The sprint that is the NFL season is half-way over. Every team has played eight games now, allowing for some consistency to show through their performance. Some of you may be looking for a refresher now that baseball is done. Others, for some reason, decide that 16 games is too much to watch and only want to watch half the season. Either way, here is a quick little picture of how the season has changed since all those previews you read two months ago.
New England Patriots (8-0): The rest of the NFL should stop complaining to the league about the Patriots. In 2007 the Pats dominated with no mercy after spygate and are now the top team after the deflategate mess. Maybe Belichick creates scandals on purpose?
New York Jets (5-3): Maybe Geno Smith getting his jaw broken was a good thing? Ryan Fitzpatrick has gone 5-2 in games he has finished including a three point loss to the Pats.
Buffalo Bills (4-4): If Buffalo wants to make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years it would be preferable if they stopped following every win with a loss. A healthy roster probably would help considering how well they have played when healthy.
Miami Dolphins (3-5): Firing Joe Philbin after five games, and then winning their first two games under interim coach Dan Campbell, will prove to be nothing more than a blown chance at a top pick.
Cincinnati Bengals (8-0): Sure Andy Dalton looks great now but the real challenge will be when it’s the playoffs, where he has struggled during his career, going 0-4. It may not be fair but Dalton, and the rest of the Bengals, won’t be viewed as elite until they win a playoff game so consider the next eight games a warm-up.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4): Antonio Brown should share his secret to stay healthy with his star teammates. If Roethlisberger can come back quickly and stay healthy, the Steelers should have a chance even without Le’Veon Bell.
Baltimore Ravens (2-6): After years of losing star players the Ravens are finally struggling. The Ravens will do what they always manage to do and manage to be back next season but for now fans should start looking ahead to the draft.
Cleveland Browns (2-7): When a team has been as bad as the browns recently have, they should give the fans what they want, as it definitely can’t make the team worse. Let the Manziel Era begin.
Denver Broncos (7-1): So Peyton Manning should probably talk to Tom Brady about how to be young again. Until then the Broncos will have to continue to rely on their elite defence to win games, a strategy that has definitely not been a problem
Oakland Raiders (4-4): A young team with talent across the board, the Raiders not only have a chance to succeed this year but also in the future. After years of horrible drafting (hi Jamarcus Russell), the Raiders have stumbled into the jackpot, and the black hole can return to glory.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-5): They may be close to the other playoff teams but their wins came against Houston, Detroit and a Pittsburgh team without Roethlisberger. The offensive explosion is most likely an effect of playing the Lions and playing in London, so expect this team to fall back down the standings.
San Diego Chargers (2-7): Phillip Rivers can throw for all the yards he wants, which is a lot, but with a terrible defence the Chargers aren’t going to win many games. Losing like this is probably not the best marketing strategy for a move to LA.
Indianapolis Colts (4-5): Andrew Luck and the rest of the Colts played good enough not to be embarrassed when Manning returned. If they can play like that the rest of the season they may not be the most embarrassing playoff team in NFL history.
Houston Texans (3-5): Maybe J.J. Watt actually can carry his team to the postseason this year. Winning the division with six wins wouldn’t be ideal but it still is possible and nobody in Houston would complain.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6): Jacksonville is probably looking at Houston and Chicago in MLB and hoping that the same formula can work in the NFL. If not, the 500 Jaguar fans that exist will continue to suffer.
Tennessee Titans (2-6): Marcus Mariota has shown just enough flashes that there may be hope in the future for the Titans. Now Tennessee now just needs to figure out how to make the rest of their roster competitive, something they’ve been trying to do for years.
New York Giants (5-4): This team has mastered being average like this for years. In 2007 (9-7) and 2011 (10-6) the Giants made the playoffs before upsetting the favoured Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Four years later this could repeat itself and make the Giants everyone’s second favourite team again.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4): Chip Kelly may have ruined Demarco Murray, but maybe his plan all along was to simply keep Murray away from Dallas. If the Eagles miss the playoffs Chip Kelly may return to college, which may be best for everyone.
Washington (3-5): Kirk Cousins is the definition of a QB that won’t win you many games but at least you know what you’re going to get every week. Washington still has a shot to catch the teams ahead of them, showing just how crazy the division is.
Dallas Cowboys (2-6): Tony Romo missing eight games and Dez Bryant missing five lead to predictable results. A mixture of Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden throwing to the ghost of Jason Witten and Cole Beasely is not what Jerry Jones had in mind when he let Murray sign in Philly.
Green Bay Packers (6-2): Consecutive losses may have taken away from all the credit Aaron Rodgers got for leading the team to a 6-0 start, but with arguably the best QB in football the Packers are always a threat.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2): The Vikings are the surprise team of the season,, but a quick look at the schedule and a collapse looks inevitable. Unless Adrian Peterson plays like it is 2012 again, the Vikings will sink.
Chicago Bears (3-5): The losses continue to add up for the Bears and QB Jay Cutler. But having Jimmy Clausen replace an injured Cutler should have been all it takes for bears fans to realize it can get worse, much much worse.
Detroit Lions (1-7): At least they won a game. This is a classic example of having two of the top eight cap hits on the same team. Regardless of how good Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are, the Lions do not have enough money to spend on the rest of the team.
Arizona Cardinals (6-2): In a repeat of last year the Cardinals are again looking like a top contender in the NFC. If the Cardinals can find a way for Carson Palmer to play in full body armour and keep him healthy, they can finish what they started last year.
St. Louis Rams (4-4): When everyone laughed at the Rams for drafting Todd Gurley in the top 10 it was with expectation that he wouldn’t be near 100 per cent. Nobody expected him back for week three, or rush for over 128 yards each in his first four starts, so maybe we should wait and see how players play before criticizing teams.
Seattle Seahawks (4-4): The Seahawks decided to try and change their strategy on offence by adding weapons for Russell Wilson, at the expense of their offensive line. However, they now refuse to use their new weapon, Jimmy Graham, and their line cannot block. It also doesn’t help that their defense is no longer the best in NFL history.
San Francisco 49er’s (3-6): It is a bad sign when your starting QB is Blaine Gabbert, especially when it was by choice, not through injury. Add to this the fact that the head coach they wanted gone has already changed the fortunes of his college team. Do you think they want Harbaugh back yet?
Carolina Panthers (8-0): Cam Newton may be getting MVP consideration, but he has only completed 53 per cent of his passes and has thrown nine interceptions. If anyone deserves consideration for the award on the team it should be cornerback Josh Norman, who has four interceptions and continues to shut down the oppositions top receiver. Unfortunately, a corner will never win an MVP.
Atlanta Falcons (6-3): Instead of getting a few wins for a new coach in the middle of the season, the Falcons started off on a hot streak. They looked good winning against the NFC east until it became clear how bad that division is.
New Orleans Saints (4-5): A coach rumoured to be seeking a trade should be all the evidence you need that a team is dysfunctional. Poor Drew Brees is forced to throw seven touchdowns, and his team still only manages to win on a last second field goal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5): A team that appears to have some potential seems to be held back by their coach who runs some of the most basic and out-of-date defensive schemes. If only they could find a coach to trade for.