of Seattle’s season has followed a familiar pattern, with excellent quarterback play and a mostly dominant defense that has allowed the Seahawks to win games, despite a young and often overmatched offensive line. Read more.

High expectations make this outlook rougher than it might have been a year ago, but that comes with the territory of being a good team. It has been a roller-coaster season so far. Read more.

The Redskins won three of four games between Weeks 2 and 6 and could have won the fourth. They looked ready to make noise in the NFC East. Then, the injuries hit. Read more.


Below Average

The Bengals came into this season with hopes of turning it around from a 6-9-1 campaign, but the offense sputtered to dismal levels, forcing the team to fire offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after two games. Read more.

The Broncos have lived at both ends of the spectrum in terms of their quality of play this season. They say they are the team that cruised to a Week 2 win over the Cowboys, but their most recent work indicates otherwise. Read more.

After starting the season 0-4, the Chargers won three of their past four games to stand at 3-5 in the bye week; they appear to be playing their best football heading into the second half of the season. Read more.

What started out with so much promise — a 2-0 start with Marshawn Lynch getting “hyphy” by dancing on the sideline in a rout of the Jets — has become a frustrating muddle in Oakland. Read more.


Bring on 2018

Not much has gone right for the Cardinals so far, thanks in large part to a rash of injuries that sidelined David Johnson and Carson Palmer, the centerpieces of their offense. Read more.

It’s impossible to think of a first half of a season being more miserable. The Browns have followed a 1-15 season with a winless first half, and they lost perennial standout and ever reliable left tackle Joe Thomas, as well. Read more.

The Packers were on cruise control at 4-1 — with Aaron Rodgers playing some of the best football of his career — when everything crumbled in Week 6 at Minnesota, where the quarterback broke his right clavicle. Read more.

It’s no secret that the Colts were expected to struggle without quarterback Andrew Luck (shoulder), but their inability to play a complete game has been alarming. Read more.

The Giants’ offensive struggles carried over from 2016. In fact, they are even worse. The Giants are averaging 16.0 points per game and have lost their top two receivers for the season. Read more.

Realistically, this was always going to be the first season in what figures to be a multiyear rebuild. Still, even the most pessimistic of fans probably didn’t think the Niners would be winless through the first nine games. Read more.

After going 9-7 in 2016 and having arguably one of the best offseasons in the NFL, the Bucs had enormous expectations heading into 2017. But they have completely underachieved. Read more.



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