NFL Preview: Breakout Candidates From Each Division

 @Lingberg2000 on June 13 2012 5:49 AM

AFC West - Despite being one of the all-time great quarterbacks, Peyton Manning has something to prove with the Denver Broncos. He needs to silence doubters who questioned whether his career is over after having four neck surgeries and missing all of last season with the Indianapolis Colts.

His wide receivers, including Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, have more talent and potential than they displayed with Tim Tebow at quarterback. If former quarterback Tebow could get a modicum of production from those two, Manning sure can. No. 18 should return to his record breaking pace this season. 

NFC West - As pick No. 14 in the 2011 NFL Draft, DE Robert Quinn recorded five sacks for the St. Louis Rams. With the arrival of 2012 first-round pick and former LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, Quinn should find himself even more space to rush the quarterback. 

AFC North - The Cleveland Browns moved up one spot in April's Draft to select running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick. Even though he hasn't played a minute in the NFL, he is already one of the Browns' best offensive players. He's going to be heavily relied on as one of the few playmakers on the team. If the quarterback situation can be settled with either rookie Brandon Weeden or Colt McCoy, Richardson's success rate will go up.

NFC North - Now that Brandon Marshall has joined the Chicago Bears via trade with the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Jay Cutler has a chance to put up some big numbers. Cutler's best seasons came with him throwing to Marshall in Denver when he completed 206 passes and passed for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns in the 2007-08 seasons. 

AFC South - Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson will be able to participate in a full offseason program this year after holding out last year. Because he missed so much time last year, he started off slowly and never became a consistent runner. He finished the year with just 1,047 yards and four touchdowns. It was a disappointing year to say the least. CJ2K should return to his speedy and dominant ways next season. 

NFC South - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman suffered through a sophomore slump and took a huge step back from his rookie season. Now that he has star wide receiver Vincent Jackson at his disposal, his statistical output should be a lot better. 

AFC East - This one is easy. With the arrival of DE Mario Williams, DT Marcel Darius is primed to terrorize the rest of the offenses in the division. He'll surely improve upon his 5.5 sacks in his rookie season. If there is one thing for sure, it's that the Bills will have one of the best defensive lines in football. That line will give them a chance to finish ahead of the New York Jets in the division. 

NFC East - Robert Griffin III has had some high expectations placed on him. But that's because of the enormously high price the Washington Redskins paid for him. The Redskins gave the Rams two future first-round picks in exchange for the former Baylor quarterback. Despite the high price and expectations, RGIII should produce at or near the level Carolina's Cam Newton did last season.