Some people may not like Professor Marvez's tough grades, but let's check out his marks as NFL teams finish the third quarter and head for the home stretch.
Tom Lynn/Associated PressTom Lynn
New York Jets: F
The “butt fumble” wasn’t the lowest point of Rex Ryan’s tenure as Jets head coach. The entire 2014 season has proven a debacle with even worse quarterback play from Geno Smith and Mike Vick than Mark Sanchez was providing in 2012. (Even in victory, pictured above, Rex looks perplexed.)
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY SportsEd Mulholland
The never-ending rebuilding process continues. The Jaguars are taking their lumps with rookie quarterback Blake Bortles under center. The defense also needs more upgrades in the offseason for Jacksonville to become a contender once again.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportRobert Hanashiro
Ken Whisenhunt’s debut season as head coach has gone as poorly as his team’s quarterback play with three different starters. The defense is no great shakes either with a leaky secondary.
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY SporCrystal LoGiudice
Tampa Bay: F
It has been a disastrous debut season for Lovie Smith as Tampa Bay’s head coach. Tampa Bay still has questions at the quarterback position and a defense that has struggled to learn Smith’s trademark Tampa 2 scheme.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Another lousy season hit rock bottom with last Sunday’s 52-0 shutout loss to St. Louis. The only redeeming parts of the 2014 campaign: a promising rookie draft class and avoiding a winless season by upsetting Kansas City in Week 12.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY SportsCary Edmondson
The seeds for a lousy year were planted in the offseason with the inability to adequately address the offensive line, secondary and wide receiver positions because of salary cap restraints. Nagging injuries to quarterback Cam Newton and the de facto suspension of defensive end Greg Hardy following a domestic-violence incident compounded the problems.
Jim Mone/Associated PressJim Mone
New York Giants: D-
What may be Tom Coughlin’s final season as head coach has turned ugly. The Giants enter December with seven straight losses, including last Sunday’s 25-24 collapse against Jacksonville in which New York squandered a 21-point lead.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY SportsAdam Hunger
Quarterback Robert Griffin III isn’t Washington’s only problem. Jay Gruden’s first season as head coach was marred by poor offensive line play and the NFL’s 27th-ranked scoring defense (26.8-point average).
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
The defensive struggles aren’t a surprise because of injuries and suspect personnel in the back seven. What remains a shock: How much Chicago’s offense has regressed despite having almost entirely the same talent as last season.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY SportsGreg M. Cooper
The absence of running back Adrian Peterson and rookie growing pains for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater were too much for the 2014 Vikings to overcome. On the bright side, there is a slew of young talent that should make Minnesota a legitimate playoff contender for 2015.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportBrace Hemmelgarn
New Orleans: C-
Widely considered a Super Bowl contender entering the preseason, New Orleans is arguably the league’s biggest disappointment in 2014. The Saints, though, still control their own fate and are guaranteed to capture the NFC South by winning their final four games.
Although a shell of the team that reached the NFC Championship game two seasons ago, the Falcons have continued to play hard despite crushing late-game collapses against Detroit and Cleveland.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
St. Louis: C-
If the Rams had played as well in September and October as they did in November, St. Louis would be vying for a playoff spot. Instead, the Rams are relegated to a December spoiler role with big division games remaining against Arizona and Seattle.
Getty ImagesDilip Vishwanat
J.J. Watt is a shoe-in for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and running back Arian Foster is headed toward a 1,000-yard rushing season. The Texans, though, enter December lagging in the playoff race because of an inconsistent passing attack.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Even if Cleveland falls short of the playoffs, head coach Mike Pettine deserves credit for helping to change the losing environment that had enshrouded the Browns organization. The next step for the Browns is to get more consistent play at quarterback -- whether it’s from Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel -- down the homestretch.
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
While losses to struggling teams like Tampa Bay and the New York Jets are maddening, the Steelers (7-5) remain in the postseason hunt largely because of the stellar play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
APGene J. Puskar
Kansas City: C+
The 2014 Chiefs have enjoyed plenty of bright spots, particularly the blossoming of second-year tight end Travis Kelce and pass rush provided by outside linebacker Justin Houston. But two straight losses – including a road defeat against previously winless Oakland – have put a huge dent in Kansas City’s playoff aspirations.
Getty ImagesPeter G. Aiken
San Francisco: C+
“A house divided cannot stand” rings true in San Francisco, where in-fighting continues between team management and head coach Jim Harbaugh. The offensive line’s slippage and Colin Kaepernick’s struggles as a passer have too frequently proven too much for a stout defense to overcome.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportDerick E. Hingle
The Ravens need improvement in their secondary to remain in the postseason hunt. Playing without cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot), Baltimore has surrendered more than 300 passing yards in three of its last four games.
This is the best team Joe Philbin has fielded during his three-year tenure as Miami’s head coach. The continued development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill is especially encouraging, although the Dolphins have little room for error in December when it comes to making the playoffs.
If it weren’t for J.J. Watt, Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams (12 sacks) would be a bona fide contender for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Williams leads a unit that has helped carry the Bills into late-season playoff contention despite offensive deficiencies.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY SporTimothy T. Ludwig
San Diego: B
Just like in 2013, the Chargers are getting on a late-season roll. San Diego rebounded from a three-game losing streak to win its past three contests, although the bar gets raised Sunday when New England visits Qualcomm Stadium.
The freefall that often afflicts the Lions in the second half of the season is being skirted so far under first-year head coach Jim Caldwell. The defense is playoff-caliber, but an injury plagued offense needs improvement for Detroit to secure a postseason berth.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY SportsTim Fuller
The Cowboys have come back to earth with a 2-2 record in November. Several extra days of rest following Thursday night’s game at Chicago will provide a much-needed break with upcoming matchups against Philadelphia and Indianapolis.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
The Seahawks finally began showing last year’s Super Bowl form by beating Arizona and San Francisco in consecutive weeks. The health of running back Marshawn Lynch (back) will be a key factor for Seattle down the stretch.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Although inconsistent on defense and struggling to run the football, having Andrew Luck at quarterback helps compensate for many of the Colts’ weaknesses. He leads the NFL in passing yards (4,011) and touchdowns (34).
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
The Bengals hold a 1½-game lead in the AFC North, but it’s hard to feel too confident about Cincinnati breaking its three-year streak of opening-game playoff losses unless quarterback Andy Dalton shows more consistency and takes better care of the football.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
Injuries are finally catching up with the Cardinals, who are coming off consecutive road losses to Seattle and Atlanta. In particular, the offense has stalled since Drew Stanton replaced Carson Palmer (knee) at quarterback in Week 10.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
The ability to run the football with unheralded back C.J. Anderson has added a sorely missing dimension to Denver’s offense. The Broncos also are excelling defensively, especially against the run.
Getty ImagesPeter Aiken/Getty Images
An aggressive defense and the surprising play of quarterback Mark Sanchez has the Eagles soaring, although upcoming back-to-back games against Seattle and Dallas will go a long ways toward determining whether Philadelphia can procure a first-round playoff bye.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
New England: A
A close road loss to Green Bay last Sunday does nothing to diminish the Patriots’ standing as the AFC’s top team heading into December. Wrapping up the AFC East is the first order of business toward landing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Getty ImagesJared Wickerham/Getty Images
Green Bay: A
The superlative play of the Aaron Rodgers-led offense isn’t the most exciting part about the 2014 Packers. That honor belongs to a defense that is the best Green Bay has fielded since its Super Bowl-winning 2010 season.