NFL Playoff Predictions: 8 Players Poised to Break Out on Wild Card Weekend
The playoffs are finally here, and fans are gearing up for one of the most exciting Januarys in years.
The postseason is reserved for only the best of the best, and players who perform at the highest level are superstars.
The following seven players are underrated by the national public, but they are poised to break out in a big way this coming weekend.
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Geno Atkins is a little-known name, despite performing at an All-Pro level all season long.
The versatile defensive tackle is the leader of a stingy Bengals defense, and he contributes in all phases of that side of the ball.
The second-year-man out of Georgia recorded a gaudy eight sacks on the year, the most among defensive tackles in the NFL.
He also had three pass deflections and two forced fumbles, as well as being a major factor in Cincinnati's strong run defense.
Atkins will have a mammoth game, and stifle the Texans' offensive linemen all day long.
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Despite recording just 28 catches for 353 yards on the season, backup tight end Joel Dreessen was a major factor in the Texans offense.
The Colorado State product was the team's best red-zone target, as he recorded six receiving touchdowns on the season.
Dreessen is a terrific check-down option for rookie quarterback T.J. Yates, as he is often overlooked by opposing defenses.
With Andre Johnson back healthy, the Bengals will have to leave at least one Houston receiver open, and that man will most likely be Joel Dreessen.
This all adds up to a huge game for the 29-year-old.
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Titus Young is primed to have a breakout game in front of a national audience tonight.
The rookie wide receiver had a very solid 2011, as he recorded 48 receptions, 607 yards and six touchdowns.
He possesses great speed and elusiveness, and he has a knack for big plays.
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With Darren Sproles receiving most of the national spotlight, Pierre Thomas has not gotten the praise he deserves after a terrific season.
The Illinois product was one of the leaders of the Saints record-breaking offense, as he rushed for 562 yards and five touchdowns on just 110 carries. He also caught a staggering 50 passes for 425 yards and a touchdown.
With the Lions focusing on Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles tonight, Thomas could be in line for a breakout game.
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Second-year-man Sean Weatherspoon quietly put together a Pro Bowl caliber season this year.
The Falcons linebacker was a crucial part of Atlanta's fifth ranked run defense, as he recorded a staggering 80 tackles.
The 24-year-old was also a superb contributor in the passing game, as he recorded four sacks and eight pass deflections.
Weatherspoon has the kind of big play ability that could be crucial in a close playoff game against a mistake-prone Giants offense.
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Although Corey Webster struggles at times in allowing the big play, the Giants cornerback has the big play ability that could change a game.
The LSU product finished second in the NFL with six interceptions, and he also recorded a superb 16 pass deflections.
Webster will be matched up against explosive wide receiver Roddy White tonight, and he will need a terrific game for the Giants to advance to the next round.
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With star running back Rashard Mendenhall sidelined with a torn ACL, backup Isaac Redman will receive the majority of the carries this postseason.
Redman will be matched up with a below average Broncos rushing defense that ranked just 22nd against the run this year.
The third-year man out of Bowie State has the strength and explosiveness to have a monster game, and lead the Steelers to a first round win.
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D.J. Williams is a vastly underrated player for the Broncos, as he has put up superb numbers this year, but has received little media attention.
The veteran linebacker placed second on the team in tackles with 90, third in sacks with five and tied for first in forced fumbles with three.
Williams seems to be all over the field every game, and he could easily be a difference maker against a banged-up Steelers offense this Sunday.