‘Tis the season everybody. Not the Christmas season, but rather the NFL season.
The only fat man in red I care about right now is Andy Ried. Why deck the halls when you can deck the quarterback? However, in the spirit of giving, I went through each division and asked every team what they wanted for Christmas. This is what they said:
Buffalo Bills: Cocaine
Bills Mafia is going to have a strong line one way or another, and they certainly don’t have one on the field. The Bills O-Line can’t do anything right. They have only blocked well enough for their backs to earn 3.9 YPC, which is so much less excusable with LeSean McCoy in the backfield. They haven’t been any better in pass protection because Josh Allen missed several weeks after getting hurt on one of 34 sacks allowed by this pathetic group.
Miami Dolphins: Lucky Charms
Give Miami the hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers and blue moons, hourglasses, rainbows, and tasty red balloons. It’s going to take all of the luck in the world for the Dolphins to get into the playoffs. Miami is currently one game out of the second wild-card spot but is trending in a much different direction than the teams around them. Miami will need Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Denver to cool off in a big way if they want to be playing football in January. Good luck with that.
New England Patriots: Gunny Shoes
Don’t know what that is? SACKS people! The Patriots just aren’t getting them this year. Turns out if you trade away your best pass rushers, you run out of pass rushers. New England’s 17 sacks are the third-fewest in the league so far. It will be hard for the Pats to win the AFC again without putting pressure on the opposing QB. Especially with how well Mahomes, Roethlisberger, and Rivers are playing.
New York Jets: Pick Up Sticks
Doesn’t a game about moving the sticks sound delightful? Maybe it will be practice for the Jets because they can’t move the sticks on third down. New York is only converting 30.1% of their third downs, third worst in the league.
Baltimore Ravens: Fresh Turnovers
The Ravens are hungry. Their defense ranks first in yards and points allowed per game, but they only have 14 turnovers this season after leading the league last year. The secondary has been playing outstanding, but they have not intercepted a pass in six games. The Ravens are going to need more turnovers to stay in the wild-card race when they take on elite offenses like the Falcons, Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Chargers.
Cincinnati Bengals: A Fire Pit
The Bengals are already looking forward to long nights around the fire this spring. What is on the fire this offseason? Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson, Mike Brown, Bill Lazor, and pretty much anybody else that stinks of this current regime on them. The Bengals have been such an absolute disaster since opening the season 5-0 that the defense is now giving up a comical 439.6 yards per game at this point. At least we used to be able to chirp Marvin Lewis for losing in the playoffs, but he isn’t even getting close anymore and it’s almost sad at this point.
Cleveland Browns: A Head Chef
The Browns have a lot cooking in their kitchen right now. The lineup is riddled with playmakers and this group may finally put the pieces together in northern Ohio. The one thing they don’t have is a man to lead the bunch. Hue Jackson is finally out, but the Brownies need somebody to help their Baker learn. Perhaps Kliff Kingsbury?
Pittsburgh Steelers: New Running Shoes
The Steelers have many things going well for them right now, but a rushing attack is not one of them. Pittsburgh is only 27th in the league in rushing yards per game with 95.6. James Conner owns the third most rushing yards in the NFL this year, but there is nobody else in the Pittsburgh backfield. Conner’s 5.0 YPC in wins and 3.0 YPC in loses shows that teams can stop Conner and stop Pittsburgh’s entire ground game in the process. You would have to figure Belichick has already noticed that too.
Denver Broncos: New Glasses
The Broncos front office clearly wasn’t seeing very well when they signed Case Keenum to a 2-year, $36M contract this offseason. The near-sighted Broncos could only see Keenum’s small sample size with the Vikings, leaving his poor performance with the Rams behind. The tape on Keenum would have told them Keenum wasn’t very good and his QBR this season confirms it. Keenum ranks 27th out of 31 eligible quarterbacks. This Denver team is playing really well too, but they aren’t headed anywhere without production under center.
