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The CHARGED Elite Week Fourteen: Christmas Edition

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The holidays are approaching. What is on each team’s list?

The CHARGED Elite Week Fourteen: Christmas Edition

It's almost Christmas, so I decided to spice up this week's edition of the CHARGED Elite.  The rankings will commence as usual, but we received a hot tip from the North Pole.  CHARGED.fm got exclusive access to the Christmas lists for all 32 NFL teams.  Santa Claus is a big football fan, so he tries his best to get what each team needs.  Without further adieu, let's see what each team desires from old Kris Kringle. 

1. Green Bay Packers (13-0, Last Week 1) - A Healthy Greg Jennings: This was a last minute edition to Green Bay's Christmas list, but no Jennings would be a tough loss for the Packers.  They certainly have enough depth at the position, but part of Jordy Nelson's success is the attention paid to Jennings.  Santa has three weeks to get Jennings ready for the Playoffs, and it looks like Green Bay will get what they want.

2. Baltimore Ravens (10-3, Last Week 2) - A Consistent Joe Flacco: Baltimore has all of the pieces for a Super Bowl run, and they've won it all with an average quarterback.  But that team has a force to be reckoned with defensively.  This one has holes.  The difference is Joe Flacco, but he has been wildly inconsistent this season.  Sometimes he's great and other times he's miserable.  If Flacco can produce like we know he can, Baltimore should be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.

3. New Orleans Saints (10-3, Last Week 3) - A First Round Bye: New Orleans is just a different team when they are playing on the road.  They have lost just three games at home over the last two seasons, and the team just feeds off the crowd at the Superdome.  The first seed is out of reach, but San Francisco's struggles have opened up the door for a first round bye.  If New Orleans can secure that two seed, I feel sorry for their second round opponent.

4. New England Patriots (10-3, Last Week 4) - More Gronkowskis: Rob Gronkowski is absolutely dominating the NFL right now.  He set the single-season TD record for a tight end with two more, and there are still three weeks remaining.  This begs the question why the other Gronkowskis aren't being utilized yet.  I know one is in college, but he can come in due time.  If Bill Belichick had access to a team of just Grokowskis, it wouldn't be a question of whether the Patriots won.  It would be by how much.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3, Last Week 6) - An Easy Win: Pittsburgh has made winning ugly a habit this season.  They only won just a handful of games comfortably.  Obviously playing in games like these might make playing tight games in the postseason easier.  But it's awfully tough to watch such a talented team struggle like this.  An easy win would be welcome in Pittsburgh any day now, Santa Claus.

6. Houston Texans (10-3, Last Week 7) - No More Injuries: It's amazing what the Texans have been able to accomplish with their slew of injuries.  They are scraping by with a third-string quarterback and have lost their best players on offense and defense.  Still, this team continues to win.  They can ill-afford to lose any more key contributors, though.  Santa will do his best to protect the likes of Arian Foster and Brian Cushing the rest of the year.

7. San Francisco 49ers (10-3, Last week 5) - A Healthy Patrick Willis: San Fran's valuable linebacker missed just his second game as a pro last week.  He didn't practice all week, and hamstring injuries are always very delicate.  If Willis can't play at his best, it's a big blow for the 49ers.  But if some generous gift-giver from the North guaranteed a certain players' health, I'm sure a certain rookie coach would be grateful. 

8. Atlanta Falcons (8-5, Last Week 8) - A Complete Game: The Falcons came into this season with a lot of hype, and at 8-5 they are still a solid football team.  But they haven't looked dominant in many of their games.  Atlanta has jumped out to big leads, but then let teams back in.  They have gotten off to slow starts and had to play from behind.  The Falcons have the offense to play with anyone, but they haven't put everything together quite yet.  With some guys finally getting healthy, now is the perfect time for the Falcons to gel.

9. Denver Broncos (8-5, Last Week 10) - Less Tebow Coverage: The heaps of praise/criticism/overall attention that Tim Tebow is receiving is pretty ridiculous.  Peter King said yesterday that Tebow receives over 100 media requests a week.  He figured that it's only about 83 minutes a week, but dealing with that kind of thing can become a distraction.  How is the man supposed to prepare for his next game when he has all of these media obligations?  He's been successful dealing with it so far, but Denver would probably like his media requests to go down. 

