Giants vs. Patriots: Unlikely Players That'll Play Major Role in Super Bowl XLVI

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIFebruary 5, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Super Bowls see the most unlikely heroes come to the biggest stage and the 2012 Super Bowl will be no different when the New York Giants and New England Patriots hook up for their epic rematch.

Here are four unlikely candidates that will play major roles in Super Bowl XLVI.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis

If the Patriots decide to rush the ball out of the gate—which wouldn’t be a bad idea—BenJarvus Green-Ellis could have a big Super Bowl.

The running back recorded 667 yards and 11 touchdowns on 181 carries in 2011. When given the opportunity on 200 or more carries, Green-Ellis can produce at a high level; he rushed for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

Green-Ellis is a dark-horse MVP candidate given his ability to score touchdowns with his hard running in between tackles.


Jake Ballard

The first-year NFL tight end has only caught three passes this postseason. Quarterback Eli Manning has been utilizing Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham in the passing game often overlooking Jake Ballard.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 04:  Jake Ballard #85 of the New York Giants is knocked out of bounds against Jarrett Bush #24 and Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers at MetLife Stadium on December 4, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Ni
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Ballard caught 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. It would be extremely unlikely for Ballard to play a major role in Sunday’s game, but it’s going to happen.

Manning will be forced to use other weapons other than Nicks and Cruz because they will be the focal point of the Patriots defense.


Ahmad Bradshaw

The quarterbacks of Super Bowl XLVI have been getting most of the attention, and for good reason—quarterbacks are the main attraction when things go well or poorly.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants runs the bal lagainst Ahmad Brooks #55 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Don’t forget about the running backs in this game, especially Ahmad Bradshaw, who can catch balls out of the backfield if need be. He caught 34 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season; he caught 14 passes in the postseason.

During the year, Bradshaw ran for 659 yards and nine touchdowns.


Julian Edelman

Talk about a player that will play a major role in the game; Julian Edelman will play both sides of the ball.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Edelman will also play a role in special teams in terms of gaining field position as well as limiting field position. 

He only caught four passes all season long, so he might not have an impact on offense, but he will have a tough task of checking Manningham or Cruz in the slot. The winner of that matchup may be on the winning team when the game is all said and done.