Super Bowl Prop Bets: Chad Ochocinco and Other Long Shots for Game's MVP Award
Even second-tier players such as Aaron Hernandez and Ahmad Bradshaw are solid candidates. That said, there are also a few other players who are worthy of consideration, especially since both the Giants and Patriots resemble one another quite well.
Here are four long shots to win the Super Bowl's MVP award.
Chad Ochocinco: WR, Patriots
Chad Ochocinco has been a rare contributor this season for New England, so it's reasonable to suspect that the Giants defense won't be game-planning as much for him.
With other receiving targets such as Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch, it's no surprise Ochocinco has been limited.
In the Super Bowl, though, Ochocinco will have a window of opportunity. Provided that New England keeps the New York pass rush at bay early on, expect the Pats to go with some five-wide sets.
There, you'll see Ocho and Branch on the outside, Welker and Gronkowski as the slots and Hernandez at the wing.
Being that the Giants are vulnerable against the pass, Ocho will see mainly single coverage when in the game. So most, if not all, of his targets will be on double-move patterns to the post, corner or straight up the sideline.
Also, look for the Patriots to try to run the ball when he's in the game for setting up the play-action pass. Doing so will only keep Ocho's window of opportunity open longer.
Vince Wilfork: DT, Patriots
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In Super Bowl XLVI, expect Bill Belichick to run more of his 1-5-5 scheme.
This front will allow the Patriots defense to match up against New York's excellent receiving corps with five defensive backs in the game, as well as having five linebackers to play zone underneath and against the run.
Which leaves us with one defensive tackle in the game: Vince Wilfork.
His ability to control both A-gaps and beat one-on-one blocking situations is the key to the Pats defense. Wilfork must be impenetrable against the run and at the very least, he'll continually flush Eli Manning outside of the pocket when he drops back to pass.
Wilfork's instincts at finding the football, though, will be most beneficial to New England.
He can read screens and draws and keeps trucking along even when the play goes away from him.
If the Giants run game is held in check and Wilfork leads the Patriots in tackles and sacks in a low-scoring game, his MVP odds are boosted quite a bit.
Mario Manningham: WR, Giants
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Already under the radar because of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham could be in for a big game on Super Sunday.
New England's pass defense, no matter what scheme it's playing, will first need to account for shutting down both Nicks and Cruz. Therefore, Manningham will likely be left in many single-coverage situations.
He does, however, have higher odds than Chad Ochocinco because Manningham is used a lot more in his team's offense. New York will play a lot of three-receiver sets and have tight end Jake Ballard in as well.
Across the middle and down the seam routes is where Manningham can do the most damage, because New England's weakness is in the middle.
Plus, no linebacker is going to cover Mario one-on-one and a nickel/dime defensive back won't shut him down completely. Provided that the Patriots aren't consistently getting pressure on Eli Manning and they also focus more coverage on Nicks and Cruz, Manningham will be open a lot.
Look for him near the red zone, because that's where New England is strongest defensively, and New York needs a guy who's quick enough to get outside from the slot and across the middle. Both Cruz and Nicks can do that as well, but are more dangerous from the outside.
Corey Webster: CB, Giants
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Easily the best lockdown corner in the game, New York's Corey Webster will be expected to shut down his receiver while in single coverage for most, if not all, of Super Bowl XLVI.
On the year, Webster led the Giants with 16 passes defended and six interceptions while also recording 51 tackles.
Against the Patriots, he'll mostly be responsible for locking on Deion Branch as the linebackers get physical in the box with Tom Brady's tight ends.
Also, expect safety Antrel Rolle to roll down quite often to help with run support and to keep a secondary defender on slot man Wes Welker. As for Webster, going against Branch, a former Super Bowl MVP, won't be an easy task.
That being said, if the rest of Big Blue's defense proves dominant versus Gronk, Hernandez and Welker, Branch will receive more targets from Brady. Webster will then have to answer the call and respond with tight coverage throughout.
We're talking press coverage, press then bail and a late rolldown just before the snap to press again. Obviously the theme is to remain physical and decrease any chance of separation, as doing so will then increase the odds of an interception.
John Rozum on Twitter.