The holiday season is upon us, which also means the NFL’s regular season is coming to an end. In an effort to spread good tidings, FOX Senior NFL Writer Alex Marvez gives a Christmas gift to all 32 teams.
Getty ImagesPatrick Smith
Jacksonville: The NFL's version of '13 Going on 30'
For those unfamiliar with that 2004 movie, Jennifer Garner magically jumps from the age of 13 to 30 overnight. The Jaguars would love to grow up that quickly. Jacksonville leads the NFL in rookie starts by a wide margin. That immaturity has greatly contributed to a 3-12 record.
Tennessee: A Music City Maestro
The Titans have lacked a bandleader at quarterback since releasing Steve McNair in the 2006 offseason and Vince Young’s subsequent flame-out. At least a 2-13 record gives Tennessee the chance to land a franchise quarterback in April’s draft provided the Titans aren’t sold on rookie Zach Mettenberger after his shaky body of work.
Philadelphia: Marcus Mariota
Unfortunately for Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly, not even Santa Claus could finagle a draft trade-up that would reunite Mariota and his former head coach at the University of Oregon. But while Mariota will be long gone by the time Philadelphia picks, Kelly still has to look long and hard at whether he needs a quarterback who fits his hurry-up system better than Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsScott Olmos
Washington: The RG3 of 2011
That's when Robert Griffin III was the NFL's most dynamic quarterback. But since his rookie season ended with a horrific knee injury, Griffin hasn’t been the same player for a litany of reasons. Griffin will probably have one more season in Washington to show he can regain his standing as a bona fide franchise QB.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner
San Francisco: The next Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh wore out his welcome with San Francisco’s front office -- and vice versa -- but there is no denying his overall success. With Harbaugh’s departure imminent, San Francisco’s new head coach must not only win but foster a better working relationship with 49ers brass and fix whatever has halted Colin Kaepernick’s development.
Mike Roemer/Associated PressMike Roemer/Associated Press
Seattle: A peace treaty with Marshawn Lynch
Lynch's future in Seattle for 2015 is in question. Lynch staged a brief preseason holdout over unhappiness with his contract and may want more cash next season. From Seattle’s end, Lynch has battled a back injury this year that may not bode well for a running back that turns 29 in April. Ideally, the two sides find middle ground.
Getty ImagesChristian Petersen
Detroit: A way to keep Ndamukong Suh
There won't be a 'hometown discount' for Suh, a pending free agent who already has said he will play with the team that makes the best contract offer. Using the franchise tag is cost-prohibitive at $26.7 million for the 2015 season alone when you tack on an additional $9.7 million salary cap charge. This $36.4 million cap figure means Detroit must open the vault for a long-term deal that alleviates the cap hit or lose the services of what is arguably the NFL's best defensive tackle.
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
Chicago: A way out of Jay Cutler's contract
The financial structure of Cutler’s deal will make it difficult for the Bears to part ways with the foundering quarterback during the offseason. The best-case scenario would be finding a willing trade partner, but that won’t be easy considering Cutler is guaranteed a $15.5 million salary in 2015.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Cincinnati: The end of 'Raggedy Andy'
Quarterback Andy Dalton’s ongoing inconsistency is maddening. For example, Dalton’s quarterback rating jumped from an abysmal 2.0 in a home loss to Cleveland to 143.9 the following week during a road win against New Orleans. Until the yo-yoing stops, the Bengals will struggle to take the next step in the postseason.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsAaron Doster
Cleveland: Maturity for Johnny Manziel
With Brian Hoyer's starting run having ended, Manziel will have every opportunity to prove himself as a franchise quarterback in 2015. But will he take advantage by dedicating himself to his craft or will Manziel’s social life take precedence to living inside Browns headquarters?
Getty ImagesGrant Halverson
St. Louis: A healthy Sam Bradford
Despite having missed most of the last two seasons with knee injuries, Bradford is talented enough to lift St. Louis into the playoffs next season. While it’s worth giving Bradford one more shot (provided he agrees to a reduced salary), the Rams should cover themselves by selecting a quarterback early in April’s draft.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
Minnesota: The return of Adrian Peterson
His future with the Vikings is in question because of an NFL suspension for child abuse and monstrous base salary ($12.75 million) for what will be a 30-year-old running back. But considering how beloved he is by Vikings fans and the team itself -- not to mention being a Hall of Fame talent -- it might be easiest for Peterson to reinvent himself on familiar ground.
Getty ImagesMichael B.Thomas
Kansas City: A wide receiver who can score a TD
No offense to a proven veteran like Dwayne Bowe, but the inability of this unit to catch a TD pass this season is embarrassing and would be the main deficiency to blame if Kansas City fails to make the playoffs.
