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NFL Power Rankings: Comparing Each NFL Team to a Christmas Movie

Michael PizzutilloCorrespondent IIIDecember 21, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Comparing Each NFL Team to a Christmas Movie

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    It's the most wonderful time of the year and nothing raises your holiday spirit quite like the NFL in December and Christmas movies by the fire.

    In the spirit of giving, I've compiled the best Christmas movies, which best illustrate each NFL team's season, thus far.

    So warm up the hot chocolate, grab your coziest blanket and let the NFL bring a little joy to the world.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Picking Up & Dropping Off, 2003

    Remember when the red-hot Arizona Cardinals started the season 4-0? Since then, the club has compiled a record of 1-9.

    Injuries have plagued the quarterback and running back positions and the team still can't figure out how to get the ball into Larry Fitzgerald's hands. The Cardinals defense has been a lone bright spot for team, but they plunged from atop the NFC West to the cellar faster than Santa down a chimney.

     

     


Atlanta Falcons

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    Frosty the Snowman, 1969

    Just like Frosty leads they way to save Christmas, Matty "Ice" Ryan has led the Atlanta Falcons to the best record in the NFC. The players have rallied behind their quarterback and when it appeared Ryan's hot play had melted down, he stepped back up and delivered a win.

    The Atlanta Falcons have the momentum and are headed in the right direction. Winning a Super Bowl would be "icing" on the cake.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Die Hard, 1988

    Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens are battling for their lives. The inconsistent play, both offensively and defensively, leaves everyone scratching their head.

    It's now up to the team to dig themselves out of this unfortunate situation and prevail in the end. Luckily, the Ravens have clinched a playoff birth, but will need to band together and refocus to compete this post season. 

    It should be fun watching them fight to survive. Yippe-ki-yay!

Buffalo Bills

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    Santa Who?, 2000

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with this movie, the great Leslie Nielsen plays Santa Clause who develops amnesia during the movie. Buffalo Bills' fans would like to suffer the same fate these past few seasons. 

    Ryan Fitzgerald is a decent quarterback and he has two talented backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, yet the team has never been able to put it together. Defensive struggles haunt the club every year, as the Bills haven't posted a winning record since 2004.

    The Bills need more than a miracle to save this franchise.

Carolina Panthers

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    Prancer, 1989

    The Carolina Panthers will go as far as Cam Newton takes them. The second-year player underachieved at the beginning of the season, but as of late, he's pranced back into superstar form. Newton's duel threat of the pass or run can still baffle opponents, but his mistakes hold him back.

    The team needs to build around Newton and understand the importance of closing games, but as long as Newton is behind center, the Panthers will live or die by the young player.

Chicago Bears

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    Scrooged, 1988

    Jay Cutler is a hard man to please, but can you blame him? Cutler constantly has a sour attitude towards fellow teammates, and it's reflected in his bad decision making on the field.

    Lovie Smith is a great coach and the Bears are extremely talented on defense and special teams. Injuries, terrible O-line play and an inconsistent running game have forced Cutler to make many costly errors.

    Errors that would even have Bill Murray screaming, "Bah,humbug!"

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Chasing Christmas, 2005

    The Cincinnati Bengals have a pretty balanced team. According to NFL.com, the Bengals have the sixth ranked overall defense in the league. Lately, the running game has been steady and Andy Dalton developed a nice rapport with A.J. Green. 

    Still, the Bengals are chasing a playoff spot and need to win when it matters. Coach Marvin Lewis has dealt with many on- and off-field issues in the past, but he is determined to lead his team in a positive direction in the final stretch of the regular season.

Cleveland Browns

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    A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965

    This reference just makes sense.

    Not only is Brown in the title, but the plot of the move is how Charlie Brown questions the meaning of Christmas. This holds true for the Cleveland Browns, who have many unanswered questions. Trent Richardson is a bright spot for this team and will continue to be the focal point of the club's offense. 

    The Browns must rebuild their defense and find a stud receiver who can take the pressure of Richardson's workload. 

    Good grief, it was another long season for Browns fans. 


Dallas Cowboys

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    'Twas the Night Before Christmas, 1974

    The Dallas Cowboys have been an anomaly all season. One minute the team is struggling on both sides of the ball and the next they are tied for first place in the division.

    Tony Romo has been brilliant of late and the return of Demarco Murray has bolstered the running game. The Boys' defense is playing above-average football, as the Cowboys have momentum heading into the last two weeks of the season.

    If the Cowboys beat the Saints this weekend, season-ending matchup with the Redskins could potentially determine who wins the division or makes it to the postseason. Nothing beats a playoff game before the actual playoffs begin.

Denver Broncos

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    Miracle on 34th Street, 1947

    Peyton Manning has been nothing short of a miracle for the Denver Broncos. When Manning signed with the Broncos, he was recovering from major neck surgery and many thought his career was over. 

    Boy were the skeptics wrong.

    Manning has produced MVP numbers all season and provided leadership to a team that desperately need it. On top of Manning's success, the Broncos defense has been stellar—led by Von Miller.

