Throughout their 4-12 season, the Lions maintained they were a far better team than their record indicated. Statistically, they're right. Detroit ranked in the middle to upper part of the NFL in several key categories that proved it possessed the talent to win.
The Bills had raised expectations heading into 2012 after one of their most productive offseasons in team history. Instead, it was more of the same old, same old.
Dolphins first-year coach Joe Philbin did his best with a very limited roster, keeping his team in the playoff hunt until the final week of the regular season. But too often, the team came out flat or failed to maximize its veterans' skills.
The Cowboys began the season with injuries and they continued throughout the season. Still, Dallas had a shot to make the playoffs in a Week 17 showdown with the Redskins.
Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense weren't able to build on 2011, but the Carolina defense showed strong improvement. Here's how the different components of the team graded out:
It's difficult to point to a single factor that led to the Giants' demise in 2012 as all their units played well and poorly at various times.
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Raiders went 4-12 under rookie coach Dennis Allen and first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie. The high hopes vanished during an ugly six-game losing streak from Weeks 9-14 when the Raiders were outscored 215-109. The Raiders missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season.
Romeo Crennel dug into a desperate bag of tricks to try to figure out how to fix the Chiefs, but he never found the answer.
The Chicago Bears faced a steep grading curve in 2012 considering they had to make the playoffs or face a coaching change. When they started out 7-1, the curve became even steeper and made their ultimate collapse all the more severe.
The 2012 Jets had hoped to return to their AFC Championship form of 2009 and 2010 after an 8-8 2011 season. It was not to be.

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