Pro Bowl 2013: Players Who Will Steal Spotlight in Honolulu

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals scores a touchdown in front of T.J. Ward #43 of the Cleveland Browns during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Bengals defeated the Browns 34-27.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Pro Bowl is an exhibition game and the players treat it as such. The guys who put up monster numbers are the ones trying the hardest while everybody else goes through the motions and enjoys a vacation in Hawaii.

Just look at the final scores of the last two games. Last year, the AFC won 59-41. Two years ago, the NFC triumphed 55-41. While it's not high-quality football, the shootout element helps attract an audience and give players a great chance to shine.

With that in mind, let's take a look at three players who should have a field day on Sunday. There will be no shortage of opportunities in the race to 50.


C.J. Spiller

Spiller was awarded a spot on the AFC roster after Ray Rice was removed as he prepares for the Super Bowl. The Buffalo Bills star would have made it on his own if not for extremely poor usage decisions by former head coach Chan Gailey.

The dynamic third-year accounted for 1,703 total yards of offense on just 250 touches. For comparison's sake, AFC starter Arian Foster totaled 1,641 yards on 391 touches. That shows just how dangerous Spiller was every time he touched the ball.

This is the type of game where he can show off his immense talent. The AFC should get him the ball in space as much as possible in the second half and watch him work his magic. His ability to make defenders miss will be on full display.


A.J. Green

The Pro Bowl is a wide receiver's dream. Plenty of space to operate in the secondary after spending an entire season looking at double teams and catching passes from some of the best quarterbacks in the league. It doesn't get better than that.

Of all the receivers on the AFC squad, who will be catching passes from Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Matt Schaub, Green seems like the one most prepared to explode. It also helps that he's a starter and should play nearly the entire game.

Given the high number of passes that will be thrown on Sunday, there's a good chance a wide receiver will end up walking away with the MVP, just like Brandon Marshall did last year. The Cincinnati Bengals' top target is in line to have a similar big game.


Patrick Peterson

It doesn't take much to stand out on defense in the Pro Bowl. A couple tackles and a turnover is enough to make an impact, which sets up well for Peterson. The Arizona Cardinals cornerback had seven interceptions during the regular season.

Since he knows it doesn't matter whether he gets burned, you can expect the playmaker to be jumping a lot routes with hopes of a pick-six or two. If last year's fifth overall pick pulls it off, he will easily be the top defensive contender for MVP.

Peterson was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season in Arizona, which saw the team squander a strong start. Forcing a couple turnovers in Honolulu would at least allow him to end the season on a high note.