Super Bowl 2012: 8 Under the Radar Players to Watch

Cindy FigueroaContributor IIJune 23, 2016

Super Bowl 2012: 8 Under the Radar Players to Watch

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    There is one stage that can make or break you. It can be the highlight of your career or just the beginning of elite status—this is the Super Bowl.

    Everyone knows the MVP trophy will either go to Brady or Manning, but I'm ready to give the game ball to some guys that don't get the applause they deserve.

    Both teams have some of the greatest offensive weapons in the league that receive all of the hype and TV time. But there are some other guys in the huddle that will surprise you.

    Protecting the quarterback will be key for the success of both teams and coverage on the passing.

    A few players will step up on Sunday and show the league how underrated they really are. 

Brandon Spikes Will Thorn out Against Eli Manning

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    Brandon Spikes has not been the most consistent guy this year, but he has been thriving in the playoffs.

    Bill Belichick said he has great instinct, and he has proven that against Denver and Baltimore.

    Spikes will rack up a number of tackles and keep his defense in check.

    Don’t be surprised if he makes a game changing play in the game with an interception or sack.

Mario Manningham Will Be Third to Nobody on Sunday

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    Mario Manningham has scored a touchdown in every postseason game this year.

    People easily seem to forget about him because his teammates are fantasy football All-Stars, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. But he is a critical factor.

    Manningham makes plays when they are needed, and most importantly, he scores touchdowns.

    The pressure will be focused on Cruz and Nicks, giving way for Eli Manning to his No. 3 receiver in the end zone.

Vince Wilfork Will Make Eli Look More Dysfunctional Than He Already Does

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    I know he's a Pro Bowler, and we all know he's a dominant player, but Vince Wilfork still seems to slip under the radar within playmaker realm.

    Both Tebow and Flacco have felt the wrath of Wilfork in the postseason, and Eli is next.

    At 6’2” and 325 lbs., this guy “Will Fork” you and bring revenge against Eli and the Giants

Sterling Moore Will Make His Presence Felt in the End Zone for Patriots

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    Sterling Moore was an undrafted player who was cut by the Raiders and then signed to the Patriots practice squad.

    The Patriots cut him a few weeks later and then signed him again. Who would have thought that this guy would have been the key player to save the game against the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game?

    He batted the ball down from Lee Evans in the end zone that would have definitely closed off the game for the Ravens. He did let one go through for a  touchdown in the third quarter to Torrey Smith. But Moore showed maturity and intensity and came back aggressive in the fourth.

    The Giants have more options and stronger receivers than the Ravens did. The rookie corner will need to step it up one more time against the high skills of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham.

Corey Webster Thinks He's Big Stuff. It's Time to Prove It.

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    So Corey Webster does not think he gets the appreciation he deserves like New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis, and I think he's right.

    Webster has big doing some big talk lately and making it known that he is not impressed with the Patriots offensive weapons. Make sure to look out for a Webster and Wes Welker matchup down the field.

    On Sunday, we’ll see if his smack talk is true to his coverage against the almighty Patriots passing scheme.

Veteran Brian Waters Will Make Sure Brady Goes Unharmed

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    In their last Super Bowl meeting, Tom Brady was sacked five times. When they met again this year in Week 9, Brady was sacked twice including one that caused a fumble.

    A veteran player and a leader on the offensive line, Brian Waters will protect their captain Tom Brady.

    The offensive line cannot afford to have Brady touched or pressured. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul will come on Brady full throttle.

    Waters will help guard the O-line and keep Brady from the Giants’ throw-down defense.

Secret Threat with Mathias Kiwanuka

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    We all hear the names Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul way too often. These are one of the most feared combinations of defensive players in the NFL.

    If I am the Patriots, I would be adding Mathias Kiwanuka to that list.

    He sat out the last Super Bowl meeting due to an injury. But now, he's healthy and back in his hometown of Indianapolis.

    Brady and the O-line should be prepared to feel pressure from Kiwanuka, because he's ready to show off and make a name for himself on that defense.

Stephen Gostkowski Will Be MVP in My Books for the Game Winning Field Goal

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    Remember when Adam Vinatieri was Boston’s hero? Those days are over and Stephen Gostkowski will get the chance to take the reigns over.

    It's safe to say that most kickers don’t have a problem making a 50-yarder in Game 8 of the season. It’s not a big deal, because there's no pressure. But this is the Super Bowl. It is a completely dimension of playing field.

    With dynamic offenses on both sides, there is no doubt this will be a close game.

    And like previous Super Bowls, it will come down to one person to slap an “S” on their chest and a cape on their back, and that person will be Gostkowski.