All 32 clubs in the National Football League have played in nine least nine games. Which means every team is more than halfway through the 17-game campaign. Hence, here are midseason grades for the AFC. These marks are not only based on performance but on expectations as well. Of course, there’s still plenty of football remaining.
Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
The Ravens split their first six games this season. But the club has settled in nicely since and are alone atop the AFC North. Lamar Jackson has been solid and Baltimore still knows how to run the football. The defense has rebounded after a troubling start thanks to contributions from veterans such as Justin Houston and Marcus Williams.
Buffalo Bills (6-3)
Sean McDermott’s team has been humbled lately with three-point losses to the Jets and Vikings (in OT). In both contests, the Bills owned double-digit leads. This is still one of the most formidable rosters in the league. But quarterback Josh Allen continues to be careless with the football, witness seven turnovers the past three weeks.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)
The defending AFC champions lost their first two contests thanks to game-winning field goals by the Steelers (in OT) and Cowboys, respectively, on those games’ final play. The Bengals have won five of their last seven games and at times have dominated. But a 32-13 Monday night loss at Cleveland dropped the team to 0-3 in the division.
Cleveland Browns (3-6)
The talent is there and at times the Browns have shown it. But too many times the club has been betrayed by a defensive unit that has been a major disappointment – sans Myles Garrett. Running back Nick Chubb continues to excel but quarterback Jacoby Brissett has as many turnovers (8) as TD passes (9). Will Deshaun Watson help?
Denver Broncos (3-6)
Are the Broncos the most disappointing team in the NFL? You could certainly make that case given the lofty expectations surrounding the club. The trade for quarterback Russell Wilson was supposed to solve some offensive issues but the team is dead last in the league in points per game. Meanwhile, the Denver defense has excelled.
Houston Texans (1-7-1)
When you watch Lovie Smith’s team, you find it a little tough to swallow that the club has won only a single game. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce has been a big time bright spot. But the Texans’ defense has once again failed to impress and once again the team can’t stop the run. Quarterback Davis Mills has struggled with ball security.
Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1)
The disappointing Colts are one of two teams to make a midseason coaching change. Jeff Saturday was at the home for Sunday’s 25-20 win at Las Vegas. The Indianapolis’ offense has been dreadful regardless of who has played quarterback. Running back Jonathan Taylor has been banged up. But the team is just one game under .500.
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Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
New head coach Doug Pederson got the club off to a good start. After losing at Washington in Week 1, there were convincing wins over the Colts and Chargers. But the Jaguars have won just once since. There have been signs for a team that has already won as many games (3) as a year ago. Running back Travis Etienne has been impressive.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
The offseason saw numerous changes, the biggest being wide receiver Tyreek Hill traded to Miami. But this has been a team that has played more under control than a year ago as quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been more careful with the football. The defense has some question marks but the Chiefs own the best record in the AFC.
Las Vegas Raiders (2-7)
A year ago, the Silver and Black won their first three games, survived some strife and reached the playoffs. This year, the Raiders (under new head coach Josh McCaniels) lost their first three contests and have yet to recover. The defense has been miserable once again while quarterback Derek Carr has endured an up-and-down campaign.
Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)
In 2021, the Chargers fell short of the playoffs and much of the criticism was aimed at head coach Brandon Staley. This season, injuries have certainly played a big part in the club’s disappointing showing. The lack of a running game hasn’t helped Justin Herbert. But the defense continues to be a disappointment, especially against the run.
Miami Dolphins (7-3)
Mike McDaniel has the Dolphins atop the AFC East after 10 weeks of play. The team won its first three games but saw quarterback Tua Tagovailoa go down and his recent return has made a big difference. So was the offseason addition of Tyreek Hill, who leads the NFL in receiving yards. And McDaniel’s club is starting to run the football.
New England Patriots (5-4)
The Patriots got off to a sluggish start this season – losing three of their first four games. So what else is new? Bill Belichick’s club finds itself in last place in the AFC East but above .500. Turnovers have been an issue for second-year pro Mac Jones (8) and rookie Bailey Zappe (6). But the Patriots have as many takeaways as giveaways (17).
New York Jets (6-3)
Robert Saleh’s team has already won two more games than it did all of last season when he made his NFL head-coaching debut. And these Jets have been an oppressive 4-0 on the road a big difference from last year’s 1-7 mark away from home. The defense has stepped up from a year ago. The club is learning how to beat its division rivals.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
It has been a dismal year in the Steel City as the club has been humbled quite a few times by the better teams in the league. The Steelers’ offense has been dreadful due to any number of factors. Defensively, there have been flashes but not having T.J. Watt for seven games hurt. So is there a second-half surge in Mike Tomlin’s team?
Tennessee Titans (6-3)
The Titans find ways to win games and have a 6-1 record in their last eight contests after a 0-2 start. Derrick Henry is a lot healthier this year and that certainly helps while quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been a little banged up. The defense has been stellar against the run but is giving up the second-most passing yards per game in the NFL.