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6 Under-the-Radar NFL Players Primed for Huge Playoff Performances

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

6 Under-the-Radar NFL Players Primed for Huge Playoff Performances

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    There are a variety of under-the-radar NFL players who will have a coming-out party in the 2012 NFL playoffs. 

    While the publicity will go to the big names leading up to the playoffs, there are many NFL players every year that break out into household names after great performances in the postseason. 

    The 2012 NFL playoffs will be no exception. There are several players that are primed to have massive games this postseason and make themselves known to each and every NFL fan. 

    Let's take a look at six under-the-radar NFL players who are primed for huge playoff performances. 

Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals is the best 4-3 defensive tackle in the NFL, but he is far from a household name. 

    That could change in the 2012 NFL playoffs. 

    Atkins has racked up a ridiculous 13 sacks from an interior defensive line position this season. He makes everyone around him better because pressure from the interior is so rare in today's NFL. 

    There is a strong chance that Atkins will have a massive game in the first round of the playoffs. There is not an offensive lineman in the NFL that can handle him alone, and he could propel the Bengals to a playoff victory. 

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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    Indianapolis Colts rookie receiver T.Y. Hilton has caught fire recently, and he has established himself as one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets. 

    The speedy Hilton has over 800 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. He is an explosive threat that can score on any play, which would explain his ridiculous 17 yards-per-catch average. 

    Indianapolis is a dark horse in the AFC playoffs this year, and Hilton could be the game-breaker. His contributions all over the field add an explosive element to the Colts' offense that is hard to contain. 

    Hilton is not the biggest name just yet, but he could be after he is done lighting up the playoffs. 

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

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    Washington Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris is quickly becoming the worst-kept secret in the NFL. 

    While Morris is starting to receive his due, all the attention when the playoffs roll around will be on quarterback Robert Griffin III, and rightfully so. 

    That is not a bad thing for Morris. 

    Morris has rumbled for over 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. His production will translate to the playoffs, and it may even carry the team farther than anyone could have imagined. 

    Not bad for a sixth-round pick. 

Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks

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    He may be loathed by Green Bay Packers fans around the globe, but Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate has quietly put together an outstanding season. 

    Tate has managed to rack up 583 yards receiving this year along with seven touchdowns. 

    With a rookie quarterback at the helm, in recent weeks Tate has emerged as one of the offense's best weapons through the air. Tate can make most catches and also has the ability to make defenders miss in open space. 

    Tate could be a secret weapon for the Seahawks come playoff time. He has all the skills and will not receive a massive amount of coverage from opposing teams. 

Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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    Michael Crabtree is best known for his antics leading up to his entrance to the NFL, but if recent trends are any indication, he will soon be best known for lighting it up for the San Francisco 49ers this postseason. 

    The second half of the season Crabtree has emerged as the No. 1 receiving option on the 49ers. Overall he has racked up 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. 

    He notched 172 yards and two touchdowns in Week 17 alone against the Arizona Cardinals. 

    Crabtree is becoming an No. 1 receiver right before our eyes, and he is doing so at the perfect time as he builds momentum toward the playoffs. 

DuJuan Harris, RB, Green Bay Packers

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    DuJuan Harris has had quite the NFL career over the past year. He went undrafted in 2011 before bouncing around with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

    As it turns out, Harris is now a member of the Green Bay Packers—and he is here to stay. 

    Harris has seen limited action with the Packers this season, but he has been extremely effective. His 4.4 yards-per-carry average is something that should catch anyone's eye.

    He was given a full workload of 14 carries in Week 17, which he turned into 70 yards and an outstanding 5 yards-per-carry average. 

    With opposing teams focused on shutting down Aaron Rodgers and the passing attack, Harris could be a breakout star for the Packers this season. The team needs a spark to make some significant noise, and Harris could do just that. 

     

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