    The Broncos have clinched their division and will be riding the play of Manning and Miller into the playoffs.

Detroit Lions

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    "A Christmas Story", 1983

    All Ralphie wanted was a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas, and all the Lions want is a healthy running back. Matthew Stafford is still an above-average quarterback with weapons at receiver, but the limited running game cripples the passing game.

    For too many season, Lions' running backs have been fra-gil-e, never finishing a season. Stafford needs a a balanced offense to work play action passes with Megatron, who is the best wide out in the league.

    As for Jim Schwatz, he just wants to "air punch" after a victory each week.

Green Bay Packers

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    The Year Without a Santa Clause, 1974

    Santa decided he wanted to take this Christmas off, but the children helped him avoid such a tragedy. While the NFL refs decided to strike against the NFL, the world was introduced to the replacement ref. No other team was affected more than the Green Bay Packers during the ref strike. According to everyone but two replacement refs, the Packers clearly beat the Seahawks.

    After this game, the NFL worked out an agreement with the "real" refs and prevented any future tragedies from occurring. 

    Phew! Almost no Christmas or real NFL refs.

    Oh and the Packers—they handled this mishap with the utmost class and have since clinched the NFC North and are rolling like a fine-oiled machine into the postseason.

Houston Texans

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    It's A Wonderful Life, 1946

    Life is good in Texas. The Texans sport the best record in the NFL with an extremely balanced team.

    Arian Foster has been tremendous. What else is new?. Andre Johnson is phenomenal. Surprised? Matt Schaub has played mistake-free football, which is pretty consistent for his career.

    The Texans defense is playing lights out if you take out the Patriots game. Led by J.J. Watt, the club's defense has been impressive all season long. A big reason the Texans are sitting on top of the NFL, enjoying life.

Indianapolis Colts

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    A Season for Miracles, 1999

    Head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia during the season and battled hard to defeat the disease. Per ESPN, Pagano has been medically cleared to return coaching with the team.

    Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and the rest of the Colts have been playing with a fierce determination for their beloved coach. The Colts are currently holding the fifth Wild Card playoff spot and the return of Pagano could give them an additional boost for a playoff push.

    Chuckstrong.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, 1989

    The Jaguars' season has been a disaster from the start. Maurice Jones-Drew held out during preseason, returned to the team and injured himself in Week 6. To make matters worse, per NFL.com, the Jags are ranked 31st in team offense and defense. 

    The team has been awful and fans are calling for owner Shahid Khan to be delivered with a big red bow.


Kansas City Chiefs

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    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2, 2003

    This movie was a Christmas disaster and received poor reviews, much like the Kansas City Chiefs' dismal season. With two wins on the season, the Chiefs are tied with the Jags for the worst record in the league.

    The team tanked faster than this awful movie


Miami Dolphins

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    The Road to Christmas, 2006

    The Miami Dolphins have had an interesting season. Ryan Tannehill is a promising quarterback with the ability to lead his team. Reggie Bush has underperformed this season and the team still lacks a true wideout. The defense is great against the run, but struggles against the pass. 

    This team is headed in the right direction, but the organization must make the necessary moves to fill holes on the field.

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Polar Express, 2004

    The Minnesota Vikings are riding the Adrian Peterson train right now. The powerful running back has taken the league by storm and is on pace to break the NFL's single season rushing record.

    The team is doing their part but are really only along for the ride. The Vikings success greatly depends on AP's runs. Opponent can line eight in the box and still end up burnt.

    Don't stand on the track when the train's coming.


New England Patriots

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    The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, 2008

    Here come the New England Patriots. It's widely known that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick thrive during this time of the year and they love it.

    The Patriots' have been spoiled for a number of years, and they anticipate a Super Bowl appearance every season. The team has already clinched the AFC East and primed for the playoffs. I feel sorry for team that ends up playing against Mr. Brady and his mates.

New Orleans Saints

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    Home Alone, 1990

    The New Orleans Saints are a good football team who fell into some hard luck. The season began with the soap opera known as Bounty-gate and then lost their head coach, Sean Payton, for the entire season.

    Speaking of Payton, he must be feeling a bit lonely right now, as he is not being able to help his team win. His absence played a key role in the Saints' 0-4 start, and the team has never recovered. The Saints battled and had some tough losses, but the adversity was too much to overcome. 

    Unlike Kevin McAllister, Drew Brees and the Saints will not have a happy ending.

New York Giants

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    How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, 1966

    Eli Manning and the Giants have managed to win the Super Bowl twice in five years. Manning miraculously rises to the occasion when his team needs him the most, but this season has been a different story.

    The Giants have had a roller coaster season and find themselves in a thee-way tie for first place in the NFC East. Coach Tom Coughlin does not tolerate mistakes, yet the team has made many this season.

    It will be interesting to see if Manning will rise again and steal another Super Bowl ring.


New York Jets

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    Shrek the Halls, 2007

    The New York Jets are in shambles right now. The "green machine" is overshadowed by quarterback controversy and an outspoken head coach.

