NFL: AFC Report Cards for 1st Quarter

After the 1st 4 games into the weirdest season we’ve ever seen, we break down each teams ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. Some teams like the Packers, Chiefs, Seahawks, and the Bills, yes, the Bills, have had only highs. While teams like the Jets, Texans, Titans, and Falcons are mostly dealing with the ‘lows’. Then you have the the strange situations like the Cowboys having an offensive explosion but only one win to show for it. If it weren’t for a vintage Falcons Dan Quinn 4th quarter collapse the Cowboys would be winless. At least Dak is throwing for tons of yards right? We’re going to begin with the defending Champs the Kansas City Chiefs and Mahomies.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs: 4-0 (A+)

KANSAS CITY, MO -(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

So not saying my A+ grade means anything but the Chiefs actually got better this offseason with the final pick of the 2020 draft. They drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire fresh off a National Championship with Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. He’s better than any back on last year’s Super Bowl team. He’s proven he can handle the workload as an every down back in the NFL. He’s 7th in the NFL in rushing through the quarter mark and he will most likely get better as the season goes on. The reason they get an A+ is because of Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU. He has made this offense more dangerous on the ground instead of relying on the right arm of Patrick Mahomes.

Las Vegas Raiders: 2-2- (C-)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

After the first two weeks of the season it looked like the Raiders were going to be scary. However, after Gruden was hit with a fine for not properly using his mask during a game the Raiders have lost 2 straight. They KO’d the Panthers week 1 then followed it up with a dub against the Saints. Raiders fans jump on and off the Carr bandwagon weekly. The guy hasn’t thrown an interception after the first quarter of the season. Not too mention one of the best young RBs in football in Josh Jacobs who’s top 10 in yards to start the season. Gruden also loves his Tight Ends and has one of the top offensive weapons with Darren Waller. The problem clearly isn’t on the offensive side of the ball after averaging 27 ppg.

Chargers: 1-3 (C+)

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA -(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

It’s Herbie’s world in Southern California after a freak pain-killer accident to QB1 Tyrod Taylor. The former Oregon standout has been one of the few bright spots for the Chargers this year. Although they are still up to their old tricks on finding ways to lose close games. So far young Herbie has been as advertised. Smart, athletic, and can make every throw on an NFL football field. It’s also pretty fearless and incredibly confident in his arm strength. Which has cost him a few times late in games this year. He’s proven to be a very quick learner.

Denver Broncos: 1-3 (C-)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

John Elway has done everything this offseason to help young QB Drew Locke succeed in the National Football League. They drafted the former Crimson Tide WR Jerry Jeudy and took another WR in the 2nd round with KJ Hamler from Penn State. He took a Center in the 3rd round, a Tight End in the 4th round and took another WR in the 7th round. Philip Lindsay surprised the whole NFL with an Austin Ekeler type of coming out party by earning a pro-bowl nod in his Rookie year and was undrafted, like Austin Ekeler. He’s now put up back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. If you look at the NFL today it is essential to have a 2 running back system and the Broncos nailed it by picking up Melvin Gordon during free agency to be the every down back. Injuries have sunk its teeth into the Broncos roster by sidelining Lindsay for a few weeks, Von Miller is out for the yard and Courtland Sutton is also out for the year as well as QB Drew Lock missing time. Although all of this sounds great on paper, the Broncos are 1-3 and will most certainly miss the playoffs again. This is the definition of a rebuilding process for Elway and the Broncos.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans: 3-0 (On-Field-A… Off-Field-F)

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A classic case of Jekyl and Hyde here. On the field, the Titans deserve an A grade but off the field, well, an F. Clearly not taking the Covid-19 protocol serious having over 20 players/personnel testing positive in the past week and a half. The Titans got off to a 3-0 start out of the gate until being derailed by the virus. The real reason they are going to get an F for their off -the-field antics are because a day after shutting down team facilities, many members of the team decided to hold involuntary workouts at a local high school. The NFL is going to dish out some ‘heavy’ fines on the Titans. Some teams are receiving 100-200K worth of fines for failing to wear masks properly so who knows how hard the NFL is going to hit them.

Indianapolis Colts: 3-1 (B+)

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Old Man Rivers is still slinging it and he has the Colts off to a nice 3-1 start. Rivers isn’t used to being above .500 this early in the season. Rivers usually gets hot mid way through the season and takes off down the stretch when the Chargers needed it most. Unfortunately, most of the those seasons featured instances that were out of his control. A botched snap in KC when trying to run clock, multiple tipped passes leading to game-icing interceptions, and how can Chargers fans forget the kicking woes of the past decade. This is easily one of the best offensive lines Rivers ever got to play with. but he doesn’t nearly have the weapons he had in SD and LA. The Colts have the leagues best defense and one of most decorated collegiate RBs of all time, JJ Taylor from Wisconsin. Rivers knows the kind of ball carriers that Wisconsin can produce having played with Melvin Gordon and Derrek Watt. The Colts defense has finished the 1st quarter of the season as the leagues top D.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-3 (D)

HOUSTON, TX -(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Minshew Mania is making the rounds around the league once again. The fearless moustache has the swag of a 10 year Vet with multiple rings. With that being said, if he ever wants to reach those feats he’ll have to get out of Jacksonville. The rookie out of Illinois St., James Robinson has been a nice surprise being 9th in the NFL in rushing with 3 rushing TDs in his 1st 4 career games.

