November 17, 2017, 18:45

NFL Grades: New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles top performers from Week Nine

NFL Grades: New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles top performers from Week Nine

There are top marks for the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles after Week Nine in the NFL.

At the bottom of the pack are the Denver Broncos and New York Giants after blow out beatings by the Eagles and Los Angeles Rams, respectively.

Which other teams impressed, and which ones failed to show up? Here’s a look at our weekly team grades…

AFC EAST

New York Jets (W 34-21 v Buffalo)

New York Jets kicked the week off with a shock win over the high-flying Bills on Thursday night. This team just do not know how to quit and continue to be competitive, when most observers thought they would be battling it out only with the 49ers and the Browns for a No 1 draft pick right about now. Grade A

Highlights of the Buffalo Bills' clash with the New York Jets in week nine of the NFL

Miami Dolphins (L 24-27 v Oakland)

Better. After being criticised for much of the week having seemingly given up on the season with the trade of their No 1 running back in Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins actually showed plenty of fight in this slender defeat to the Raiders. Jay Cutler looked like a passable NFL quarterback on his return from injury – 311 yards and three TDs. Grade C-

Watch as Jay Ajayi grabbed his first Touchdown for the Philadelphia Eagles and his first of the season

Buffalo Bills (L 21-34 @New York Jets)

Oh dear. How just like the Bills! Talked up us playoff contenders after impressive successes over the Falcons and the Raiders in winning four of their last five, Buffalo took their eye off the ball against the Jets and went back to their maddeningly inconsistent ways. Grade D-

New England Patriots (Bye)

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens (L 20-23 @ Tennessee)

Baltimore kept it competitive throughout in Tennessee, but just fell short. Joe Flacco aired the ball out more than he has done all season. But, with his 52 attempts, came only 261 yards and two costly interceptions (as well as two fourth quarter TDs). Grade D

Cincinnati Bengals (L 7-23 @ Jacksonville)

A.J. Green fancied himself as Anthony Joshua when he decided mid-game against the Jags was the perfect time to show off his heavyweight credentials, as he got into a scrap that sparked a mass brawl. When they weren’t fighting, the Bengals were busy stinking the place up, particularly on offense, with only a Joe Mixon seven-yard score to show for their efforts. Grade E

Watch this Brawl erupt between the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars players during week nine of the NFL

Cleveland Browns (Bye)

Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye)

AFC SOUTH

Jacksonville Jaguars (W 23-7 v Cincinnati)

Who needs Leonard Fournette, anyway? Benched for the game after breaking team rules, Jacksonville’s run-by-committee approach worked for a second straight week, with Chris Ivory tallying 70 yards and T.J. Yeldon 41. Also, Blake Bortles continued his 2017 trend of not turning the ball over. Novel. Grade A-

Indianapolis Colts (W 20-14 @ Houston)

There was talk before last Tuesday’s trade deadline that the Colts were shopping their No 1 wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Well, I bet Jacoby Brissett is glad they didn’t! Both of his passing TDs were to Hilton, who amassed a massive 175 yards, to go with those two scores, off his five catches. Grade B+

We hear from the Around the NFL podcast team and get their take on Week 9 in the NFL

Tennessee Titans (W 23-20 v Baltimore)

The Titans keep a share of the lead with the Jags atop the South after edging out the Ravens at home. Not too many standout performers – Marcus Mariota had only 218 yards passing, with two TDs and one pick, while Derrick Henry was their leading rusher with only 26 yards, and a score. But, most importantly, it was enough. Grade B

Houston Texans (L 14-20 v Indianapolis)

No greater example of the importance of the quarterback in the NFL. No offence, Tom Savage. In fact, Savage didn’t do a whole lot wrong – 219 yards, one TD and no picks. But, he did lose a fumble, and completed only 19 of his 44 passing attempts. Deshaun Watson, he is not! Grade D

AFC WEST

Oakland Raiders (W 27-24 @ Miami)

It was far from their prettiest performance, and there are still concerns over the defense, in particular, after letting habitually low-scorers Miami put up 24 points. But, a win is a win. One particular positive; Marshawn Lynch was more effective following a one-game ban for shoving an official – he had two TDs to go with his 57 yards. Grade B

Highlights of the Oakland Raiders' week-nine clash with the Miami Dolphins from the NFL

Kansas City Chiefs (L 17-28 @ Dallas)

Tyreek Hill’s stunning TD catch and run to end the first half and Travis Kelce’s potato sack race celebration were obvious highlights but, in truth, this was a disappointing display in Dallas and not as competitive a contest as it had looked pre-game. The Chiefs offense continues their somewhat worrying downward trend from their explosive start to the season – Kareem Hunt had only 37 yards off nine carries. Grade C-

The Kansas City Chiefs perform a sack-race styled celeb after Travis Kelce's touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in week nine of the NFL

Denver Broncos (L 23-51 @ Philadelphia)

Far from the ‘no fly zone’, the Eagles positively soared against the Broncos – Carson Wentz had his third four-TD outing in five games. But, the Broncos couldn’t stop the run either. Their strength so far this season, having not allowed a rushing touchdown all year, was a weakness on Sunday as Philadelphia racked up 197 yards on the ground. And, we haven’t even mentioned Brock Osweiler… Grade F

Highlights of the Denver Broncos' clash with the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Nine of the NFL

Los Angeles Chargers (Bye)

NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles (W 51-23 v Denver)

