NFL: Peyton Manning and the Biggest Impact Offensive Players on All 32 Teams
These are the guys that opposing fans won't admit they are excited to see play when he comes to town. These are guys that can change the game with one play, whether it be a 60-yard run, a 60-yard pass or the guy catching that 60-yard pass.
These are the biggest offensive impact players on each of the 32 NFL teams.
Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick
Quite possibly the most electrifying player on the league's most exciting offense, Michael Vick is easily one of the NFL's biggest impact offensive players.
He won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, which was well deserved, for his incredible rise from the ashes after spending two years in jail and a year on the sidelines.
Surprisingly, this was a tough decision. DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are both talented players in their own right.
New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks
The Giants return to dominance in the running game went hand in hand with the emergence of Hakeem Nicks as a legitimate threat in 2010.
He started off the season with a bang and didn't let up. Seemingly a minor injury was the only thing keeping him out of the Pro Bowl; if he had been able to suit up in those three games he missed, his stats would have lined up with the best in the NFL.
He requires so much attention, which eventually helped get the running game going. He has apparently added five to 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason; watch out defensive backs.
Dallas Cowboys: Miles Austin
This was a hard decision as well, as the Cowboys offense is full of playmakers. Austin had a down year in 2010 but is still one of the best receivers in football. He broke out in 2009 with 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns and followed that up with 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010.
He's only entering his third year as a starter for the Cowboys so he could get even better.
Washington Redskins: Anthony Armstrong
It would be easy to go with Santana Moss here because he is the Redskins' most consistent wide receiver, but Armstrong's big-play ability was huge for the Redskins in 2010.
The rookie averaged 19.8 yards per catch and was seemingly good for a huge play in every game. He led the Redskins in 20-plus-yard receptions with 15. If the Redskins bring back McNabb, look for Armstrong to have a breakout season.
Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning
Do I even have to say anything?
Houston Texans: Andre Johnson
Talk about a guy who gives coordinators nightmares. Johnson is the perfect blend of power and speed and is the best wide receiver in the NFL in my opinion. If it weren't for him getting hurt this year, he likely would have set the record for most consecutive 1,500-yard seasons.
This was a tough decision as the Texans also feature the league's leading rusher in Arian Foster, but he's only done it for a year and Johnson has been killing defenses for a few years now.
Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson
Anybody that rushes for 2,000 yards is automatically the biggest impact player on his team. This isn't even close.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew
Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the best running backs in the NFL and easily one of the best all-around backs. He can do it all at a high level—run inside and out, catch passes and protect his quarterback.
Blaine Gabbert's progression is instantly made easier because of this guy.
San Francisco 49ers: Frank Gore
Probably because he plays on the West Coast, but Frank Gore doesn't get the recognition he should. He is one of the best running backs in the NFL and also one of the most underrated.
He had four straight 1,000-yard seasons before missing five games in 2010 due to injury. He's also one of the best in the league at coming out of the backfield—he's had 400 yards receiving in four of the past five seasons.
St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson
Stephen Jackson is another one of those players that just doesn't get his due. It's not every day that a running back has a "ho-hum" 1,200-yard season.
Jackson has six straight 1,000-yard seasons and has almost 8,000 rushing yards; he's only 27 years old. I hate to predict things like this for fear of injury, but Jackson could be headed to Canton.
Seattle Seahawks: Mike Williams
Hard to pick someone on this Seattle offense when they were pretty terrible in 2010. However, Mike Williams had a nice season for the Seahawks and is most likely the person teams will be geared to stop in 2011.
He only had two touchdowns in the regular season, but had three in the two playoff games for the Seahawks. He's a monster target at 6'5'' and has a lot of room for improvement.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald
New England Patriots: Tom Brady
See: Peyton Manning slide
New York Jets: Braylon Edwards
The Jets are more known for their defense, but Braylon Edwards was a terrific offensive threat for them this season. He really helped Mark Sanchez develop and was a go-to receiver for him in big spots.
He averaged 17 yards per catch and had seven touchdowns—he is a free agent in 2011 and the Jets need to bring him back.
Miami Dolphins: Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall is just another one of those dominant receivers that opens things up for an offense. He requires so much attention that it forces you to put an extra defender on his side rather than filling up the box to stop Miami's Wildcat.
Marshall can be a pain sometimes with his antics and complaining, but he produces on the field.
Buffalo Bills: Steve Johnson
Unless you're a fantasy football player or a diehard NFL fan, you probably only remember Steve Johnson for the dropped pass in the end zone he had in an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, Johnson was a force for the Bills offense that was very underrated in 2010. If they had any defense to speak of, they could have won a lot more games.
In his first full year as a starter, Johnson had 10 touchdowns and 1,073 yards.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees
He was the Super Bowl MVP for a reason and if he stays on track, he could likely end up in the Hall of Fame. If he stays at his current pace with the Saints for the next five years, he would end up in the top three for passes completed, top four for passing yards and top five for passing touchdowns (assuming Tom Brady stays on his pace) in the history of the NFL.
Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White
This was especially hard considering the Falcons have: one of the best young QBs in the game; a receiver with over 100 receptions, nearly 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns; and a running back with nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns.
It's safe to say the Falcons have several big impact players on offense, but for my money, I would want to see Roddy White play most of all.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman had a quiet yet pretty good season in 2010, passing for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions. What makes him so special is the work he does with his feet; not only did he rush for 364 yards, but he can escape pressure when he needs to and make plays on the run.
The Bucs had a pretty easy schedule in 2010 and Freeman did not have good games against many good teams, so 2011 will be a year for him to prove he's legit.
Carolina Panthers: Steve Smith
Pretty much everyone on the Panthers had an atrocious 2010 season, but Steve Smith is still considered one of the NFL's best receivers. He just has had two down years because of all the attention teams paid on him when the Panthers had no talent at wide receiver around him.
DeAngelo Williams is a fantastic running back as well who had a 1,500-yard season just two years ago. However, Stewart has proven to be just as effective so the Panthers would be OK if they lost Williams.
I can't say the same about them if they lost Smith.
Denver Broncos: Brandon Lloyd
The Broncos got a pleasant surprise when Brandon Lloyd completely dominated in 2010. He led the NFL with 1,448 yards, had 11 touchdowns and was a Pro Bowl selection.
The career journeyman had played with three teams in six years before joining the Broncos in 2009, and even then he appeared in just two games. He and Kyle Orton must have seen something in their practices prior to the 2010 season and it showed on the field.
Kansas City Chiefs: Jamaal Charles
At first, I struggled whether or not to have Dwayne Bowe or Jamaal Charles here; then I remembered how awesome Charles' season was.
Bowe did have 15 touchdowns, but nothing was more of an impact on the Chiefs offense than when Charles lined up in the backfield. He had 1,467 yards, 10 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry—the highest of those who qualified in NFL history.
He also added 468 yards receiving, giving him a grand total of 1,935 yards from scrimmage. That's impressive.
Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden
Not many people, including myself, thought McFadden was capable of a season like he put up in 2010—especially with the Raiders. I was wrong.
He had a great year with over 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving with 11 combined touchdowns. Raiders fans haven't had a lot to get excited about over the past few years, but McFadden is an explosive part of their offense.
San Diego Chargers: Antonio Gates
Antonio Gates could very easily go down as one of the best tight ends to ever play the game, so it is impossible for me not to list him here.
Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson
See: Tom Brady slide
Chicago Bears: Johnny Knox
Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson
Megatron is an absolute beast that will only get better as the Lions improve, which they have done in the past two years and especially in the 2011 NFL draft.
Johnson was pretty much the only offensive threat through the air the past couple of years and still dominated.
They got him some help with big-play guy Titus Young from Boise State, who should take some of the attention away from Johnson, but he'll still likely be getting double-teamed and opening things up for the Lions offense.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings are both All-Pro caliber players and the decision between the two definitely plays into the age old argument of who makes who better: the quarterback or the wide receiver.
In this case, I have to go with Rodgers simply because of how much better he makes the rest of his receivers look. Would we know who Jordy Nelson is without Rodgers?
Rodgers has a long career ahead of him and he's already won a ring; he could go down as one of the best ever if he continues his current pace.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace
Once again, it might be easy to take Big Ben or Rashard Mendenhall here, but Mike Wallace is just so dynamic. He led the NFL with 26 receptions of 20 yards or more, was fifth in receiving yards and was second in yards per reception at 21 a pop.
He opens up the Steelers offense and allows them to do pretty much whatever they want, as teams have to account for his big-play ability.
Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice
Ray Rice is another one of those do-it-all guys who can stay on the field for all three downs, which is rare in the NFL nowadays.
He is one of the best receiving threats out of the backfield and can punish pass-rushers as a blocker. Oh yeah, and he's also averaged 1,280 rushing yards the past two seasons. That's pretty damn good.
In 2009, he had 2,041 yards from scrimmage, which was only overshadowed because Chris Johnson set the NFL record with 2,509.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson was a huge reason why the Bengals won the division in 2009, finally living up to the expectations surrounding him as a No. 5 overall pick. He never succeeded in Chicago, but made a name for himself the past two years in Cincinnati.
I seriously almost put A.J. Green here—what was I thinking? Then again, it's not all that crazy considering the Bengals could lose Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him by that ridiculous surname) and Terrell Owens.
Cleveland Browns: Peyton Hillis
I had to put a picture of Hillis posing for the Madden 12 cover. If that doesn't speak to the crazy loyalty of Cleveland Browns fans, I'm not sure what does.
Hillis was a beast in 2010, even though he did slow down towards the end of the season. He helped the development of Colt McCoy drastically by forcing teams to focus on him rather than the passing game.
I knew the Broncos made a huge mistake when they let this guy go. He showed flashes of this dominance while in Denver and they must be kicking themselves with how terrible their running game was this past season.