By Jon Ho
Ho Ho Ho. The Christmas season is upon us and with that comes Christmas wish lists for Santa Claus. For NFL fans, each fanbase wants something related to their team. It could be something to buy, someone fired, a player, or simply resolving an issue with the team. So for this list, I will go through what would be on the Christmas wish list for each NFL team's fanbase in the NFC North and South. The only wish I will not include is winning a Super Bowl because everyone wants that.
Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy Fired
When Chicago Bulls fans are cheering for you to get fired, you know it's bad. Things looked promising for Nagy in 2018 when the Bears were 12-4 and he won Coach of the Year, however, since then it has been downhill. Now the Bears are 4-9 and the offense (which is supposed to be Nagy’s specialty) is ranked 28th in points per game. He is not the only problem with the Bears but clearly, it is time to move on from Nagy and maybe with Ryan Pace too. Justin Fields needs to develop with the right coach and Nagy failed to develop Mitch Trubisky.
Detroit Lions: A Therapist
Lions fans came into this year with low expectations, and somehow it has been worse. The Lions are terrible offensively, ranked 30th in points per game, and terrible on defense, being ranked 29th in points per game. Jared Goff has been terrible and is proving more and more that he was a product of Sean McVay. They only have one win on the season and they have some excruciating losses like losing to the Ravens on a 66-yard field goal or losing to the Vikings when they only had 33 seconds left to get into field goal range. They barely won against the Vikings to avoid being the first winless team in a 17 game season. So for Lions, the best Christmas gift is to get a therapist to discuss how to cope with these Lions losses and why they chose to be Lions fans in the first place.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers To Stay In Green Bay
With the exception of the Week 1 loss to the Saints, and the whole Aaron Rodgers vaccine status debacle, the Packers have had a very good season this year. They have the best record in the NFC despite having injuries to some of their best players like David Bakhtiari, Za'Darius Smith, Aaron Jones, and Jaire Alexander. In a league of inconsistent teams and a ton of upset losses, the Packers look like the most consistent team in the NFC along with the Cardinals. So the obvious wish for Packers fans is for Aaron Rodger to confirm that he will come back to the Packers next season. During the offseason, Aaron Rodgers requested to be traded and his contract is structured to make 2021 his last season with the Packers. So Packer fans are hoping that he stays because once he leaves the Packers window for a Super Bowl will close.
Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer Fired
Arguably the most frustrating team in the NFL this year is the Vikings. They have had impressive wins that show they are a playoff team, beating the Chargers and Packers. Then they have losses in games that they should have won like against the Cardinals, the Ravens, and the Dak Prescott-less Cowboys. They have the makings of a playoff team with Kirk Cousins throwing the ball exceptionally well so far this season. Plus they have Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Eric Kendricks on the roster. However, the Vikings are currently 6-7 and are right outside the playoffs. Losing to the winless Lions is definitely the low point of the season. It seems Vikings fans want changes and firing Mike Zimmer seems to be on the top of that list. Zimmer has been the head coach since 2014 and, ever since the 2018 NFC Championship game they have regressed every single season. If they do not make the playoff I can't see Zimmer coming back.
Atlanta Falcons: Offensive Line
The Falcons came into this season with decent expectations, and they have not met a lot of those exceptions. The defense is bad, which isn’t too surprising since it seems the Falcons can never have a good defense, as they ranked 28th in points allowed per game. The offense on the other hand, which head coach Arthur Smith was supposed to fix, has also been underwhelming. The best thing to say about the Falcons is that they are good at beating the lower-level teams like the Jets or Jaguars. There are many reasons for the underwhelming offense, but the biggest issue is the offensive line. They cannot run the ball well, and whenever Matt Ryan drops back to pass there is pressure in his face.
Carolina Panthers: A Quarterback
The Panthers have proven to have a very solid all-around team. The defense has emerged as one of the better in the NFL, and the offense has some solid pieces like Christian McCaffrey (when he is not injured), DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson. However, the biggest issue with this team is the quarterback. Sam Darnold started the year playing well, but reverted back to his Jets form with interceptions and now is hurt. Cam Newton was brought back, and he is clearly not the same Newton from 2015. If this team had a good quarterback they would be competing for a playoff spot.
New Orleans Saints: A Quarterback
Like the Panther, the Saints have a solid all-around team. They have a good defense, especially at stopping the run game. Plus they also still have Alvin Kamara and that elite offensive line when Drew Brees was with the team. And yet, the offense has struggled this year because of a lack of wide receivers and issues at the quarterback position. The Wide Receiver core has not been the same since Michael Thomas’ absence, and they have not found a suitable replacement for Drew Brees. When Jameis Winston was the starter, he was okay as they went 5-2. Since he got injured, they are 1-5 and Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill have been underwhelming. If they do not find some stability at the QB position they are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No More Antonio Brown Controversy
The Buccaneers are one of the heavy favorites to come out of the NFC and to repeat as Super Bowl Championships. You have Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, and Leonard Fournette on the offense and Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, Lavonte David, and Devin White on defense. Both sides of the ball have been inconsistent, mainly the defense, but when they click the Bucs look like the best team in the NFL. The one wish for many Bucs fans would be for Antonio Brown to be on the team and avoid any more controversies. Recently, Brown got suspended 3 games for having a fake vaccination card. While Brown is not as good as he was in his prime, he is one of Brady’s favorite weapons. When he plays the Bucs are 5-0 and when he is out they are 5-3. So if the Bucs want to repeat AB might play a role in that.
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