2. Andy Dalton (QB-CIN)
Grantland’s Bill Barnwell was already low on Andy Dalton to star the 2014 season, fresh off the quarterback signing an undeserved six year, $115 million extension despite never winning a single postseason game in Cincinnati. So what did Dalton do to live up to the contract? He lead the Bengals to a 10-5-1 record, earned another Pro Bowl selection, and got Cincinnati to the playoffs…only to lose, yet again, in the first round, this time to the Colts, 26-10, a game by which Dalton was abysmal, going 18-for-35 for 155 yards, no touchdowns, and a lost fumble. That putrid loss puts Dalton 0-4 in the postseason all-time.
Dalton has no excuses for his poor play. He can mix it up with the pass-and-run, with all-world receiver A.J. Green to throw to and rushers Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to fall back on, not to mention a solid option in wideout Mohamed Sanu.
Head coach Marvin Lewis, 0-6 in the postseason with the Bengals, desperately needs his signal caller to step up, not only to live up to his contract extension, but to push the Bengals deep into playoffs, with the Ravens, Steelers, Colts, and the like with which to still contend.
Will this be a transcendent season for Andy Dalton? He, more so than any other AFC quarterback, needs one.