Houston Texans: 0-4 (F)

HOUSTON, TEXAS – (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Houston Texans received an F long before this season even started. The day they traded Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson was the day the Texans threw away the 2020 season. This season couldn’t have gone any worse for the Texans and, therefore, costing O’Brien his job. That was one of the worst football trades of the past 10-15 years.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: 3-1 (A-)

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

You can’t fault the Ravens having a loss when you factor in who that loss was too. Lamar Jackson picked up right where he left off from his MVP season a year ago. The only QB he can’t seem to outduel is Patrick Mahomes but don’t worry Lamar. Not many people have outdueled Mahomes. Mahomes and Jackson won’t be considered a rivalry until he beats the Chiefs. Mahomes has to be playing for it to be taken seriously though. The Ravens lone loss is to, you guessed it, the Kansas City Chiefs. Aside from that game the Ravens have played flawless on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-0 (A)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Steelers have only played 3 games through the first 4 weeks of the NFL season because they had the the luxury of playing the Titans who refused to take NFL protocols seriously. The Steelers haven’t started 4-0 since 1979 which is kind of mind blowing for such a team with a rich tradition of winning. The Steelers are 3rd in the NFL in sacks and have only played 3 games. They are averaging 5 sacks per game.

Cleveland Browns: 3-1 (B+)

BEREA, OHIO -(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

If the Browns can stop someone on defense I’d put them in that A range. Baker Mayfield had a major drop off in his second year in the league last year after lighting it up in Cleveland /as a rookie. Baker’s playing confident and we even had an Odell Beckham Jr. sighting in week 4. After being held to just 6 points in a week 1 loss to the Ravens the Browns have exploded on offense scoring 35, 34, and 49 points in weeks 2-4. When Baker is playing with confidence and he feels like the best player on the field the Browns are dangerous. Millennial Browns fans have never seen this team go 3-1 in the first 4 games. We’ll go with a B- for this team. If there defense can stop anyone I’d have them in the A range but they’ve given up an insane amount of points so far this year.

Cincinnati Bengals: 1-2-1 (C-)

CINCINNATI, OHIO -(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

Joe Burrow has done more than his record would prove. Burrows has 6 TDs against 2 interceptions. In his first ever start he led a GW 4th quarter comeback but an offensive pass interference call in the end zone brought out the dreaded field goal unit to tie the game. However, the kick was wide of the goal posts costing him his 1st win. Burrow will learn very quickly that field goals are anything but a guarantee these days.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: 4-0 (A-)

ORCHARD PARK, NY – (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The only reason there is a (-) next to that A is that the defense has been shaky at times this season. This defense has given up 17 vs. the Jets, 28 vs. the Dolphins, 32 points and a blown lead vs. the Rams, and 23 against the Raiders. Still, this is probably one of the most surprising starts to the season. It looks, for this year at least, like Belichick’s reign on the division is over. Josh Allen has a passer rating of 122 with 12 TDs to 1 interception. Did I mention he had the Bills sitting at 4-0? An offseason trade to bring in Stefon Diggs at WR has helped Allen take that next step in his young career.

New England Patriots: 2-2 (C+)

FOXBOROUGH, MA – (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Cam Newton-Bill Belichick experiment started off very well until Covid-19 put a temporary halt to that. Through the first 3 games he was 2-1 with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions with many highlight-reel plays and big runs in critical situations that may not show up on the stat sheet. On the ground Cam was a beast with 149 yards and 4 rushing TDs. There is no control over this pandemic so we can’t fault the Patriots grade because of Stephon Gillmore and Cam Newton missing at least a game due to the virus. Similar to the adjust Brady and Arians made from week 1 to week 2, Cam and Belichick were just getting started together.

Miami Dolphins: 1-3 (D)

DAVIE, FLORIDA – (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Ryan FitzMagic is at it again. On the stat sheet not in the win column obviously. He is guaranteed to have at least 2-3 games per year where he is the best QB in the league. He’s got one so far this year with 328 yards, 2 TDs zero picks in a week 2 loss to the Bills. Fans want to see Tua but the Dolphins have to play it incredibly safe with their first round investment who has missed time at Alabama with injuries. They had a big offseason bringing in Kyle Van Noy, Byron Jones, and Ereck Flowers but Dolphins fans would be out of their minds if they thought they’d be winning this season. This is all setup for Tua to take over in 2021. Plus, the way 2020 is going it’s better to be safe than sorry with the youngster. We’ll save the Dolphins week 5 performance for next week beating an unlikely team.

New York Jets: 0-4 (F)

FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY – (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Head Coach Adam Gase has to have one of the hottest seats than any other coach in the NFL, well other than Bill O’Brien or Dan Quinn. Earlier today it was reported that the Jets and Darnold would possibly be parting ways sooner rather than later. Darnold determined to play this Sunday against the Cardinals recovering from a sprained AC joint but instead Head Coach Adam Gase went with long time vet and former Super Bowl QB Joe Smooth, otherwise known as Joe Flacco. Multiple GMs have said it would be nearly impossible to get a great return on Darnold.

Coming up Next: NFC Report Cards and Week 5 Breakdown

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