Kansas City Chiefs: A Nose Job
Kansas City is getting run all over, surrendering 5.0 ypc to opposing running backs this season. Perhaps a new nose could lift their defense out of the bottom of the league, a new nose tackle that is. Derrick Nnadi is an average at best, but certainly not the sort of two-gap monster that could turn this defense around.
Los Angeles Chargers: A Red Rubber Ball
Maybe one of these bad boys from gym class would help the Chargers kicking woes. Chargers kickers are 15-20 on the season, but any time “kickers” is plural the team is having a rough time. Remember, kicking problems is not new for the Chargers. They lost multiple games last year on last-second missed kicks. It would be a shame if it cost them in the playoffs this year.
Oakland Raiders: Sick Shades and a Hawaiian Shirt
The Raiders have gone full tank. New HC Jon Gruden shipped out his two best players this season and the Raiders are reaping the rewards. They are favorites to win the first overall pick this offseason. Oakland is focused more on becoming Vegas than fielding a decent football team. I personally love the move, because who cares about pissing off fans that already hate your guts for leaving. No better way to prep for Sin City than with nice sunglasses and a quality Tommy Bahama Hawaiian to get into the tourist spirit. Side note: anybody left in the black hole is loyal as hell and should be wifed up immediately.
Houston Texans: Doesn’t Matter, Just Save the Receipt
The Texans are being realistic, they will just want to return whatever they get. Houston needs a big return in the worst way. They haven’t scored on a return of any kind this year, not a single INT, fumble, kick-off, or punt. The Texans are itching to return something to take some pressure off the offense.
Indianapolis Colts: A New GI Joe
Don’t expect the Colts to get what they want. Indy is on the naughty list this year, leading the league in penalties. The Colts have been flagged 92 times for 833 yards. They are right in the heart of the wild card discussion, but they can’t keep shooting themselves in the foot.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jugs Machine
It can’t possibly worse than the Blake Bortles/Cody Kessler combo the Jags currently are using at QB. A Jugs Machine will at least chuck the ball out randomly instead of strictly at defending CBs.
Tennessee Titans: LEGOs
The Titans asked for the classic building blocks for their line that can’t block. Their offensive line has given up 39 sacks this season, including 11 against the Ravens. Pressure on Marcus Mariota is a huge reason why this team is falling out of the playoff picture.
Dallas Cowboys: Duct Tape
If you’re Jason Garrett, you need to be wrapping your running backs arms in duct tape so they can’t fumble again. Cowboys backs have fumbled 8 times this season. Zeke Elliot alone has 4. You can’t turn the ball over and win football games. So tape that ball to their hands like they’re playing Edward 40 Hands.
Philadelphia Eagles: A Time Machine
Philly ain’t so special right now. Carson Wentz isn’t the MVP candidate he was before his injury last year and this defense is leakier than a burst pipe. It seems best for the Eagles to go back in time to last season and remember their greatest hits.
New York Giants: A Rolex
There is no better way to tell time than a Rolex. Maybe if Eli had one he would realize it’s time to retire. Eli’s 48 QBR is somehow worse than Blake Bortles. Eli has all the weapons around him to be a successful quarterback, he just can’t get it done anymore. Then again, the jury is still out on if Eli can even read a watch because he certainly can’t read a defense.
Washington Redskins: WD-40
Want to loosen something up? Grab some WD-40. The Redskins need to loosen up opposing running backs grip on the football. Washington has only forced two running backs to fumble this season. Forcing more fumbles and creating a short field would do wonders for Colt McCoy as Washington fights to keep pace with Dallas.
Chicago Bears: A Box of Trojans
The Bears need protection. Protection of the football. Their 15 giveaways this year are 10th most in the league. Their defense will ball out if given the chance, so if the offense can protect the rock and not put the defense in short fields, this team will win more often than not.