10. New York Jets (8-5, Last Week 12) - More Trips to the "Money Zone": After New York's win over the Chiefs last week, head coach Rex Ryan talked about the improvement of the Jets' play in the red zone, or the "Money Zone" as they like to call it on the sideline.  Since they started calling it this, he says the Jets have been the best team in football at scoring there.  I'm sure Ryan and the rest of the offense would gladly take more trips to the Money Zone if they can keep scoring touchdowns at a high rate.

11. Detroit Lions (8-5, Last Week 15) - A Calm Ndamukong Suh: Suh will return from his two-game suspension this week, and they need their Pro-Bowl tackle to produce the rest of the way.  More importantly, they need Suh to handle his emotions.  He's shown that he has a short temper, but Detroit can't afford to lose any more playmakers on the defensive side.  Hopefully Santa brought Ndamukong some early anger management books.

12. New York Giants (7-6, Last Week 16) - A Strong Defensive Effort: Eli Manning has had so much pressure on him to produce every game because a) the running game has been mediocre and b) the defense just doesn't have the ability to get stops.  Over the last three games, the Giants have allowed opponents to score 40 points a game.  Manning doesn't have a chance if the defense keeps giving up scores at that rate.  The defense has to step up over the last three games for the Giants to make the Playoffs.  

13. Dallas Cowboys (7-6, Last Week 9) - Clock Management Skills: First Jason Garrett botches the field goal situation in the Arizona game.  Then Dallas can't wind down the clock against the Giants, including a back-breaking incompletion on third down.  Pair those two with the Jets game to start the year, and Dallas should be 10-3 and in firm control of the NFC East.  Instead, they have to win to get in down the stretch.

14. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6, Last Week 11) - Depth: The Bengals were probably the most pleasant surprise this year.  The play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green has been incredibly fun to watch.  But a few injuries on both sides of the ball have really hurt this team.  If they can keep this same core intact and add a few pieces next year, Cincinnati might be ready to get back into the Playoff picture with Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

15. Tennessee Titans (7-6, Last Week 14) - No Lockout: I'm convinced that Chris Johnson's struggles this season are directly related to the lack of an offseason.  If there hadn't been a lockout, maybe Johnson would have been signed more promptly.  Instead, they got a very sub-par year out of their star running back.  He's come on of late, but it probably won't be enough.  

16. Oakland Raiders (7-6, Last Week 13) - A Mulligan on the Palmer Trade: In theory, trading for Palmer made sense.  He's a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback, and he could lead the team to the Playoffs.  Instead, the opposite happened.  Palmer has been pretty awful, and the Raiders have almost played themselves out of Playoff contention.  Oakland looked like it was headed in the right direction before Jason Campbell went down, but now it looks like they will be on the hook for potentially two first round draft picks and $43 million over three years.  Franchise killer.

17. Seattle Seahawks (6-7, Last Week 21) - Skittles: This is a no-brainer.  Pete Carroll should be giving everybody Skittles after the way Marshawn Lynch has been playing.  All of the fans at Seattle should be given Skittles so all of their players can be showered with the delicious candies after touchdowns.  Taste the rainbow, Seattle.

18. Arizona Cardinals (6-7, Last Week 19) - A Quarterback: Arizona has had to deal with some pretty awful quarterback play this season.  Kevin Kolb has been a bust this year, and how much could you really expect from John Skelton?  Arizona's defense has shown signs of life lately, and if you give that team a capable signal caller Arizona could be headed in the right direction. 

19. Chicago Bears (7-6, Last Week 17) - Common Sense: Poor Marion Barber.  All he had to do was stay in bounds and Chicago would have gotten a much-needed win.  Instead, Barber stopped the clock for Denver by running out of bounds and gave them the ball back with enough time to get into field goal range.  It was one of those moments that most want to mock, but I won't stoop to those levels.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Hopefully he's learned from his mistakes.

20. San Diego Chargers (6-7, Last Week 20) - A Poor Start: The Chargers got off their usual gameplan.  Normally, San Diego starts horribly.  Then they turn it on at the end of the year and make the playoffs.  This year, San Diego started hot but then lost six straight games.  They've won their last two games, but it might be too little too late with the way Denver has been playing.

