NFL 2011 Prediction: 7 Big Names Who Will Underperform This Season

C. CuseOCorrespondent IIJuly 21, 2011

NFL 2011 Prediction: 7 Big Names Who Will Underperform This Season

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    Coming into a new season, every team starts off with a clean slate (even the Bills). With a record of 0-0,  eyes are on the playoffs and optimism floods through fan nations.

    During the off-season, organizations spend countless time and energy scouting for players to improve their squad. While rookies and free agents are brought in to compete; veterans and big name play-makers are depended on to produce their typical quality numbers.

    What happens when the big name superstar just doesn't produce anymore? We see it every year; the first round fantasy bust, the superstar who is past his prime, the star who just doesn't have any help.

    That being said, lets take a look at 7 NFL stars who will under perform during the 2011 season.  

Jared Allen, Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings

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    Jared Allen has been the lead force on a scarily good Viking defensive line since coming to Minnesota in 2008. Allen, who gave himself the nickname Rodeo, has the ability to lasso the quarterback at any time producing 84 sacks since 2004.

    In 2010, Allen had a productive season but his worse since coming to Minnesota. After producing back to back pro bowl, 14.5 sack seasons, Allen produced 11 sacks and obtained a reputation for taking plays and games off for a losing Minnesota team. 

    Why he will under perform in 2011

    When the anchor of your defense obtains the reputation of taking plays off, it's a frightening thing for any team. It's even worse for a Minnesota team that went 6-10 in 2010.

    The formidable defensive line once led by Allen is quickly dwindling away. Allen's defensive end counterpart, Ray Edwards, looks to be boxing up his things and heading out of Minnesota via free agency. Painfully slow nose tackle, Pat Williams is now 38 and after a dreadful 2010 season he is only 50/50 on returning to football (hint: he should retire).The once best run stopping line in football is now down to just Allen and tackle,Kevin Williams. The Vikings will most likely look in house to fill the line holes with career back ups Brian Robison and Letroy Guion. 

    Allen will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders in 2011. Vikings fans are not looking to rebuild and they want to win now. Robison is not strong enough to be a starting defensive end. so opposing teams will most likely double team Allen nearly every down. He won't be able to take off plays this year and produce the stellar numbers we've seen from him in the past.

    2011 Stat Prediction: 53 Tkls, 9 Sacks, 1 Int 

Dwayne Bowe, Wide Reciever, Kansas City Cheifs

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    Dwayne Bowe is the clear cut number 1 receiver for a surprising Kansas City team that went to the playoffs in 2010. Bowe rebounded after a poor 2009 season, and put up a pro bowl year with 1,152 receiving yards and a league leading 15 receiving touchdowns (wow, that's a lot) in 2010.

    Bowe had 900 more receiving yards then any other wide receiver on the team. He was a clear cut favorite for quarterback, Matt Cassel and was the main reason why the chiefs won their division race. 

    Why he will under perform in 2011

    This will be a surprising pick for many readers after Bowe's breakout year in 2010 but hear me out. Bowe was the main and only target for Matt Cassel last year. His ability to get open was astounding but a lot had to do with offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis and his mastermind play calling ability. Weis did great in motivating Bowe, but now that he has left for the University of Florida, will the offense be as effective?

    Kansas City also added its number 2 reciever via the first round of the draft in Jonathon Baldwin out of Pittsburgh. Baldwin is a large receiver who is quick as well and will take a lot of pressure off Bowe as well of a lot of the focus on him from quarterback Matt Cassel which could hurt Bowe's numbers.

    As for the main reason why Bowe will under perform in 2011, it's the opposing defenses he has to face every sunday. Kansas City has the third hardest schedule in 2011 which is a huge difference from when they had the 22nd toughest schedule in 2010. This is bad news for Bowe fans, because the wide receiver does not play well vs good teams.

    Bowe averages only 28 yards per game against teams with winning records over the past two years, while he averages around 80 yards per game against teams with losing record. Bowe clearly struggles against good defenses and it will show next season.

