Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Chad Ochocinco Will Be Huge Reason Why Patriots Win

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIFebruary 3, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: Chad Ochocinco #85 of the New England Patriots heads off the field in the second half against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Chad Ochocinco has been a dud this season for the New England Patriots. With only 276 yards and one touchdown reception, Ochocinco has been a non-factor throughout the Pats' impressive run to Super Bowl XLVI.

After missing the AFC Championship because of his father's funeral, Ochocinco will be able to play this coming Sunday.

Could he erase the most dismal season of his career with one big play in the Super Bowl?

Why not?

First of all, the Patriots have a coach in Bill Belichick who isn't afraid to throw the unexpected at you, no matter what the situation is. Hell, we saw Tom Brady punt the ball this season.

With Belichick, it's best to expect the unexpected. So don't be surprised if he has already incorporated Chad Ochocinco in the game plan already. 

Ochocinco's disappearing act this season may make the New York Giants feel like he's not going to be a threat in the Super Bowl. However, consider this:

The Giants defense is going to rely on its elite pass rush to pressure Tom Brady. The pass rush, which consists of guys like Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, has been on fire as of late and will be the reason why the Giants are tough.

However, what's not being documented at all is the Patriots offensive line.

It consists of veterans like Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly and Brian Waters, who all have experience and should provide solid protection for Brady. Finally, Sebastian Vollmer's return from injury will also be a welcome addition to the already stacked Pats O-line. 

Vollmer's return allows Nate Solder, who has filled in for Vollmer throughout his absence, to line up as a blocking tight end in certain situations. Add Rob Gronkowski on the other side as another blocking tight end and all of a sudden that Giants pass rush becomes irrelevant.

Getting to Brady won't be a simple task. In fact, Brady's only been sacked one time in the playoffs, and that's without Vollmer in the lineup and against one of the best defenses in the league, the Baltimore Ravens.

If Brady has time to throw, the Giants had better be careful. One may argue that the Patriots don't have a deep threat, but that's where Ochocinco comes in.

Brady has plenty of options when throwing the ball. He can throw in the flat to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, down the middle to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and to the corners to Wes Welker and Deion Branch, who are solid receivers but whom no one considers deep threats.

So enter Ocho.

He hasn't done anything all year. Sunday he could change that and be a crucial reason why the Patriots win the Super Bowl. 

The Giants secondary is pretty weak. So is it too crazy to believe that Brady will try to go deep to Ochocinco early to try to get a game-breaking touchdown?

Absolutely not. It's the Super Bowl. 

When two teams are so evenly matched like the Giants and Patriots, you need to catch your opponent off guard; throwing a 70-yard bomb to Ocho might be the best way to do that. 

With all of that being said, the fact that the Patriots offensive line is going to be providing plenty of protection for Brady means that he will be able to distribute the ball to his targets rather easily. 

A lot has been made of the Giants' pass rush, but perhaps we've all been collectively overstating it. 

And how fitting would it be for a player who loves being the center of attention to get the biggest score of his career in his worst season, but under the biggest spotlight.