Super Bowl Predictions 2014: Underrated Players Who Will Surprise

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 27, 2014

Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton celebrates during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The NFL season is almost over, with just one game remaining. But it's the biggest game of the year, as the Seattle Seahawks will be taking on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, and there will be a few under-the-radar players who will likely have big games.

All eyes are obviously on players like Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman. They're the superstars of the league, and fans love watching them play. But there are 11 players for each team on the field at all times, and every single one needs to step up on the biggest of stages.

With that being said, let's take a look at a couple of underrated names that will stand out at MetLife Stadium.


Super Bowl Information

Date: Sunday, February 2

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: Fox

Live Stream:

Spread (via Bovada): Broncos (-3)


Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:  Montee Ball #28 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Imag
Elsa/Getty Images

He may only be a rookie, but Broncos running back Montee Ball is emerging as a solid No. 2 back for Denver, and that could make him a very important part of the offense.

The numbers aren't eye-popping for Ball this past season. He ran for 559 yards and four touchdowns. But he also averaged a solid 4.7 yards per carry, which isn't something to take lightly.

As the season progressed, Ball started to show a lot of confidence. Back in December against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ball ran for 117 yards and just 13 carries. The very next game against the Tennessee Titans, he ran for 77 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches.

So far in the playoffs, Ball has run for 95 yards on just 22 carries. Knowshon Moreno continues to be the go-to guy, but when Ball is in, he makes the most of his opportunities.

Considering the fact that the Seahawks had the league's best pass defense, allowing just 172 passing yards per game in the regular season, the Broncos may turn to the running game more than usual, and that could mean a bigger workload for Ball.


Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 22:  Kick returner Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks fields a kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on December 22, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

According to the NFL's Twitter account, Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin has been cleared to play for the Super Bowl.

While it is unclear how much Harvin will play in the game, defenses will be planning on finding ways to contain him and Golden Tate. But one player who might be overlooked is Doug Baldwin.

Baldwin's regular-season numbers weren't spectacular, catching 50 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. But he's an all-around valuable player, doing a solid job blocking on run and screen plays.

Since the start of the playoffs, Baldwin has been a productive player as well. He caught two passes for 30 yards against the New Orleans Saints, then went off for 106 yards and six receptions in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Broncos ranked 27th in pass defense during the regular season, giving up 254.4 yards per game through the air, so Russell Wilson might be finding Baldwin more than most people expect in this matchup.


Terrance Knighton, DT, Denver Broncos

If you haven't heard of Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton yet, you're going to get to know him on Super Bowl Sunday, as his name will be called multiple times.

Knighton is playing in his first season with the Broncos, having spent his previous four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was a very productive player on the inside of the defensive line. He was a solid contributor early in the season, but he's blown up as the year has progressed, coming up with some huge games against the San Diego Chargers and Houston Texans.

On a national spotlight during the AFC Championship Game, Knighton finally got the recognition he deserved. He came up with big plays one after another, even sacking Tom Brady on a critical 4th-and-3 that essentially sealed the win for the Broncos.

With how dominant Knighton is against the run, he could be a huge asset to Denver's defense, especially going against Marshawn Lynch. If he can plug up the running lanes and make the Seahawks a one-dimensional offense, then the Broncos could be in very good shape.