    2011 Stat Prediction: 61 Rec, 862 Yards, 8 TDs 

Eli Manning, Quarterback, New York Giants

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    Eli Manning, the former superbowl champion quarterback, is going into his eighth season as the offensive leader for the New York Giants. Eight years already?! Wow, how time flies.

    It is safe to say that Eli will never be the quarterback that his brother Peyton has become but he has still been an effective leader. Manning threw for a career best 31 touchdowns in 2010 along side a career best 62.9 completion percentage.

    Why he will under perform in 2011

    While Manning's touchdown numbers and completion percentage reached an all time high, so did his interception total with 25 and the Giants failed to make the playoffs.

    Manning has a very young receiving corps led by third year receiver Hakeem Nicks who emerged as an offensive weapon last year.

    The problem is Manning is a one dimensional quarterback. His inability to run the ball and move around in the pocket kills him in pressure situations if you remember his "dive" and fumble against the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

    Opposing defenses will look to focus all of their attention on Manning in 2011, especially if Giants starting running back, Ahmad Bradshaw is not resigned. Bradshaw is currently a free agent and though he has expected interest in returning to New York, he has yet to attend any team workouts during the lockout and has been rumored to want to sign with Miami.

    Manning just seems to be to reckless with the football and with the potential of losing his star running back, Manning will be caused to take even more risks while throwing the pigskin in a very tough division filled with ball hawking cornerbacks (DeAngelo Hall, Asante Samuel).His inability to take care of the football will hurt him and Tom Coughlin's job status. 

    2011 Stat Prediction: 31 TDs, 27 Int. 57% Comp Pct 

Cedric Benson, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Since his dreadful years in a Chicago Bear uniform, Cedric Benson has rid himself of his "bust" status and resurrected his career in Cincinnati.

    The former first round pick will be entering his fourth year in Cincinnati after he has been the premiere back the past two seasons.

    In 2009, Benson had his best season running for 1,250 yards and 6 touchdowns in only 13 games. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry on a play off caliber team.

    In 2010, Benson's numbers slipped a bit but was put to work often. He ran for 1,111 yards and 7 touchdowns but only averaged 3.5 yards per carry for a 4-12 Cincinnati team.

    Why he will under perform in 2011

     Benson is currently a free agent but will most likely re-sign with the Bengals (god knows why) and will be playing under new and unproven offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

    The Bengals are in flux right now with quarterback Carson Palmer refusing to play and receivers Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens likely not to return. This means that the Bengals opening day quarterback will likely be second round draft pick, Andy Dalton and their number 1 receiver will most likely be first round pick A.J. Green.

    Benson will receive the most attention next year from opposing defenses as he is most likely, the only offensive weapon the Bengals have that has actually played in an NFL game. Oh, and those opposing defenses that Benson will have to run against? Yeah, they happen to be pretty good as Benson will have to face the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens defenses each...twice.  

    I just don't trust that Benson is good enough to be the focus of every defense, and still put up quality numbers. He will hit a lot of bumps and road blocks along the way (Haloti Ngata anyone?).

    2011 Stat Prediction 978 Yards, 5 TDs, 3.3 yds per carry

Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    After missing the first four games due to suspension, Ben Roethlisberger had an outstanding 2010 season. Big Ben threw for 3,200 yards, 17 touchdowns and a mere five interceptions while leading his Pittsburgh Steelers to another Superbowl. 

    Big Ben has been known for his winning ways but also his off the field controversy. In 2011, he looks to put the controversy behind him and focus on football and gaining some redemption after the Steelers Superbowl loss to the Packers. It must be hard though when his team mates such as James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward aren't making the Steelers look like the most clean cut team in football.

    Why he will under perform in 2011

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have one of the easiest schedules in football in 2011. This should lead to Big Ben putting up stellar numbers but unfortunately, it wont happen that way.

     Big Ben has been known to keep plays alive but recovering from a fractured foot will hurt his running and ducking around opposing defenses charade. Ben also suffers from an offensive line that is riddled with injuries and will be forced to rely on first round rookie Marcus Gilbert for protection.

    Roethlisberger is also suffering from the lack of a true number one receiver. I know I will receive a lot of grief from Pittsburgh fans on this one, but Hines Ward and Mike Wallace are not meant to be number one receivers in the NFL.

