By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
When I looked at the AFC North before the season started, I only got one thing right – the Cincinnati Bengals would finish at the bottom.
Who knew Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would need season-ending surgery?
Who thought Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would not only stay healthy but be the top candidate for league MVP?
And my Cleveland Browns? Don’t get me started…
With this being the holiday season and all, I thought I’d make a few Christmas present wishes for each of these teams.
What’s in the Box❓
Christmas edition 🎁 pic.twitter.com/9QHNvppHiT
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 24, 2019
The Pittsburgh Steelers have somehow gotten to 8-7 this year. In a season that saw backups playing under center and a huge trade giving up their first-round draft pick to get free safety stud Minkah Fitzpatrick, many complained that this would be a wasted season. And yet, they’ve managed to stay in the playoff hunt beyond all of those low expectations.
My Christmas Wish for this team is that head coach Mike Tomlin wins the NFL Coach of the Year Award. In my opinion, Tomlin is one of the most underrated coaches in the NFL. With star players, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for dealing with all of those diva personalities, losing stars like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and still managing to keep this team in the hunt. If the adversity he has overcome this season in dealing with backup QB’s Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges isn’t enough to show how truly talented a coach he is, then nothing can.
Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is Ben Roethlisberger back at QB for the Steelers! pic.twitter.com/HQqWTGOgfm
— Steeler Chick 🏈🏒🐧⚾️☠️ (@SteelerChickPGH) December 22, 2019
The Cleveland Browns have underperformed so incredibly this year that I’m still trying to believe it. They have more talent on this roster then they’ve had in years – possibly decades – and they still only have 6 wins and no chance at a .500 season with just one game remaining. My wish for them is simply to have a head coach next year who can win. Period.
Chances that Freddie Kitchens returns are about 50/50 to my mind. I believe that the front office is looking to get stability after years of running the coaching carousel. Whether he is the right person for the job or not, I hope WHOEVER is leading this team next year figures it out and gets them into the 10+ win category. It’s shameful to waste the kind of talent that wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. have. It’s even more shameful to waste playing time for running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. We all know the RB’s don’t get a lot of years in the NFL so it’s vital that the 2020 head coach takes advantage of this talent!
All I want for Christmas is Ron Rivera in Cleveland next year. #Browns
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) December 22, 2019
And now we come to the 1-14 Cincinnati Bengals. Well, they’ve locked up the top pick in the 2020 draft, so I’ll predict now that they answer their quarterback issues be taking Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. But a QB isn’t the only thing wrong with this team. They’ve got a wide receiver in Tyler Boyd who is close to 1,000 yards and also running back Joe Mixon who should hit 1,000 as well. They have a rookie head coach Zac Taylor who, I think, will get better next year. So what do they really need? DEFENSE!
This Bengals defense is tied for dead last with the Los Angeles Chargers in turnover ratio. The offense has given the ball up 29 times but the defense has only taken it away 13 times. Ugh. My wish is that they find some play-makers and maybe a new defensive coordinator. They need something to move them into the top ten as far as the turnover ratio. If they end up starting a rookie under center next year, this defense will have to improve in order to help him out!
This is awesome. It’s 2 days before Christmas and Joe Mixon spent his off night giving back to kids. “I know what it’s like for parents and mothers to be struggling.” Mixon signed autographs, took pictures and handed out gifts to Cincinnati families. @WLWT #Bengals pic.twitter.com/aX9489kpzD
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) December 24, 2019
What would you wish for these AFC North teams as a Christmas gift?
Talk NFL with Kate on Twitter / @ClvlndK8