Come playoff time, all 53 players on every roster are going to be important and play some role. However, not all players are of equal importance. Some guys are going to do minor things to help a team win, while others are going to play major roles.
After a quick glance on the AFC side of the bracket, here are four guys that will play the biggest roles in their teams' success in the NFC on Wild Card Weekend.
Greeen Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Mr. Discount Double Check is entering the playoffs blistering hot. Over the past seven games he's tossed 18 touchdowns to zero interceptions. I REPEAT— ZERO INTERCEPTIONS. When Rodgers is playing at his best, the Packers are close to unbeatable. That is to say, Green Bay will need a big game from the former MVP. During the last two playoff games against the New York Giants, Rodgers and the Packers have fallen short. However, if Rodgers continues his scorching play, the Giants will be on a one-way flight back to New Jersey.
New York Giants CB Janoris Jenkins
The G-Men get their Pro Bowl CB back in time for a showdown against Green Bay. Jenkins will match up against Jordy Nelson trying to halt the Packers aerial assault. In the wake of Rodgers’ MVP-like play, Nelson has reverted back into one the league’s best wide receivers. When Nelson struggles, so do the Packers. In five out of the Packers' six losses, Nelson was held under 100 yards. The job of shutting down Nelson will fall on Jenkins. If he can do that, it’ll all but guarantee the Giants a third straight postseason victory over the Packers.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford
The Detroit Lions quarterback has the tall task in facing the Seattle Seahawks in a road playoff game. While it’s known that the Seahawks have built regular season dominance at home, the same could be said for the postseason. Seattle hasn’t lost a home playoff game since 2004. That all can change if Stafford plays mistake-free and attacks the middle of the field by utilizing Eric Ebron, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin. Without Earl Thomas roaming in the secondary, Stafford and the Lions have a shot at bringing the Seahawks' home reign to an end.
Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls
Selecting Russell Wilson would be an easy choice, but we know what we are going to get out of him. On the other hand, we don’t know what to expect from running back Thomas Rawls. When playing at a high level, Rawls has a huge role in the Seahawks offense. This offense goes as its running game goes, so Rawls' versatility out of the backfield will be the key to kickstarting this potentially potent offense. Going against Detroit, it’s essential that he challenges the Lions' rushing defense to lessen the burden on Wilson.