NFL Nation reporters grade the regular seasons for every team out of the running for Super Bowl LIII and look ahead to looming offseason questions. Click the links after each team to view the full posts.
An improvement over their 6-10 record in 2017 is noteworthy and coaches likely will use that as a sign of progress. But as the Dolphins head into 2019, it’s hard to say we know more about the long-term future than we did six months ago. That makes it somewhat of a lost season. Read more.
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The Falcons were picked as Super Bowl contenders entering the season yet finished with their first losing season in four years under coach Dan Quinn. The Falcons couldn’t figure out how to close games early in the season. A loss at Cleveland was the beginning of a five-game skid that knocked the Falcons out of playoff contention. Read more.
The Bills were ranked among the league’s worst teams in offensive and special-teams efficiency. However, Buffalo was expected to win only about five games and they did lay a foundation for rookie quarterback Josh Allen. Read more.
Quarterback Cam Newton was playing, in his own words, the best football of his career 10 games into the season. He had adjusted smoothly to offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system. He looked like an MVP candidate and the Panthers were in a strong position to make the playoffs. Then Newton’s right shoulder became an issue. Read more.
The season began with playoff aspirations in coach Matt Patricia’s first year. It ended with the team’s worst record since 2012. Detroit, a year after firing Jim Caldwell after back-to-back 9-7 seasons, feels much closer to a rebuilding team than a contender. Read more.
Anything less than a playoff berth when Aaron Rodgers starts 16 games is disastrous. Part of that is on Rodgers for not playing at his usual MVP level, which would have covered up for myriad other issues. Part of it is on a roster that wasn’t nearly as talented or deep as it should have been thanks to some subpar drafts in Ted Thompson’s final years as general manager. Part of it is on coaching, which is why the Packers have a head-coaching search on their hands. Read more.
It’s hard to believe the Jaguars were 10 minutes away from the Super Bowl last season. Nineteen starters returned and yet the Jaguars finished with a losing record — and double-digit losses — for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. Read more.
The Giants missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years after losing seven of their first eight games. They should have at least been competitive, especially when adding Saquon Barkley in the draft and getting Odell Beckham Jr. back from injury. Read more.
No one expected a playoff berth, but this was a total failure — from the front office to the coaching staff to the players. The mandate from ownership was to show progress, but the Jets actually went backward. They were 1-5 in games decided by eight or fewer points. Read more.
The 2018 season could not have been more of a roller-coaster ride in Tampa: an electrifying 2-0 start under backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick; the benching and reinsertion of starter Jameis Winston; the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Smith; a disgruntled DeSean Jackson requesting (and being denied) a trade; and yet another kicking change. Read more.