So this could be a giant mistake, but with week nine in the books all teams will have played half of their fixtures and so here is a single sentence round up of the season so far for each team:
Long term injuries have derailed the Cardinals’ offence so their season now rests on how far a thirty-two year old running back can carry them.
We’re not sure how much is Super Bowl hangover and how much is the new offensive coordinator but the Falcons are struggling and need to turn it round soon if they are to get back to the playoffs.
The Ravens have one of the largest injury lists in the league, but the real issue is the offence and how badly Joe Flacco is underperforming compared to his contract.
The Bills are performing much better than I expected thanks to Sean McDernott and his coaching staff, but with two games against the Patriots and a trip to Kansas City to face the Chiefs the Bills face a tough road if they want to make the playoffs.
The Panthers defence seems to take care of itself, particularly when Luke Kuechly is on the field, but the offence has not been consistent and needs to solidify if they want to make the most of a good 6-3 start.
The Bears have wedded themselves to a tough defence and running game, which was enough to get them three wins but it feels like something has to change for the Bears to break into the playoff hunt next season.
It feels like the end of an era in Cincinnati where a team hamstrung by its offensive line has fallen back rather than recovered from last season’s down year.
The hope of the offseason has dimmed as things have keep going wrong for the Browns but with the front office and coaching staff both having problems and not in lock step it feels like the promising approach is stalling and the question is will the owner lose faith with GM, head coach, or both.
All the headlines belong to Ezekiel Elliott but for me perhaps the most impressive thing is the way the Cowboys defence is playing and the job Rod Marinelli is doing as defensive coordinator.
The defence still has the talent but problematic quarterback play behind an offensive line that still doesn’t inspire confidence seems to have doomed the season and leaves some real questions for John Elway to answer.
The Lions were never going to be able to replicate the number of close, come from behind wins they had last season but with a good run in the second half they could be fighting for a wildcard spot.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers’ season looks to have fallen apart when Aaron Rodgers went down, which seems to have demonstrated precisely how good the rest of the roster is and what a difference an elite level quarterback can make.
The Texans have endured many key injuries this year but as sad as everyone was when Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practise, it looks like the Texans finally have their quarterback of the future and how scary could this team be next year with a bit of injury luck.
The Colts have made the right decision in sitting Andrew Luck but the people questioning Luck’s toughness should think about what their talented quarterback has fought through in the last couple of years, and then be quiet.
The Jaguars play defence, run the ball, and it’s working for them.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ offence continues to roll despite teams working out that zone defence does slow them down, but the problem is the defence and how much it is beginning to miss Eric Berry.
The Chargers are lurking after a bad start and will be hoping to turn things round in the second half of the season but it must be miserable playing in such a small stadium that is still full of opposition fans.
What a difference a year makes with Sean McVay surely in contention for coach of the year the Rams have established themselves as serious contenders and look destined for the playoffs.
A topsy-turvy season that has seen two offensive shut-outs, a star running back trade, and a lot of travel, but we’re waiting to see if Adam Gase can pull things together in the second half.
The Vikings keep rolling despite the turmoil at quarterback thanks to a really good defence, and a head coach who I never wanted to leave the Bengals.
New England Patriots
The Patriots somehow lead their division despite a defence which has been rooted round the bottom of the league by DVOA as apparently the combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady really can overcome nearly anything.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have finally managed to turn their defence round and in doing so look very competitive, and with Drew Brees they could cause real problems in the playoffs as long as they’re not bitten by the injury bug. Fingers crossed.
New York Giants
The Giants look to be falling apart around Ben McAdoo with the end of Eli Manning’s career looming and you have to think there will be changes in the offseason.
New York Jets
The Jets are playing so much better than anyone expected and this is largely thanks to a great coaching job by Todd Bowles, although this may hurt their chances of securing a quarterback for the future if they were planning to do this in the draft.
I am bemused by the Raiders who seem to struggle except when I watch them play and so I don’t know if their offence is good enough to overcome a defence that is currently ranked last by DVOA.
The class of the league so far go into their bye week with an 8-1 record and talk of second year quarterback Carson Wentz being a contender for MVP – what more could you want?
There may be questions over Ben Roethlisberger’s form, but with Le’Veon Bell and a strong defence the Steelers are running away with the AFC North and look to be one of the contenders in the AFC.
San Francisco 49ers
We always knew this was going to be a big project but the other winless team in the NFL are worse than I was expecting and fans will be anxious to see if Jimmy Garoppolo is their quarterback of the future.
The Seahawks are still a tough out and I wouldn’t write them off despite their defence sliding slightly but surely at some point they have to do something about their offensive line?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs season has crumbled with Jameis Winston sitting through injury and a defence that is ranked thirtieth by DVOA, it is hard to see anything other than some big changes next offseason given the expectations coming into the season.
The Titans keep grinding despite Marcus Mariota being hindered by injury, and he is a different quarterback when his mobility is limited, but they are still in the hunt for the playoffs.
With the divisional losses they already have I think the playoffs are out of reach but this team has been playing hard despite the injuries, I just wonder what the long term plan is having lost both starting receivers last offseason and with Kirk Cousins likely on his way next year.
Gee: Week 9 8-5 Overall 74-59
Dan: Week 9 8-5 Overall 70-63
Seahawks @ Cardinals (+6.5)
The Seattle Seahawks are still a very up and down team and so whilst they should beat the Arizona Cardinals, this is a lot of points to give up to a home team on a Thursday night. I don’t know how long Adrian Peterson can sustain the kind of workload he was given last week, or if three days of recovery will be enough, but I still fancy the Cardinals to cover this line.
Gee’s Pick: Cardinals
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals