10 Players Who Will Have the Biggest Influence this Season
This is not a ranking, they will appear in no particular order. These are guys who will have a big influence on who will get to the playoffs, whether it be their play on the field or their leadership.
Most of them are quarterbacks but it is the most important and influential position on the field. I have included a player from each division and a couple from the really tight ones.
This is my first article so I hope you all enjoy it!
The Saints defense cost them a place in the playoffs last season, particularly the lack of a leader in the secondary. Sharper may not put up the numbers he did for the Vikings but will provide leadership and experience which could be vital for the Saints.
He can also be a mentor to Malcolm Jenkins and Tracy Porter, who both have the potential to be stars.
Players returning from a back injury usually aren't as good as before but Hasselbeck needs to be for the Seahawks to have a chance.
The defense should bounce back so the offense has to carry it's weight. He is the key to this and if he plays well his team will win games and make the playoffs.
This man is the best interior lineman in the NFL, when he wants to be. He makes everybody on the defense better, which is what the Redskins need. They had nowhere near enough sacks last year even though their defense was good.
In a division where the three other teams will get a huge amount of sacks, they need to step up.
Haynesworth is the man who can help them do that.
The Packers defense is the sole reason they didn't make the playoffs last year, especially against the run.
Raji should line up at nose tackle in their new 3-4 system, and if he can stuff the run they should win enough games to make the postseason.
There are some big question marks surrounding Cutler. Can he throw the ball in the Chicago winter? Can he be the leader of a team? Who will he throw the ball to?
We'll find out soon enough but there can be no doubt that if the Bears make the playoffs, Jay Cutler will play a central role.
He has athletic gifts similar to Julius Peppers and Demarcus Ware, but has the potential to be even better. The whole defense suffered last year while he was injured and it very nearly cost the Chargers a playoff place.
His return should put this defense back in the top 10 and the Bolts should win the AFC West comfortably.
Returning from injury, Palmer should be able to haul the Bengals offense out of the doldrums. In a role reversal the offense could not match the performance of their defense, and they lost games because of it.
A repeat of last year's play from the defense and Palmer's return could see the Bengals back in the playoff race.
Schaub is the complete package at quarterback. He throws down the field without making too many mistakes and reads defenses well. He just can't seem to stay healthy.
If he can, this offense has the playmakers to put up a lot of points and coupled with a solid defense, the Texans can make a big push for the playoffs.
The Patriots just aren't the same without him, even if they did win 11 games. The best leader at the quarterback position should bring this team back to the top of the AFC East.
Offseason additions on both sides of the ball and the return of their record breaking quarterback means the Patriots could be even better than 2007.
Even though he is the opposite of what the Vikings need at quarterback he will sign for them. He won't throw as much as he did for the Jets so the shoulder should hold up.
The Vikings should win at least 11 games with their team but with Favre and his gunslinger attitude they might not even reach 10.