Tis the holiday season, a season to be filled with happiness and cheer. 16 weeks down of the NFL, 1 week left is all I fear. Tis the season to rejoice on your teams playoff run. Or the season to think, “why are the Bengals win total at one?” So let’s play a game to see if your team has been naughty or nice. And let us see where things need to improve with some much needed advice. We will tell you our top 3 surprises this year, not to make you upset. Then we will tell you our top 3 disappointments we, oh so, regret. So let’s dive in to the holiday spirit and give these teams a toast. And the last team the Cowboys, well, we will just roast!
Pat’s Nice List
- San Francisco 49ers – The San Francisco 49ers held the second pick in the 2019 NFL draft after going 4-12. Although their record was terrible, they had a ton of talent on the defensive end, and were missing their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the year. They had a superb draft, where Joey Bosa looks like the defensive rookie of the year and Deebo Samuel has been making impact plays down the stretch. Before the trade deadline they added another weapon in Emmanuel Sanders for Jimmy G to stretch the field. Their running game has been outstanding this year, being second in the league at 145 yards per game, and of course they have a top notch defense only letting up 19.3 points per game. A win against the Seahawks this week would clinch the top seed, and create a very nice holiday season for 49er fans!
- Buffalo Bills – What an end to the decade has it been for the Buffalo Bills! After 17 seasons with missing the playoffs, the Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs 2 out of the last 3 years. Led by rising quarterback Josh Allen, this offense has become a little more consistent this past year. His growth as a quarterback, coupled with the offseason acquisition of wide receiver John Brown and rookie running back Devin Singletary, has led this team to be 5th in rushing yards and have their first 1000 yard receiver since 2015. The defense, of course, have led this team as the dominant unit, only letting up 16.4ppg. With the ability to get to 11 wins for the first time in the new century, and a potential to win the wild card game, the Bills join our nice list.
- Baltimore Ravens – The Baltimore Ravens have had the nicest season of any NFL team this year. Over the offseason, there was a lot of question marks about this team. Would Lamar Jackson be able to improve their passing? Would the defense continue to be one of the best? Would this team be able to become the AFC’s best? All of these answers have been an outstanding yes. Lamar Jackson is having an MVP year, breaking the season rushing record for a quarterback while adding 36 passing touchdowns. The defense, sparked by trading for Marcus Peters, is 5th in total yards against and 3rd in points against. And of course the Ravens are Super Bowl favorites as they clinched home field in the AFC by beating out the defending champions Patriots. All of this have led to a joyful holiday season in Baltimore putting the Ravens on our nice list.
Pat’s Naughty List
- Los Angeles Chargers – The Chargers are a team loaded with talent. A year removed from one of their best years in recent history, the Chargers find themselves last place in their division. This team has 9 losses of 7 points or less, and one has to question whether or not they are tough enough with the players on this team to grind out victories. Of course, injuries may have hurt this team, and Phillip Rivers had his worse year since 2012 rating wise. Yet, you have to question whether this team will be able to take the next step in becoming a worthy Super Bowl Contender. The sad part of it all is that they may not even have their fans behind them, as numerous times this year they have used the silent count at home. That is just one more reason why they deserve the naughty list.
- Cleveland Browns – There were numerous teams I could think of deserving on this naughty list. However, none was more deserving than the Cleveland Browns. They brought in Odell Beckham Jr and Oliver Vernon via trade, had a quarterback who was supposed to be on the verge of a career year in Baker Mayfield, and the city hoping that for once their team could not only make the playoffs but be a Super Bowl contender. Let us just say none of that has happened! In fact this year has be defined by letdowns by star players, a quarterback who was interception prone, and a season defined by another losing season. We have seen players on this team question their coach, yell to opposing sidelines to get them off of the team, and even a guy use his helmet as a weapon. The Browns clearly earned this spot on our naughty list.
- Dallas Cowboys – The Dallas Cowboys are a team that was destined to be reckoned with. They have a top quarterback in Dak Prescott, top running back in Ezekiel Elliott, and a star wide receiver in Amari Cooper. They have a great offensive line, and some defensive playmakers. They are 1st in total offense, 2nd and 8th in passing and rushing, and 11th in total defense. Yet, the whole spotlight has been on what they cannot do, which is win games. They sit at 7-8, have only beaten two teams with a winning record, and most likely will be making a complete overhaul this offseason with the coaching staff. After this past loss to the Eagles, that seemed to have no playmakers, it seems the Cowboys have become the laughing stock of the sports world. For all of this, we will see the Grinch Jerry Jones continue to express his displeasure with the team as they wrap up our naughty list.
So whether your team has been naughty or nice, this is the time of the year where we hope you are having a healthy and happy holiday season with loved ones. We hope you are all excited for playoff time, and let us hope you have not been place on a naughty list. Well, at least if you were, it’s not our naughty list.