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NFL Schedule Week 10 Steelers/Pats Mid-Season Grades

Week 10

Sunday, November 14 Time
Detroit Lions @ Buffalo Bills 1:00 pm
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
NY Jets @ Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Bucs 1:00 pm
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
Kansas City @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
Dallas Cowboys @ NY Giants 4:15 pm
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals 1:15 pm/pst
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers 4:15 pm
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers 8:20 pm

Monday, November 15 Time
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins 8:30 pm

 

Pittsburgh (6-2)

Summary: Entering the season, a 4-4 record would have been considered peachy considering quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was serving a four-game suspension for off-field conduct issues. The Steelers instead exceeded expectations with a 3-1 start in Roethlisberger’s absence and have continued to play at a high level.

MVP: Running back Rashard Mendenhall. Even with the Steelers starting four different quarterbacks so far (Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon), Mendenhall’s production has remained consistent. Possessor of a lethal spin move, Mendenhall has rushed for 702 yards and seven touchdowns. His biggest carry was a 50-yard jaunt for a touchdown in the season-opening overtime win against Atlanta.

Biggest disappointment: Kicker Jeff Reed. The Steelers cherished Reed enough to designate him their franchise player in 2010. Reed, though, isn’t performing like a kicker worthy of a one-year, $2.8 million deal. Reed has made a measly 70 percent of his field-goal attempts and missed a 46-yard attempt Monday night against Cincinnati.

Outlook: The Steelers will only get better as Roethlisberger grows increasingly comfortable in the offense. Roethlisberger already looked in midseason form dodging Bengals defenders in a 27-21 victory.

Grade: B

 

 

New England (6-2)

Summary: New England’s offense has made amends for a young defense still experiencing NFL growing pains.

MVP: Quarterback Tom Brady. Even without the services of deposed wide receiver Randy Moss, Brady keeps clicking with his pinpoint short- and intermediate-range passing. Brady’s work makes him an NFL MVP favorite.

Biggest disappointment: As the league’s No. 29 defense in yards allowed, the Patriots are on pace for their lowest ranking since the NFL became a 32-team league in 2002.

Outlook: Cleveland became the latest team to expose New England as vulnerable to a power rushing attack. If the Patriots can solve that problem, another Super Bowl appearance may be in the offing.

Grade: B

 

Seahawks/ Cardinals Mid-Season Grades

Seattle (4-4)

Summary: After a 4-2 start, the Seahawks have gotten spanked by a 74-10 margin in consecutive losses to Oakland and the New York Giants.

MVP: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. His steady play has helped Seattle to a .500 record despite the lack of continuity that comes with more than 200 roster moves since the offseason.

Biggest disappointment: Left tackle Russell Okung. The sixth-overall pick in April’s draft has missed five of eight starts because of two separate ankle sprains. Other injuries along the line are crippling the offense.

Outlook: With no NFC West squads above .500, the Seahawks should remain in contention for a division crown until at least December. An 8-8 finish will be considered successful considering the massive roster facelift needed when head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took charge.

Grade: C

 

 

Arizona (3-5)

Summary: The fact Arizona has even three wins considering their quarterback problems speaks volumes for Ken Whisenhunt’s head coaching acumen. But not even the “Whiz” can work enough magic to get Arizona into the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

MVP: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. I shudder to think where Arizona’s sputtering offense would stand without Fitzgerald (42 catches for 510 yards and four touchdowns).

Biggest disappointment: The quarterback position. Arizona’s front office and coaches badly erred when making the offseason evaluation that Matt Leinart could replace the retired Kurt Warner. Leinart was cut at the end of the preseason, leaving Derek Anderson and Max Hall under center. Anderson is too erratic a passer; Hall is too inexperienced and doesn’t have a big-time arm.

Outlook: Have I written enough yet about Arizona’s quarterbacking? The Cardinals need to find an answer at the position during the offseason or risk Fitzgerald leaving elsewhere in free agency after the 2011 season.

Grade: D+