    Mark Sanchez has played poor football and Tim Tebow was not the answer. The Jets are barely alive in the playoff hunt, and don't expect much if they do make the postseason. 

    This team needs to do some serious soul searching and find an identity, because right now they are playing like overpaid ogres.

Oakland Raiders

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    The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

    Oakland Raiders fans are more known for Halloween and not Christmas. The team sports some of the scariest, nastiest fans in all of sports. Hence, the movie comparison.

    But the Raiders' season has also been a nightmare. Darren McFadden has missed some time due to injury and underachieved when active. Oakland's defense is below average and not helping the cause.

    Carson Palmer has played decent football, but the team doesn't know how to win games, and they will, once again, finish in the basement.


Philadelphia Eagles

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    Bad Santa, 2003

    What can anyone say about the Philadelphia Eagles? It's been a terrible season.

    Coach Andy Reid is more than likely going to lose his job after the season, quarterback Michael Vick will never start for the Eagles again and Jeffrey Lurie is to blame.

    Lurie has made some extremely bad decisions, and his lack of football knowledge is beginning to show. Sure, Andy Reid is going to take full responsibility, like every postgame interview, but ownership needs to be held accountable.

    The Eagles have a talented quarterback in Nick Foles and two very talented running backs. The team now needs defensive help on the field and on their coaching staff, along with a heavy dose of discipline.


Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Four Christmases, 2008

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have seen it all this season. Highs, lows, injuries and heroes are just a number a plots in the team's season.

    Ben Roethlisberger was injured for part of the season, and this team greatly depends on their leader. The defense has played solid all season and according to NFL.com, the unit is ranked first in the NFL. 

    The Steelers are currently in the playoff chase and might need to win out for a chance at the postseason. Depending on which team shows up, the Steelers could do damage—if they get hot.

St. Louis Rams

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    Jingle All The Way, 1996

    The St. Louis Rams have made great strides from last season, where they finished tied for the worst record in the NFL. A big part of the Rams' success has been the play of their defense. 

    Sam Bradford has been healthy all season, but running back Steven Jackson's play has declined since 2009, per ESPN.com. The Rams do have young, talent receivers with a promising future. Bradford now needs better protection on the O-line and a consistent running game to advance season after season.

    The Rams are headed in the right direction.

San Diego Chargers

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    Trapped in Paradise, 1994

    The San Diego Chargers are lucky enough to play in beautiful Southern California each season, where they have better weather than luck each season.

    This is likely Norv Turner's final year in San Diego and this was a long time coming. Philip Rivers is a very talented player, but his supporting cast has not shown up. The Chargers are inconsistent at running back, wide receiver and offensive line. Per NFL.com, the Chargers rank 28th in total offense.

    These are unfavorable times in San Diego, as the team will be looking for a fresh start next season.


San Francisco 49ers

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    Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964

    Rudolph was a misfit who Santa chose to guide his sleigh. Colin Kaepernick is Coach Jim Harbaugh's Rudolph.

    Alex Smith was playing great football, but Kaepernick is Harbaugh's protege. The young, versatile quarterback has electrified the Niners fans and kept them on their winning ways. 

    Will he be able to guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory and go down in history?


Seattle Seahawks

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    Home for the Holidays, 1972

    The Seattle Seahawks are a fun team to watch, especially when playing at home. The club is a perfect 6-0 at home, and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been near perfect there.

    Home field advantage is an important element for this team, as the popular "12th Man" can distract all opponents. Unfortunately, the Seahawks are below average on the the road and are currently sitting in the fifth Wild Card position for the playoffs.

    The Seahawks better learn how to win on the road, fast.

     


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Christmas Do-Over, 2006

    Boy the Tampa Bay Bucs would love to have a couple games to replay. According to Buccaneers.com, the team has lost six games by seven-points or less this season. 

    Quarterback Josh Freeman caught fire in the middle of the season, but costly losses early on are haunting the club's playoff chances. The Bucs have promise with running back Doug Martin and receiver Vincent Jackson. 

    The team must now learn to win the close games and play mistake-free football for 60-minutes.

Tennessee Titans

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    The Christmas List, 1997

    The Tennessee Titans have a laundry list of holes in their team. Offensively and defensively, the team needs help.

    Chris Johnson is finally playing up to his potential, but injuries at the quarterback and wide out spots have troubled the Titans all season long. Per NFL.com, the defense has allowed the third most points in the league, resulting in a shoot out for most games.

    The team needs to find balance on both sides of the ball and should start planning for the future.

Washington Redskins

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    Elf, 2003

    Will Ferrell's character is lovable, annoying, energetic and heroic, much like Washington Redskins' star Robert Griffin III. Griffin has won over hearts of many NFL fans from all over the country and brought energy to Washington, D.C.

    Alfred Morris, the Skin's rookie running back has also played a major role in the team's success, but if not for RGIII, this team would be average, at best. The Skins are tied for first in the NFC East and control their destiny. 

    A matchup with the rival Cowboys to end the season could determine who advances in the playoffs and who goes home.  

    Right now, fans are choosing red and gold as their favorite colors.


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