Detroit Lions: Deal or No Deal Game
The Lions would be wise to say No Deal to Matthew Stafford. Stafford’s cap hit is growing while his on-field performance keeps declining. Stafford has perhaps the most serious case of Flacco Syndrome seen in some time, his 49.0 QBR puts his with the likes of Blake Bortles and Case Keenum. Stafford has turned the ball over 15 times this year, compared to only 17 touchdowns. He just is not worth $30M a year. No Deal.
Green Bay Packers: The Mike and Molly Box Set
The sitcom was uninspired, much like the Packers this year. Aaron Rodger is reportedly trying his hardest to pull a CBS and get a McCarthy canceled. Aaron is treating his head coach like family, which isn’t a good thing for the Rodgers clan.
Minnesota Vikings: A Stretch Armstrong
Perhaps you only know the classic toy from his cameo in a Honda commercial, but Stretch Armstrong was the original stretching action figure. He could stretch to about 5 times his original size. If only Kirk Cousins could stretch the field. Cousins ranks last in the NFL in yards per completion at 10.3. That is unacceptable for a quarterback with Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen on the outside.
Arizona Cardinals: A Geometry Book
While it may seem as simple as y=mx+b to most of use, the Cardinals have no clue what to do with lines. Their unit ranks dead last in Pro Football Focus’ Offensive Line Rankings. Much like the Bills, the Cardinals poor line play has injured their rookie QB and made their Pro Bowl running back useless. At least the Cardinals can blame injuries for their struggles, but their porous blocking makes it dangerous to play in that backfield.
Los Angeles Rams: A Gold Chain
The Rams were supposed to have an elite defense this year, but that is far from the case. A huge reason for that is an injury to Aqib Talib and poor performances from Marcus Peters. Nobody loves a gold chain quite like Talib, who twice snatched one from Michael Crabtree. Talib is gearing up to come off IR this week, which would be a huge boost to the Rams secondary. Talib can shadow the top wideouts, taking the load off Peters.
San Francisco 49ers: Parental Controls
The 49ers were a trendy pick to win the division this summer, but things all went downhill when QB Jimmy Garrapolo went on a date with porn star Kiara Mia. Garrapolo took Mia out to a nice restaurant, made her “tap out”, and promptly tore his ACL. Coincidence? Absolutely. But better put some parental controls up to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Seattle Seahawks: A Stuffed Animal
Seattle is desperately longing for something to be stuffed because opposing running backs certainly aren’t. Seattle is giving up 5.3 ypc, worst in the league. Seattle is getting gashed on the ground as opponents pound the hole and control the clock. If the Seahawks want to make a playoff run, they can’t keep getting run over.
Atlanta Falcons: A Quilted Blanket
The Falcons are dreaming of a cornerback who can blanket opposing wide receivers. Atlanta is currently starting Robert Alford on the outside, which is the equivalent of starting a traffic cone. A shutdown corner would do wonders for an Atlanta team giving up 273 yards per game through the air.
Carolina Panthers: A Crock Pot
Carolina needs a new pressure cooker to put some heat on the quarterback. The Panthers have only mustered up 25 sacks this season, good for 23rd in the league. The Panthers suddenly find themselves in a clusterfuck of potential wildcard teams in the NFC. They will need to get after the QB in order to separate from the pack.
New Orleans Saints: A Men Without Hats CD
S-A-F-E-T-Y! Opposing QBs are thinking “We can throw if we want to.” So a new safety dancing in the defensive backfield would do wonders in the Big Easy. Kurt Coleman has played poorly all year, and the Saints can only rely solely on Drew Brees’ arm for so long. The loss this week likely means a trip to LA in the playoffs. I mean, as long as they don’t get exposed before then.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A Magician Set
The Bucs are looking for just a little more FitzMagic this year. This team has been switching back and forth between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston all year, but a late-season hot streak by Fitzpatrick would bring some stability to a team in turmoil. Neither guy is the answer long-term, but switching QBs so often cannot be good for a locker room.
So there you have it. Hopefully, Santa Claus can deliver for some of these teams before Philly pelts him with snowballs again.
Photo: Baltimore Beatdown