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Super Bowl 2012: Key players to watch

A look at players who could make the difference for the New York Giants and New England Patriots.

February 04, 2012|By Sam Farmer
  • New England safety Patrick Chung, left, is arguably the best player in the Patriots' secondary; New York linebacker Jacquian Williams forced the decisive fumble in the NFC Championship against San Francisco.
New England safety Patrick Chung, left, is arguably the best player in the… (Kelvin Ma, John G. Mabanglo…)

Giants

Three players who need to come through

Jacquian Williams
Linebacker
The team's fastest linebacker, it was Williams who forced the decisive fumble in the victory over San Francisco. He's nursing a sprained foot.

Aaron Ross
Cornerback
Considering New England's weapons on the outside, Ross needs to have a good game opposite the more reliable and consistent Corey Webster.

David Baas
Center
Eli Manning took a beating in the overtime victory at San Francisco. The Giants need Baas to step up, especially when he's nose to nose with the Patriots' Wilfork.

Three players you need to know

Dave Tollefson
Defensive end
The Giants' other defensive linemen get more attention, but Tollefson is a vital part of the rotation. He was also a member of the 2007 team, and got a ring.

Greg Jake Ballard
Tight end
Billed as a great blocker, Ballard has developed into a very capable receiver. He caught the winning touchdown pass in a regular-season victory over the Patriots.

Steve Weatherford
Punter
A physical specimen with a reported 3% body fat, Weatherford is not only an excellent directional punter but also a reliable holder on kicks.

Patriots

Three players who need to come through

Sebastian Vollmer
Tackle
Vollmer, a right tackle, is coming back from a foot injury. The Patriots need him to neutralize Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.

Vince Wilfork
Nose tackle

A disruptive force in the middle, Wilfork is coming off his best game of the season. The Patriots need him to stop the run, first and foremost.

Patrick Chung
Safety

Although arguably the best player in their secondary, Chung was fooled at least twice in the Baltimore game, biting on play-action fakes and letting receiver Torrey Smith run past.

Three players you need to know

Brandon Spikes
Outside linebacker
Spikes, who sat out much of the season because of an injured medial collateral ligament in his knee, is the team's best run-stopping linebacker.

Stevan Ridley
Running back
The most explosive running back on the Patriots' roster, the rookie Ridley hadn't fumbled this season until coughing up the ball three times in the past four games.

Mark Anderson
Defensive end
Anderson, in his first season with New England, led the Patriots with 10 sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. He's their best pure pass rusher.

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