Every team in the National Football League has now played at least eight games this season.
Hence let's take a look at each club in the NFL and how they've performed at the halfway point (or slightly more in some instances).
We'll take some time this week to see what each team has done well this season, what improvement(s) need to be made and assign a grade to each club based on performance and combined with expectations. And to make things easy, we will do it on a divisional basis.
And feel free to give out your own grade(s) as well…
Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
Nice Work: The occasional untimely interception aside, quarterback Tony Romo remains the workhorse of an imbalanced Dallas attack. The former Pro Bowler has thrown more than three times as many touchdown passes (20) as interceptions (6) this season. And one year after the Cowboys were next-to-last in the NFL in rushing yards per game, Jason Garrett's club ranks only 27th in 2013. And here's a shout out to wide receiver Dwayne Harris, who may be the league's best overall special teams player this season…
Needs Work: Only the Philadelphia Eagles have given up more total yards and more passing yards per game in the NFL than the Cowboys this season. It is somewhat surprising considering that only the Kansas City Chiefs (23) have forced more turnovers than Jason Garrett's club in 2013. The Cowboys have totaled 21 takeaways, tied for second in the league with the Seattle Seahawks, but they have also made a habit of blowing double-digit leads this season…
Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
Nice Work: Watching former Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy do his thing is an absolute pleasure. The versatile performer missed four games last season. But he has been healthy to date and these days has been battling Kansas City's Jamaal Charles all season for the NFL rushing title, as well as the league lead for total yards from scrimmage. Could McCoy be the real catalyst for the team's stretch run?
Needs Work: Defense. Defense. Did we mention the defense? Kelly's unit entered Week 10 having allowed the most total yards and rushing yards per game in the league. Things have been somewhat better as of late. But unfortunately when the Birds have reached some greater heights on the defensive side of the ball (in particular the home losses to the Cowboys and Giants), the offense has let the team down…
Washington Redskins (3-6)
Nice Work: For those who had the notion that running back Alfred Morris might have been a one-hit wonder a year ago as a rookie, think again. Nine games into 2013 and the sixth-round pick from last season has run for 825 yards this season. Also worth a mention is rookie tight end Jordan Reed, a third-round pick from Florida in April who ranks second on the team in receptions…
Needs Work: While it would be easy just to point to the team's 16 turnovers in nine games (Washington totaled a league-low 14 turnovers in 2012), you can't let the Redskins' woeful defense off the hook. The 34-27 Thursday night loss to the Minnesota Vikings (in which Shanahan's team owned a 27-14 lead) marked the sixth time this season that the 'Skins had allowed 31 or more points…
New York Giants (2-6)
Nice Work: Victor Cruz has carved out a nice career to date and continues to be the team's most reliable receiver. The former undrafted free agent turned Pro Bowler leads the team with 47 receptions, good for 677 yards and four touchdowns. It would be amazing to see what kind of numbers he and quarterback Eli Manning would put up if the New York ground game ever gets untracked.
Needs Work: How about hanging onto the football. Eight games into 2013 and Coughlin's club has coughed it up a league-high 25 times, four more than all of last season. The biggest culprit has been Manning, who has 17 of those miscues (15 interceptions , 2 lost fumbles). Is it any wonder that the two-time Super Bowl MVP is completing only 55.7 percent of his throws this season?
Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.
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