5 NFL game-changers in 2015

A Charger defender chases down Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during a 2013 preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium. Photo Credit: Kevin Reece/News4usonline.com

Big hits, big team performances and big plays is what the NFL is all about. These five players we expect to deliver the good better than anyone elese this season. Of course, there are going to be surprises during the course of a season. But these five players will be dominant and will take their game to the next level.

1-Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

The cool swag is back. Yeah, Wilson got busted in the chops after trying to execute perhaps the most asinine play-call in Super Bowl history. Wilson’s ill-fated throw at the 1-yard line that was intercepted by the New England Patriots, deprived the Seahawks of back-to-back Super Bowl wins.  Nonetheless, the Seahawks wouldn’t have been in the Super Bowl without Wilson. After hearing the past three seasons that he is not being considered as an elite quarterback, despite taking his team to two straight Super Bowls, Wilson will play like a man on a mission this season. Whether or not the Seahawks get back to the Super Bowl for the third season in a row, remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, however, and that is Mr. Wilson is going to have his best season as a pro. Wilson is not the type of cat to let distractions like a hot girlfriend (singer Ciara) and countless magazine spreads get in the way of his ambitions. The haters are still going to be out there, but at least Wilson will be able to quiet them down a bit with his stellar play this season.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton stood tall against the Seattle Seahawks. Photo by Mike Zito/News4usonline.com
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton stood tall against the Seattle Seahawks. Photo by Mike Zito/News4usonline.com

2-Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers

Superman is officially ready to take over the league. If his past four seasons is any type of barometer, Cam Newton can’t go anywhere else but up. After passing for a career-low 3, 127 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2014, Newton should have a breakout year that surpasses his rookie campaign when he thew for 4, 051 yards. The Panthers have won the NFC South Division the past two seasons, and that’s because of Newton. The NFC South now belongs to Newton-not Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons or Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Brees and the Saints have seen their best days. Ryan and the Falcons will never be what people want them to be. On the flip side, Newton, with that nasty Carolina defense backing him, will not only raise his level of play to lead the Panthers to a deeper run in the postseason than their one-game playoff appearance last season, but he’ll get the best out of his teammates as well. Despite losing wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the season, Newton, armed with a new $103 million contract, will put the cape back on and fly over the NFL.

3-Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings finally have their man. As a rookie, Teddy Bridgewater had up and down moments that come with being a novice in the NFL. His numbers in his rookie campaign are pedestrian: 2, 919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But don’t let those numbers fool you. Bridgewater played last season without the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson. Peterson is back this year, and his presence will automatically free up the accurate-passing Bridgewater to operate with more than the 64 percent completion precision he exhibited in Season 1 of what should be a long career. Because he is so quiet and considered to be small in frame, teams slept on Bridgewater, who went to the No. 32 spot in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Basically, this guy is going to prove everyone that he was the steal of the draft. Under the tutoring of offensive mastermind Norv Turner, Bridgewater is going to, in baseball’s analogy, hit it out of the ballpark  in 2015.

Melvin Gordon was the runner-up in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com
Melvin Gordon was the runner-up in the 2014 Heisman Trophy voting. Photo Credit: Tiffany Zablosky/News4usonline.com

4-Melvin Gordon, running back, San Diego Chargers

There is always one player on any given team that can get you over the hump. Running back Melvin Gordon is that guy for the Chargers. After years of having a lethargic running game, having Gordon on the same team with quarterback Philip Rivers, will get the Chargers in position to unseat the Denver Broncos as the AFC West leaders. For the past few seasons, the Chargers have been that one electric, game-changing player away from going deep into the playoffs. Rivers had LaDainian Tomlinson in the early stages of his career. Now as he comes to the end of it in a couple of more seasons, he has Gordon to worth with. It should be nice.

Bringing the pain: Leonard Williams hopes to lead USC to a great season. Photo Credit: USC Sports Information Department
Bringing the pain: Leonard Williams hopes to lead USC to a great season. Photo Credit: USC Sports Information Department

5Leonard Williams, defensive line, New York Jets

The New York Jets already had a stout defensive line when they decided to take former USC standout Leonard Williams with the No. 6 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. With Williams in the mix on that defensive line, the Jets got more scarier. A two-time All-American, Williams was voted as the Trojans’ MVP last season. That’s saying something. While many people are basically handing the New England Patriots the AFC East crown, the Jets will have some say about the matter. Having Williams on the front line will give the Patriots and other AFC teams fits for years to come.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1083 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.