NFL 2021: Grades, aftermath for teams coming off Week 9 bye

NFL 2021 - Tom Brady. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NFL 2021 - Tom Brady. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Four teams from the NFC didn’t play in Week 9. What kind of season has it been so far for the Lions, Seahawks, Buccaneers, and the Washington Football Team?

The NFL has reached the halfway point of its 18-week regular season. Last week, the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Washington Football Team had some extra time to regroup.

With the exception of the defending Super Bowl champions, the other three teams brought losing records into their off weeks. So how has 2021 gone so far for all four clubs? And what took place in their respective divisions while they were getting some rest?

NFL 2021: Grades for teams coming off Week 9 Bye

Detroit Lions (0-8)

Dan Campbell brought a lot of enthusiasm to the Motor City and the club has played better in many regards. It has translated into heartbreaking setbacks to the Ravens and Vikings as well as lopsided losses to the Bengals and Eagles.

Quarterback Jared Goff’s first season with the club has had its ups and downs. He has more turnovers (10) than touchdown passes (8). And the Lions continue to give up points (30.5 per game) at a very disturbing pace.

Grade: D

Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

Eight outings into the season and it’s been a rough year for the reigning NFC West champions, who have already lost more games than a season ago and have spent their last three contests dealing with the absence of veteran quarterback Russell Wilson. Be it the latter or backup Geno Smith, pass protection remains an issue as each has been sacked 13 times apiece. And could Wilson be back on Sunday at Green Bay (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson)?

Grade: C-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

When last the reigning Lombardi Trophy winners were on the field, the club was down big at New Orleans, rallied to take the lead but couldn’t hold it in a 36-27 setback to the Saints. Quarterback Tom Brady is having a big year, leading the NFL with 25 touchdown passes. Bruce Arians’ team is averaging a league-best 32.5 points per game. The Bucs have a very-respectable 14 takeaways. But there has been the occasional hiccup this season.

Grade: A-

Washington Football Team (2-6)

It was supposed to be a better year for the reigning NFC East champions, who captured a division title a year ago with a 7-9 record and then gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers a run for their money in the wild card round. But a defense that showed signs of being fearsome in 2020 has yet to recapture that scary form this season. All told, Ron Rivera’s disappointing club has totaled a mediocre 19 sacks while allowing 29 TD passes.

Grade: D+


It was an interesting Week 9 as more than half of the schedule featured interconference match-ups. And the NFC took it on the chin in seven of those eight clashes. The lone team from the conference to win in this instance had the Giants surprising the Raiders. The Lions were the only team in the NFC North not to lose this past week because they didn’t play.

The Arizona Cardinals made it tougher for the Seahawks in the NFC West by raising their record to 8-1 by beating the 49ers, with the Rams losing as well. The Bucs could have had company atop the NFC South but the rival Falcons stunned the Saints at New Orleans. And while the Giants won, the Cowboys and Eagles both fell at home on Sunday.