NFL 2023: Grades for teams coming off Week 11 bye

Nov 10, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany;  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the
Nov 10, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Time flies when you’re having a football season full of surprises. There are just seven weeks remaining in NFL 2023. There is till a lot to learn when it comes to the serious contenders.

Last week, the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and New Orleans Saints had time to ponder their 10-game starts. What kind of grade has each team earned this year?

NFL 2023: Grades for teams coming off Week 11 Bye

Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

There were high expectations for Arthur Smith’s team following a productive offseason via free agency, trades and April’s draft. It hasn’t quite come together as of yet and the Falcons suddenly find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder has struggled to hold onto the football and Taylor Heinicke hasn’t been the answer. Could Bijan Robinson get more carries down the stretch? The defense has recently been shaky late in games. Still, the Falcons own a 2-0 divisional mark.

Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

Shane Steichen’s club has taken its lumps, which includes a three-game losing streak. However, the Colts have managed to split their first 10 games and have one more victory than they managed a season ago. That means the team, featuring an inconsistent defense, is right in the midst of the AFC playoff picture.

Veteran Gardner Minshew has always had ball security issues and this season is no exception. However, this team has made far fewer mistakes than last year’s edition that led the NFL with 34 turnovers.

Grade: C

New England Patriots (2-8)

It has been a forgettable year in Foxborough. The Patriots not only have the worst record in the AFC, but Bill Belichick’s team hasn’t beat a team outside of the division this season. That includes a dismal 0-4 record vs. NFC teams, with embarrassing losses to the Cowboys (38-3) and Saints (34-0) along the way.

New England has managed only 15 offensive touchdowns while committing 16 turnovers in 10 contests. The Pats have had four of those miscues returned for score, and Mac Jones has 12 of those 16 giveaways.

Grade: D

New Orleans Saints (5-5)

Dennis Allen’s club remains a bit of a mystery on both sides of the ball. The Saints’ defense is ranked eighth in the league in fewest total yards and fewest passing yards allowed. Yes, this unit has been mediocre against the run, especially as of late, and that has proven to be very costly at times.

Quarterback Derek Carr has yet to really hit his stride with his new team. Nonetheless, the Saints are atop the NFC South, at least for now. This week’s visit to Atlanta is followed by a three-game homestand.

Grade: C