Super Bowl 2012: Why Kyle Arrington Is Key for New England Patriots Defense

Jason ClarkCorrespondent IIFebruary 3, 2012

Super Bowl 2012: Why Kyle Arrington Is Key for New England Patriots Defense

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    Super Bowl XLVI is set up to be an offensive showdown between Tom Brady's New England Patriots and Eli Manning's New York Giants.

    But for every intimidating offense, there is a cringing defense.

    The Patriots' 31st-ranked pass defense is certainly cringing at the idea of stopping the NFL's hottest quarterback in Manning and his dynamic group of receivers. But if they want to get the job done, they will have to make stops.

    Cornerback Kyle Arrington will be key to making those stops, and here's why.

Coverage

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    As the New England Patriots' top cornerback, Kyle Arrington will likely be charged with the task of bottling up Hakeem Nicks. However, it is also likely that he will have to cover Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham at various points in the game.

    Those are three very good receivers, who are each capable of making big plays when they get the ball in their hands.

    Arrington is hardly a coverage specialist like Darelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha, but he will have to do his best impersonation of them on Sunday.

    Nicks has two 100-yard receiving games in the 2012 playoffs so far. If the Patriots don't want to see that happen again Arrington must be the key to making sure it doesn't happen.

Tackling

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    In Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, the New York Giants have two of the NFL's best at getting yards after the catch.

    If Kyle Arrington can't prevent the ball from getting into their hands in the first place, he needs to be able to bring them down before they're off picking up giant chunks of yardarge.

    Nicks and Cruz have 18 and 17 receptions this postseason so far, which puts them at second and third, respectively, among pass-catchers.

    In the New England Patriots' bend-but-don't-break defense, tackling is key, and that is what Arrington will have to do to make stops or at least prevent touchdowns.

    In the Pats' week nine matchup against the Giants, Arrington only had two tackles. It's good for corners to keep their tackling numbers low, provided that it's because they aren't allowing catches to be made by the receivers they are covering.

    But the Giants' offense is red-hot right now, and Eli Manning will not have much trouble completing passes against the Patriots' defense. Arrington's tackling numbers will have to increase on Sunday if he wants to win his first Super Bowl.

Interceptions

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    Kyle Arrington's seven interceptions led the NFL this season, and his emergence in that category is a big part of why the New England Patriots ended the regular season at 13-3.

    However, he has yet to intercept a pass in the playoffs.

    Getting the ball back to Tom Brady should be his top priority on Sunday.

    In the case of this game, a good offense will be the best defense, as Brady will need to keep the ball out of Eli Manning's hands as much as possible in order to win.

    To keep the ball in Brady's hands, Arrington will have to create turnovers on his own, and repeat the success that he had against Manning earlier in the year.

    In week nine he intercepted Manning in the endzone, a move that not only took away a potential Giants touchdown, but also led to seven points the other way for the Patriots.

    The Patriots need Arrington to be as clutch as he was in week nine in order to bring home the Lombardi Trophy once again.