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This holiday season, which NFL teams and players are getting coal in their stockings?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s been a cold 2022 for some NFL teams and players.

With the holiday season upon us and a full slate of games on Christmas Eve, the end of the regular season is also on the horizon. Playoff berths have been earned, while others are still making significant efforts to extend their seasons past Week 18.

Of course, not everything in the league has been smooth sailing.

And now is the ideal time to ask our league experts: Which NFL team or player is getting coal in their stocking this holiday season?

The Buccaneers of Tampa Bay
The NFC South has no team above.500, but perhaps no team in the NFL has fallen further behind expectations than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s season was summed up by a 34-23 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15. A 17-0 Buccaneers lead quickly vanished due to costly turnovers, penalties, and perplexing execution errors. The Bengals scored 34 unanswered points to hand Tom Brady his first loss in a game in which his team was leading by at least 17 points in his 23-year career.

The Bucs are 6-8 because they have been plagued by turnovers, penalties, and execution errors all season. It’s a shame the Bucs (6-8) will almost certainly win the NFC South and host a playoff game despite being in a bad division. The entire NFC South deserves coal, but Tampa Bay deserves coal in their stockings.

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Remember when the hook was that the Denver Broncos would join the Los Angeles Chargers (and possibly the Las Vegas Raiders) as a force capable of dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs as AFC West champions because of Wilson? What a hasty decision. Or, given what we know now, unrealistic. Wilson’s move from Seattle to Denver has been a disaster, and I believe it will result in a one-and-done trial for rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett and many questions about the big move to acquire Wilson. The Broncos paid a high price for Wilson, then signed him to a five-year, $245 million contract extension, with $161 million guaranteed. With Wilson and Hackett, the Broncos ownership group, led by Rob Walton, undoubtedly inherited a few coals in their stocking a few months ago. And it won’t be long before it’s time to roast some chestnuts over an open fire.

Belichick, Bill
It’s incredible that the NFL’s greatest coach has scored two of the strangest game-winning touchdowns in league history. The Miami Miracle was a disaster, with Rob Gronkowski serving as the final line of defence as a free safety. But the Patriots’ final play against the Raiders last week was a disgrace.

The running back Rhamondre Stevenson lateraled the ball to receiver Jakobi Meyers, who lateraled it back to Stevenson, but it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown on a play where the Patriots simply needed to down the ball and force overtime. Shame on Belichick for putting both players in that position after the game, where they had to defend their actions to the media as if the play was their fault. Belichick should have called the correct play, which was to enter overtime. Instead, the Patriots lost, and Belichick ruined New England’s chance for a big road win for playoff purposes.

The Browns of Cleveland
The team has rallied around quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women. Jimmy and Dee Haslam sullied their reputations even further by doubling down financially and guaranteeing Deshaun Watson $230 million over five years.

Another reason why the Browns shouldn’t expect much this holiday season is the team’s treatment of Baker Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick who embraced the city and fanbase.

Despite a 2-1 record and a chance to make the playoffs, the Browns have been anything but inspiring on offence since Watson’s return three weeks ago.

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