Anyone who has seen a Rolling Stones concert in the past decade knows that sometimes, stars don’t perform up to the fans’ expectations. The NFL is no different, but this week, a few superstars who have struggled this season will not disappoint.
It is extremely difficult to perform at a high level on a struggling team, and a few of the league’s brightest talents have fallen victim to a subpar supporting cast.
While the consistency has been lacking for certain stars, the potential for a jaw-dropping performance is always lurking.
Here are the stars that will have a monster game.
Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
After last season, Calvin Johnson established himself as the best receiver in the NFL and arguably the most dangerous offensive weapon in football.
He started his 2011 campaign with eight touchdowns in his first four games, but has reached the end zone just once this year. He still ranks seventh in receiving yards and 13th in receptions, but these are not statistics indicative of a player of Johnson’s talent.
Fortunately for the Detroit Lions and their superstar wide out, they are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, whose mediocre pass defense ranks 23rd in yardage allowed per game through the air.
Johnson will have his best performance of the year against Jacksonville and his production will be a reminder that he is still the best pass-catcher in the league.
Darren McFadden, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
With a rare combination of power and speed, Darren McFadden should be one of the most productive running backs in the league.
This season, though, he is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and has struggled to find a rhythm in the Oakland Raiders’ running game. However, he is coming off his second 100-yard performance of the season and will continue his success this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs will give McFadden a tougher test than the Kansas City Chiefs did last week, but McFadden’s talent will be evident in this game. A concerted effort to get the running back going early will lead to a fine day.
While McFadden has been largely disappointing in 2012, he will run wild in Week 9.
Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
After a historic rookie season, Cam Newton faced high expectations heading into his sophomore campaign and he has failed to deliver.
He has a quarterback rating of just 75.2 and has thrown five touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. He has just three rushing touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers are 1-6.
This week, though, the team has an opportunity to build momentum for the second half of the season against a flawed Washington Redskins team that ranks dead last in passing yardage allowed.
While Newton’s matchup with Robert Griffin III will be heavily publicized, the second-year signal-caller’s battle with a soft Redskins secondary will have the most impact on the game. Newton will carve up the Washington defensive backs and return to the form he was expected to be in this year.