Super Bowl 2012: 5 New England Patriots Who Will Need a Big Game
If the Patriots are going to have a chance at winning the Super Bowl this year, Brady is going to have to play lights out against a stout defense.
But what about the other players?
Without the supporting cast around Tom Brady, he would not be in position to win another Super Bowl.
There is a lot more to this team than just Tom Brady.
These are five players that must step up and have a big game in order for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl that are not named Tom Brady.
Outside of the two tight ends, Wes Welker is the Patriots best receiving option.
His ability to catch the ball and make the first defender miss, makes him a valuable asset to Tom Brady. He needs to be the receiver that can bail out the offense when they are in third and long situations by picking up the first down.
Welker only has 108 yards receiving this post season, and has to be more of a deep-threat in the Super Bowl to take some of the pressure of Gronkowski and his injured ankle.
Hernandez is going to have to play like Gronkowski.
Even though Gronk is probable to play, he won't be nearly as effective as he was during the regular season.
Hernandez is going to have to fill-in for that role. He needs to be the go-to-guy in the red zone and will have to be strong with the ball.
Whether Hernandez lines up as tight end, running back or receiver, he is going to have to take some pressure off of Brady and the rest of the offense.
The "Law Firm" needs to find his rushing groove.
The Patriots rely on their No. 1 running back to keep the linebackers honest and not go out for pass-protection right away.
He needs to be able to gain close to 100 yards in this game, which he has only done once in this season (against the Jets).
If he can get some extra touches in the red zone to throw the Giants defense off a bit, then the passing game can open up a little more.
Belichick and Brady need to get the the running game going early-on so that Brady can throw the ball deep to Welker, Branch and Gronk.
The nose tackle for the Patriots made Joe Flacco's night a very unpleasent one in the AFC Championship game.
He had six tackles, one sack and two stuffs.
He needs to have an equal, if not better game against the Giants if they want to win.
Eli Manning is a great quarterback who is on the verge of being called elite, but Wilfork needs to be a disrupting force in the middle in order to harrass Manning and keep him uncomforable.
If he can have (a very realistic) two sacks, three hurries and five tackles, then he would effectively have caused enough chaos to force at least one turnover, which in this game, could be all the difference in order for the win.
Gostkowski is probably the guy who will get the least amount of attention leading up to the game.
However, looking back on the Pats' past Super Bowl victories, it is evident that the place kicker plays a very vital role in determining the out come of these big games.
Gostkowski needs to convert all of his extra points, and needs to be the clutch kicker that Vinatieri was for so many years.
He needs to have a big game in the sense that he must do everything that is asked of him: from kicking field goals to extra points, he will need to be perfect in order to truly be a factor in this game.