    Ward will still be a solid contributor but more in the locker room then on the field. The crafty 14 year old vet, can still put up average numbers but coming off a recent DUI charge, Ward will need more support from his team mates then they will need from him.

    Mike Wallace is an outstanding receiver and a legitimate deep threat but not a solid number one. He will stretch defenses and catch touchdowns but needs to work on his route running and catching the ball in traffic to be a sure number one.

    The main reason why Big Ben will under produce in 2011 is that the Baltimore Ravens defense has improved. The Ravens are the Steelers biggest rival and adding cornerback Jimmy Smith in the draft has made the Ravens almost to good. The Ravens will shut down Big Ben and take away all of his passing options.

    2011 Stat Prediction: 23 TD 14 Int 57% Comp Pct 

Justin Tuck, Defensive End, New York Giants

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    Justin Tuck is a vicious tackler and a great spokesman for Subway. Tuck finished 2010 with 11 sacks and has finished with double digit sacks in three of the last four years. He has been a team leader and an imposing force on the New York Giants defensive line.

    Why he will under perform in 2011

    Justin Tuck will underachieve because simply, he is not good enough to lead a defense by himself. Many will read that and be puzzled because Tuck usually plays along side superstar Osi Umenyiora. The only problem is Osi is a little cranky with the Giants front office, and is looking to hold out or leave the team in 2011. Tuck will be double teamed as often as possible if Umenyiora doesn't return and I believe he will suffer immensely.. 

    Tuck is not really a superstar defensive end either. His career high in sacks in only 12, and in 2009 he only put up 6 sacks while playing in all 16 games. He has always been a solid player, but nothing has ever led us to believe he will be a superstar in this league and now that he's attracting double teams, how will he produce solid numbers?  

    Tuck has always been known as a good run stopper, but in 2011 he will have to go up some of the best runners in the league. He will have to face LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick twice, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Ladainian Tomlinson and I will even put Danny Woodhead on here as a legitimate running threat.

    The Giants better hope Mathias Kiwanuka can step in and take some heat off Tuck if Osi walks. As long as they do not play Vince Young, Kiwanuka can be effective but nothing special and Tuck will still struggle without a star on the line with him.  

    2011 Stat Prediction: 63 Tkls, 8 Sacks, 0 Int

Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

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    Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. He is a magician on the field and can throw the ball like no one else.

    Manning has a knack for turning average receivers into superstars, but he has never had a running game to support him. 

    In 2010, Manning was counted on to throw the ball 671 times, almost 100 more passing attempts than any other season. In his first year with offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen, Manning arguably had his worst year, and the Colts seem unorganized and old.

    Though Manning's receiving corps was riddled with injuries, he was still able to throw for 33 touchdowns and 4,700 yards because he's, well, Peyton Manning.  

    Why he will underperform in 2011:

    Listen, I am as shocked to see Peyton on this list as the next guy. But look at the facts. 

    Manning is entering his 14th season as the Colts' starting quarterback, and he is still a superstar. But I don't think he will be the same Peyton Manning in 2011 that we're all used to seeing.

    Manning is coming off neck surgery and will not be ready for the start of training camp. And there is no telling when he will be back. Manning is not one to miss games due to injury, but after a pretty poor season in Christensen's offense, and unable to read the playbook all off-season, missing camp will be critical for Manning.

    The Colts offensive line is poor. I know, I know, they added plenty of depth through the draft that should be able to protect Manning, but these guys are young and inexperienced. They may be superstars one day, but they will have a learning curve to fill after missing the entire off-season. Unfortunately, their mistakes will come at the expense of Manning. 

    Manning is being gifted by coming into a pretty solid receiving corps, but their history of recent injuries. Reggie Wayne is a star, we know that, but can Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez stay on the field long enough to be effective targets for Manning? I guess we will find out, but I don't trust it.

    Manning has a lot of obstacles to overcome and I think it might just be to much for the quarterback to handle. The quarterback is legend already, but 2011 might be a bump in the road for the Colts leader. 

    2011 Stat Prediction: 30 TD, 21 Int, 64.0 Comp Pct