The dominance of this defensive line was shown perfectly in the impact it had against woeful Broncos QB Brock Osweiler. While on offense, once more, Carson Wentz showed the throws and pocket presence that makes him the favourite for MVP. He finished with four touchdowns. At 7-1, the Eagles are the NFC’s powerhouse. Grade A+

A terrible half-ending play aside, where Tyreek Hill scored on a long catch and run, the Cowboys’ defense impressed. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has once again worked well with limited talent, with the D bending but, most crucially, not breaking. Also, Dak Prescott led the attack superbly despite Ezekiel Elliott rushing for just 3.4 yards per carry. The second-year passer made excellent, tight window throws and expertly managed the game on his way to 249 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Grade A

Highlights of the Kansas City Chiefs trip to the Dallas Cowboys in week nine of the NFL

Washington Redskins (W 17-14 @ Seattle)

Washington managed to keep their season alive with a surprise win in Seattle, out-scheming and out-coaching the Seahawks in the crucial moments. Their defense took away the deep ball, while Kirk Cousins added a few more millions to his impending deal with two back-to-back big-boy throws on the game-winning drive. Grade A

New York Giants (L 51-17 v LA Rams)

What a dysfunctional, broken team. If you wanted to sum the Giants up, look no further than the 3rd and 33 wide receiver screen to Robert Woods that went for a touchdown. Head Coach Ben McAdoo is seriously on the hotseat now – his offense is a mess. At 1-7, it is time to quit on this season. Large sections of the team, it would seem, already have. Grade F

NFC NORTH

Detroit Lions (W 30-17 @ Green Bay)

Matthew Stafford rediscovered his best form, and in the perfect setting – a Monday night outing in Green Bay. You’re welcome, Lions fans. The Detroit QB picked apart the Packers defense to the tune of 361 yards and two TDs to get this team back on track in the North. Grade A

Highlights of the Detroit Lions' trip to the Green Packers in week nine of the NFL

Green Bay Packers (L 17-30 v Detroit)

And in the ‘stating the completely obvious’ awards. just how much do the Packers miss Aaron Rodgers? Back-up Brett Hundley continues to be OK, nothing more – 245 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs – but that is not enough… Green Bay have now lost three straight along with that oh-so-missed Rodgers magic. Grade D

Cleveland Browns (Bye)

Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye)

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints (W 30-10 v Tampa Bay)

The Saints have won six in a row! Their approach of running the ball more behind a very good O-line is proving effective. They rushed for 151 yards in this one. This aids the defense, which is full of playmakers, including 2017 draft first-round cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who is having one of the best rookie seasons ever seen. He shutdown Mike Evans and the Buccaneers’ receivers. Add in still-elite quarterback Drew Brees, and this team is a serious contender at 6-2. Grade A+

Sport Illustrated's Pete King reflects on the main talking points from Week 9 in the NFL, including the new and improved New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers (W 20-17 v Atlanta)

Despite trading No 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills, the Panthers offense looked sharp in this victory, finding the optimum blend of Cam Newton’s running ability with quick rhythm passing. The run game in general was dominant to the tune of 201 total yards. Meanwhile, the defensive front is one of the league’s best versus the run, holding Atlanta to only 53 yards. Grade A

Atlanta Falcons (L 20-17 @ Carolina)

Did someone say Super Bowl hangover? Now 4-4, the effects of that 28-point collapse are tangible. Another factor negatively impacting Atlanta is the loss of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to the San Francisco head coaching job. It has left this once-potent offense misfiring under new OC Steve Sarkisian. Losing this close divisional game is a crushing blow that has come at the worst possible time. Grade D

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (L 30-10 @ New Orleans)

This was a make-or-break year for quarterback Jameis Winston and he has had a dreadful season so far, and does not appear to be the most motivational leader either. After leaving the game with a shoulder injury, he instigated a sideline fight which has since seen his best receiver, Mike Evans, get hit with a one-game suspension. In this divisional clash, the offense had just 200 total yards, while the defense gave up an abysmal 401. Grade F

The best teams punish the worst. The Rams, having turned their franchise around under Sean McVay’s stewardship, are one of the best in the NFL right now, and they stomped all over the hapless Giants. Jared Goff, who passed for 311 yards and four touchdowns, is a new player in this intelligent attack. Grade A

Watch Robert Woods' touchdown on 3rd and 33 for the Rams against the Giants

Arizona Cardinals (W 20-10 @ San Francisco)

The Cardinals were the best of the bad duo in this intra-NFC West match-up. The low-risk trade for Adrian Peterson appears to be a great one. With back-up quarterback Drew Stanton lacking in big-play ability, the Cardinals ran AP 37 times for 159 yards and 4.3 yards per carry. In fairness to Stanton, he extended some plays and hit some tough passes, but this is unsustainable against better opponents. Grade B

Seattle Seahawks (L 17-14 v Washington)

This was the sort of loss a Super Bowl contender does not suffer. Facing a depleted, lesser-talented Redskins roster at home, Seattle slipped to 5-3 and second place in the NFC West. Three missed field goals from Blair Walsh was the main factor, though Russell Wilson also disappointed, throwing two interceptions. Grade D

San Francisco 49ers (L 20-10 v Arizona)

This is a terrible football team, as shown by their 0-9 record. One of the leading favourites for the No 1 pick in the 2018 draft, they traded their second-rounder this week for Patriots back-up Jimmy Garoppolo. Until his time comes – presumably after he has fully learnt the Kyle Shanahan offense – expect more of the same. Grade D-

Sourse: skysports.com

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