Super Bowl 2012: 5 Giants Who Could Be Unlikely Heroes
It's hard to believe after five months of football we're four days away from Super Bowl XLVI. Of course there are going to be guys who are expected to step up for the New York Giants (Eli Manning), but there are also going to be many unlikely heroes.
Here you'll find out who the five unlikely players are that could step up for the Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Super Bowl Sunday.
5. Steve Weatherford
New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford has been a pivotal part of the team's 2012 postseason success. Weatherford has punted 18 times in the Giants' last three games with an average of 46.4 yards per punt.That's second in this postseason to only San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee, one of the best punters in the league.
The first-year Giants punter has accumulated only one touchback in these playoffs while only allowing returners to return just half of his punts.
The Giants had two absolutely huge plays on special teams in San Francisco. That probably won't happen against New England as Julian Edelman is normally sure-handed, but what Weatherford has to do is pin the Patriots back in their own territory in hopes that their high-powered offense will stall before reaching the end zone.
If the Giants win the battle of field position, they have a great shot at winning another Super Bowl.
4. Lawrence Tynes
Scottish-born Lawrence Tynes gives Giants fans heart attacks on occasion as he can be very inconsistent. He's 6-of-8 during the 2012 playoffs but only converted on 79 percent of his field goal attempts in the regular season.
Obviously if Tynes hits a game-winner as time expires he will be the hero, but I don't expect him to do that. What I do expect is for Tynes to hit a couple of field goals over the course of the game, one from 50-plus and one from between 40 and 49 yards.
He doesn't have a great leg so this doesn't seem too likely, but he's 18 for 19 indoors during his career and the Giants will definitely be trying to put whatever points on the board that they can in order to give their defense a lead.
3. Mario Manningham
Wide receiver Mario Manningham isn't the most unlikely of heroes if you look at him as an individual, but when you compare him to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the possibility of the former Michigan Wolverine making the plays that save the Giants are slim.
The Patriots will have to pay some serious attention to the two pass catchers above Manningham on the depth chart, which will leave space on the field for him to work with. Eli never forgets about his No. 3 wide receiver when he runs through his progressions, so getting the ball to Manningham won't be a problem.
The 25-year-old pro has been hampered by injuries the entire season, playing in only 12 games while having to miss snaps in others. However, Manningham still has a 4.4 second 40-yard dash speed and will burn the Patriots defense unless they take specific measures to account for him.
2. Jacquian Williams
Rookie linebacker Jacquian Williams made possibly the biggest play of the Giants' season against San Francisco in the NFC Championship when he stripped Kyle Williams during an overtime punt return.
Williams had his struggles early in the 2011 campaign but has really come into his own as of late, made evident by his two forced fumbles in the last three games. Patriots offensive lineman will have their hands full with the Giants formidable defensive line which will free up some room for Williams to stop the run.
The South Florida alumni is very stout when it comes to stopping the run and is much bigger than Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.This size advantage will not only come in handy in stopping the ground game, but Williams should be able to get to Tom Brady a couple of times when the Patriots pass on expected running downs.
Expect Williams to make a key play in Sunday's game, one which gives his team substantial momentum.
1. Bear Pascoe
It's really going out on a limb to believe that Bear Pascoe could be a hero for the New York Giants on February 5, but nobody expected David Tyree to do what he did in Super Bowl XLII. A lot of people forget that he also caught a touchdown pass in that game to give the Giants a 10-7 lead.
Bill Belichick isn't a guy that is fooled twice. That means that he'll have his guys paying attention to Jake Ballard after suffering a loss to the Giants in Week 9 at the tight end's fingertips. With Ballard being looked after all game, Pascoe should have a fair amount of plays during which he's able to go undetected.
Kevin Boss had one catch for 45 yards the last time the Giants and Patriots played in the Super Bowl. If Giants tight end Bear Pascoe can compile a similar stat line, Big Blue will have a leg up on the Pats.