21. Miami Dolphins (4-9, Last Week 18) - A New Coach? The firing of Tony Sparano now is peculiar.  The Dolphins are playing their best football of the season and seemed to rally around Sparano after their 0-7 start.  Obviously, starting 0-7 isn't necessarily reason to keep the guy around.  But it's not like they've totally thrown in the towel like the Colts.  This one is strange.

22. Buffalo Bills (5-8, Last Week 18) - Pizza and Wings: If there is one thing the city of Buffalo does extremely well, it's comfort food.  The Bills and their fans will need plenty of it to stomach their teams' second-half collapse.  If this team was fully healthy, they might be in a different position.  But every team has injuries, and the Bills haven't been able to overcome theirs.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (5-8, Last Week 28) - A Clean-Shaven Coach: Now ex-coach Todd Haley's scruff pretty disgusting.  He should have known that his team wasn't going to play well when he grew that monstrosity.  When has an NFL coach led his team to the Super Bowl sporting a full beard?  Haley should have left the ridiculous facial hair to the offensive and defensive lineman.  KC will be better off when they get a more clean-cut coach.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (5-8, Last Week 26) - A Do-Over: Too many things went wrong for the Eagles this season.  They were hurt by injuries, uninspired play, and now possible division in the locker room.  Philly is playing for pride right now, because I don't think they have a shot to make the Playoffs.  But if they could do it all over again, I think the Eagles could have been the team that everyone thought they would be.

25. Carolina Panthers (4-9, Last Week 24) - Hyperbaric Chambers: After seeing what Cam Newton has been able to do with a rag-tag team, the Panthers need to do everything they can to keep their star quarterback healthy.  Some hyperbaric chambers might be a good start, just to prepare for the worst.  You don't want to be left in the dust if he develops gangrene or carbon monoxide poisoning.

26. Washington Redskins (4-9, Last Week 28) - A New Owner: I think every Redskins fan can agree that the Dan Snyder regime has not been a good one.  This kind of change won't happen, but we can dream.  It's hard to believe that the Skins will be competitive while he is running the show though.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9, Last Week 29) - A Relaxing Vacation for MJD: Jones-Drew has delivered one of the more admirable performances for a crap team in recent memory.  He almost single-handedly knocked me out of my fantasy football league.  He deserves an incredibly relaxing vacation after the season is over.  He's done more than enough to deserve some time at the spa.   

28. Cleveland Browns (4-9, Last Week 27) - Every Copy of Madden '12: I don't think it's a coincidence that the Browns suffered after Peyton Hillis graced the cover of the popular video game.  Not only has Hillis been awful on the field, but he has been a pretty poor teammate throughout the season.  If the Browns could somehow get their hands on all these games and destroy them, the Madden Curse might be lifted.  You've got a lot of games to deliver, Santa.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9, Last Week 25) - A White Flag: Clearly instead of a pirate flag flying in the wind, Tampa Bay should be flying a white flag of surrender.  This team has been one of the bigger disappointments in the league after their 10-win season last year.  With basically that same unit back, several key players have regressed, including starting quarterback Josh Freeman. 

30. Minnesota Vikings  (2-11, Last Week 31) - A Penalty Flag: With everything that has gone wrong in Minnesota this season, a win last week against Detroit would have been nice.  Instead, the Lions got a huge no-call on a facemask penalty as time expired and Detroit came away with a huge win. 

31. St. Louis Rams  (2-11, Last Week 30) - An Easier Schedule: St. Louis didn't get any favors from the schedule makers, but if St. Louis was ready to make the next step they would have shown up.  Then the injuries piled on, and St. Louis couldn't get it going once their players returned.  I'm not sure if their fate would have been any different had their schedule been lighter, but I'm sure an easier schedule will top their wish list this year.

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-13, Last Week 32) - Andrew Luck: Obviously Santa Claus can't deliver this gift early, but he can ensure this present will be delivered to Indianapolis.

Agree?  Disagree?  Let us know what you think in the comment section, and make sure you check out next week's updated rankings of the CHARGED Elite.

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