San Diego: Lifting of the injury curse at center
The Chargers have started four different players at the position and may be forced to use a fifth for the season finale against Kansas City with Chris Watt (ankle) having gotten hurt during last Saturday night’s 38-35 overtime win over San Francisco.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportRobert Hanashiro
Oakland: Jim Harbaugh
No knock on Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano, who has his overmatched team playing hard under difficult circumstances. But swinging a trade to acquire Harbaugh from the 49ers would be the first home run that Raiders owner Mark Davis has hit since inheriting ownership from his late father Al in 2011.
Getty ImagesThearon W. Henderson
Pittsburgh: A pass defense
The Steelers are on pace to surrender the most passing yards in franchise history. A lack of pass rush and Pittsburgh’s neglect at drafting cornerbacks -- one hasn't been chosen in the first two rounds since 2005 -- has greatly contributed to this mess.
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY SportsJason Bridge
New York Jets: An offense
For a third straight season the Jets are set to finish in the bottom seven in total yardage and points. Just as damning: New York used high draft picks on Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith and neither developed into a franchise quarterback under head coach Rex Ryan’s watch.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY SportsAdam Hunger
Indianapolis: A running game
Andrew Luck is having a brilliant third NFL season, but even the best quarterbacks need some help. Running back Trent Richardson simply hasn’t provided it like the Colts had hoped after acquiring him from Cleveland last season for a first-round draft pick.
Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports
Houston: An NFL MVP trophy for J.J. Watt
No defensive player has won this award since New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Watt has the best shot of anyone since then thanks to his stellar play at defensive end.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
Denver: A 'Peyton-meter'
This device would determine whether the 38-year-old Manning is truly starting to decline like critics have claimed or if this future Hall of Fame quarterback has enough juice left in his arm for another season.
Atlanta: The next John Abraham
Since releasing the franchise's all-time sack leader in the 2013 offseason, Atlanta has struggled to generate a pass rush. The Falcons have the league's lowest sack total over a two-year period, which has greatly contributed to Atlanta’s precipitous slide down the NFC ladder.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsRobert Deutsch
Carolina: A better supporting cast for Cam Newton
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen are quality targets, but Newton needs more weapons in the passing game as well as a better offensive line to make sure he doesn’t take a beating again next season.
Arizona: A successful Carson Palmer comeback
Of all the injuries to Cardinals players this season, the torn anterior cruciate ligament Palmer suffered in Week 10 was the most devastating. Palmer’s absence could spell the difference between the 2014 Cardinals reaching the Super Bowl or being a playoff also-ran.
Miami: A deep passing game
Whether it is accuracy or the fault of his wide receivers, no NFL quarterback struggles more to connect on deep passes than Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins will remain a dink-and-dunk offense until this problem is fixed.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
Tampa Bay: The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2015
This wish will come true if the Buccaneers (2-13) lose next Sunday against visiting New Orleans. That would assure Tampa Bay of having the chance to draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is expected to turn pro next month following his junior season.
David Manning-USA TODAY SportsDavid Manning
Green Bay: A redo in Buffalo
Green Bay's 21-13 road loss to the Bills in Week 15 could prove costly on several levels. It hurt the Packers’ chances of securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and damaged the MVP candidacy of Aaron Rodgers, who posted a brutal 34.2 quarterback rating with two interceptions.
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY SportsKevin Hoffman
New York Giants: A full season with Odell Beckham Jr. & Victor Cruz
Beckham missed the early part of the season with a hamstring injury. Shortly after Beckham Jr. got healthy and began his sprint toward NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, Cruz headed to injured reserve with a knee injury. Having both playing together at the same time in 2015 would go a long way toward New York getting back in the postseason.
Buffalo: A playoff appearance
It won’t be happening again for a 15th consecutive season with the Bills being eliminated by last Sunday’s loss at Oakland. While it doesn’t serve as much solace to the team’s long-suffering fans, Buffalo did make significant progress this season under second-year head coach Doug Marrone.
Getty ImagesTom Szczerbowski
New Orleans: Home-field advantage
Under head coach Sean Payton, the Saints were once dominant inside the Louisiana Superdome. Not anymore. The Saints dropped their final four homes games, including a 30-14 loss to Atlanta last Sunday that knocked New Orleans out of playoff contention.
Derick E Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDerick E Hingle
New England: Coal
The Patriots are the NFL equivalent of the person who is impossible to shop for because they already have everything. New England enters Week 17 as the AFC favorite to reach the Super Bowl. That puts the Patriots in prime position to capture the one gift it hasn’t received since the 2004 season – a Lombardi Trophy.
Getty ImagesTim Whitby
Baltimore: Kansas City to beat San Diego in Week 17
If this doesn't happen, the Chargers (9-6) will make the playoffs even if the Ravens (9-6) win their game against Cleveland. Baltimore lost control of its postseason destiny with last Sunday’s 25-13 loss at Houston.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
Dallas: A giant glass container
Why? So the Cowboys can bottle the formula that made this team so different than the squads that fell short of the playoffs the previous four seasons. Dallas weathered serious injuries and avoided a December swoon to win the NFC East for the first time since 2009.