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It’s practically a given that numerous big NFL stars will suffer devastating, season-ending injuries at some point during the year.And when that happens, their teams’ playoff chances may very well go up in flames (see: Manning, Peyton).
After sitting out for a long time and rehabbing their injuries (some way faster than others, i.e. Adrian Peterson), it’s time the 2011 injury gang prove they can still perform at an elite level.
Cutler will need to bounce back and connect with new addition and former Broncos teammate Brandon Marshall if Chicago wants to contend in the NFC North.
A torn ACL early in the 2011 season not only ended Jamaal Charles' season, but played a big part in Kansas City missing the playoffs
Charles will need to get back to the 2010 version of himself (1467 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry) in order for KC to contend.
On top of losing its starting running back in Jamaal Charles for the year, KC also lost their QB in Week 9
Matt Cassel had a solid 2010 in leading the Chiefs to the playoffs.
If he can team up with a healthy Charles, a postseason run is certainly not out of the question.
According to multiple reports Peyton Manning looks just as good as ever after sitting out all of 2011
The Broncos hope it translates to on the field success because without Peyton they're not much better than an 8-8 team.
Tampa Bay desperately needs 2010 third overall pick Gerald McCoy to show he can be an elite NFL defensive tackle
McCoy had to be shut down for the year after tearing his biceps muscle last season.
He'll need to stay healthy and pick up his game for the Bucs to improve one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Schaub's foot injury prevented Houston from possibly making an even deeper playoff run.
If he's back at full strength there's no telling how far this team can go in 2012.
Andre Johnson's knee problems kept him out of football during the middle of the year, but he was able to come back and play well in the postseason.
Having both Schaub and Johnson back for a whole year would make Houston one of the league's scariest teams.
Miles Austin's hamstring issues lingered all season long, lowering his production and keeping him out of six games
When healthy, Austin can be one of the best wideouts in the league.
Whatever crazy expectations Dallas Cowboys brass have in 2012 won't be met without Austin on the field every week.
The Panthers are a dark horse 2012 playoff pick with the offence being led by Cam Newton, but they won't get there without Beason commanding the middle of the field on the other side of the ball.
Mario Williams missing most of 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle didn't keep the Buffalo Bills from handing him a $100 million contract
Buffalo desperately needs the highest payed defensive player in the NFL to lead an up and coming defence/team.
Adrian Peterson says he'll be as good as new come Week 1 after suffering a severe knee injury in 2011 (torn ACL and MCL)
The Vikings better hope he's back to his old self at some point this year.
Minnesota is expected to be one of the league's inferior teams, but without AP things could be way worse.
Chargers cornerback Bob Sanders suffered a season-ending knee injury a mere two games into the 2011 season
San Diego's pass defence was OK without Sanders' help.
If he can get back to playing at a Pro Bowl-level it would go a long way to putting the Chargers in the hunt for the AFC West crown.
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