Grades, draft needs, offseason questions for every eliminated NFL team


NFL Nation reporters grade the regular seasons for the 20 teams out of the playoffs, assess what position each should target in the 2018 NFL draft and look ahead to a few looming offseason questions. Click the links after each team to view the full posts.


One word can define 2017 for the Cardinals: injuries. They began in Week 1 with All-Pro and All-Everything David Johnson fracturing his wrist, and they never stopped. Read more.

This was the most frustrating finish to a regular season in the franchise’s 22-year existence. The Ravens failed to clinch a playoff berth because they were unable to beat the struggling Bengals at home — despite being 9.5-point favorites. Read more.

The Bears lost 10 games for the fourth straight year. Even with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers hurt for much of the season, the Bears never contended in the NFC North. Read more.

The Bengals’ offense was the worst in the NFL, and their defense was on the field too much to be effective. They got nothing out of first-round pick John Ross and fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after two weeks. Read more.

Is there a limit for catastrophe? The Browns followed the worst season in team history (1-15 in 2016) with a more miserable experience — for fans and the team. Read more.

Expectations were high for the Cowboys coming into 2017 after they had the NFC’s best record in 2016. They have to be considered one of the league’s biggest disappointments this season. Read more.

The Broncos could never escape their quarterback issues — they played three quarterbacks, and each of the three started at least two games and was a game-day inactive at least once during the season. Read more.

The Lions couldn’t sustain a hot 3-1 start to the season because they failed in almost every big spot other than their Week 4 win against the Vikings. Read more.

The standard in Green Bay, at the very least, is the playoffs — if not a Super Bowl. When you’re eliminated from postseason consideration with two games to play, it is viewed as a disaster. Read more.

The Texans finished with a losing season for the first time under Bill O’Brien, struggling in the second half after Deshaun Watson tore his ACL. Read more.

Injuries. Poor second-half play. And more injuries. Highlighted (or low-lighted) by Andrew Luck’s shoulder injury, the Colts put 18 players on injured reserve this season. Read more.

In his first year as the Chargers’ coach, Anthony Lynn showed resiliency in leading the Bolts into postseason contention after a poor start. For the first time in three years, the Chargers will not finish with a losing record. Read more.

Miami entered 2017 with high expectations following a 10-win season. But despite a 4-2 start, the Dolphins fell short for several reasons, including injuries, off-field distractions and a rotating door at quarterback. Read more.

The Giants couldn’t stop anybody (32nd in total defense), couldn’t score points (31st) and struggled on special teams. Quick recap: They stunk everywhere. It was a disaster of a season. Read more.

The title of the season should be “The Team That Couldn’t Finish.” The Jets were a three-quarter team, pushing some of the best teams in the league into the fourth quarter — and then collapsing, sometimes in stunning fashion. Read more.

Perhaps never before did a Raiders season scream for a do-over more than this one. A 2-0 start was followed by a four-game losing streak from which Oakland never recovered. Read more.

The 2017 Niners will always be viewed in two not-quite-equal parts: the 49ers B.G. (before Jimmy Garoppolo) and the 49ers A.G. (after Garoppolo). At their lowest point, they were 0-9 for the first time in franchise history. Read more.

Injuries on defense and a wildly inconsistent offense defined Seattle’s season. Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were all lost to season-ending injuries, leaving the Seahawks without three Pro Bowlers. Read more.

The Bucs were billed as a team on the rise, looking to build on their 9-7 record from 2016 and not only reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007 but also win their division. Instead, things fell apart. Read more.

An 8-8 record is impressive given the Redskins’ schedule and injuries. But they were 1-5 in games against division winners, and they were 6-0 against teams that entered the season finale with a losing record. Read more.



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