--WR Calvin Johnson, Lions. Help is on the way for "Megatron" in the form of former Seahawk Golden Tate and rookie tight end Eric Ebron. Detroit has swung and missed on complementary weapons in years past (Titus Young, anyone?), but it might finally have weapons to take heat off the best receiver of this generation. Green Bay has lived the Johnson Impact firsthand. In the first meeting last season, the Packers easily dusted off a Johnson-less Lions team, 22-9. In Round 2, at Ford Field, the Lions trounced Green Bay, 40-10, as Johnson caught 10 passes for 101 yards with a touchdown.
--QB Peyton Manning, Broncos. Enough debate over Manning's "legacy" each February. It's unreal that at 38 years old, he's arguably the best player in the game. The five-time MVP will have Denver right back in contention. Will he throw for 55 touchdowns again? Probably not with a healthy dose of Montee Ball. But Manning will be Manning.
--RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings. Speaking of players who should be breaking down by now, "All Day" continues his torrid run at Canton. At 29 years old, there's no sign of Peterson hitting the wall. Facing a crowded line of scrimmage much of his career, he already has surpassed 10,000 yards. And hobbled by a groin injury in 2013, he should be fresher in 2014 and benefit from better, Ponder-less quarterback play in Minnesota.
--WRs Alshon Jeffery/Brandon Marshall, Bears. The Green Bay passing game is about timing, precision. The Chicago passing game is about teeing up jump balls to these two large receivers. And say what you will about Jay Cutler -- he will go deep. No wideouts draw the ire of the Packers more than the physical Jeffery and Marshall. It won't be easy to defend them in this new, flag-happy emphasis.
--QB Nick Foles, Eagles. Or should we put down Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly here? Either way, Kelly is always thinking a step ahead, turning Foles into a juggernaut last season. Within this efficient, video game offense, Foles knows which buttons to push. After going 8-2 as the starter with 27 touchdowns and two picks, he's now the unquestioned starter. Expect big things in a division full of bad defenses.
--QB Andrew Luck, Colts. Without much support on offense most of last season, Luck now gets Reggie Wayne back and Hakeem Nicks arrives in Indianapolis. Luck is easily the best player in an AFC South packed with rebuilding teams. Now, in Year 3, expect him to take the next step.
--DE J.J. Watt, Texans. Houston won't do much on offense in 2014, kicking the tires on Ryan Fitzpatrick before gambling on a high draft pick at quarterback. But Watt and Jadeveon Clowney working in tandem will be worth the price of admission alone. Clowney was scary for stretches in the preseason -- offenses can't double-team both. Watt's star (he has 361/2 sacks and 27 batted balls in three years) will continue to rise.
LB Lavonte David, Buccaneers. The former Nebraska linebacker was born to play in Lovie Smith's defense. A rangy, sure-tackling playmaker, David could be the defensive player of the year in Smith's scheme in Tampa Bay. David is already one of the best players no one has heard of with nearly 300 tackles, nine sacks and six interceptions his first two seasons. For those keeping score at home, the Packers drafted Jerel Worthy ahead of David.
--S Earl Thomas, Seahawks. Richard Sherman runs his mouth, shuts down receivers and gets the headlines. But the suffocating Thomas, at safety, may be the player who really makes the Seattle defense go. In his fifth season, Thomas is peaking. He had five picks and nine breakups a year ago and was the one safety able to decode and deconstruct Manning.
--WR Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers. Someone has to catch the ball in Carolina, right? Benjamin is raw. He had one solid season at Florida State. But Cam Newton will go vertical and Benjamin has size (6-5, 240).
--QB Derek Carr, Raiders. He'll get his chance at some point this season. Matt Schaub might have been the $8 million investment, but while Schaub floundered in the preseason, Carr ripped Seattle for 143 yards on 11 of 13 passing with three touchdowns.
--WR Brandin Cooks, Saints. New Orleans doesn't have a true No. 1 wide receiver with Drew Brees spreading the wealth. Cooks, of the blistering 4.33 in the 40, should slide right in. He caught 195 passes his last two seasons at Oregon State.
--RB Bishop Sankey, Titans. The first running back drafted is accustomed to a high volume of carries. It's only a matter of time before he gets that in Tennessee, ahead of Shonn Greene.
--DT Aaron Donald, Rams.
The Bears might still be having nightmares of the Rams taking Donald one pick ahead of them. The consensus All-American at Pitt makes the best defensive line in football even better.
--UNDER THE RADAR
--RB Andre Ellington, Cardinals. He plays in the cutthroat NFC West, but Ellington is the lightning-in-a-bottle playmaker who'll give Arizona a fighting chance. Clocked at 4.61, he plays like he's 4.31 on the field.
--S Harrison Smith, Vikings. Another player Green Bay passed on in 2012 (for Nick Perry), Smith has become the quarterback of the Vikings secondary. Not an intimidating enforcer and not a freelancing playmaker, Smith is solid at just about everything.
--RB Toby Gerhart, Jaguars. This name doesn't sneak up on Packers fans -- Gerhart had 91 yards on eight carries in a tie against Green Bay last season. After waiting four years behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, he'll now get a chance to be the workhorse back in Jacksonville. Gerhart is shifty for a 234-pounder.
--RB Shane Vereen, Patriots. New England doesn't do much for Tom Brady at wide receiver these days, but the Patriots do boast an emerging star in Vereen. The versatile back caught 47 passes in eight games last season, and he'll be central to lots the Patriots do in 2014.
--QB Josh McCown, Buccaneers. After throwing 13 touchdown passes and only one pick in relief of Jay Cutler last year in Chicago, the 35-year-old journeyman gets his long-awaited chance to start in Tampa Bay. The offense will look familiar. Down south, he has another pair of tall receivers to throw to in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.
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