Patriots vs. Broncos: 6 Surprise Hero Candidates
Every year, surprise heroes emerge out of nowhere to make huge plays for their team in the NFL playoffs. Last season, the New England Patriots benefitted from the coming-of-age play of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl isn’t the only time little-known players come out of the woodwork.
Focusing on the task at hand, here are six surprise hero candidates for the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos:
6. Justin Coleman
Coleman is the first surprise hero that comes to mind simply because he played so well against the Kansas City Chiefs. As noted by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Alex Smith was just 3-of-7 for 26 yards when he targeted Coleman. Save for a defensive holding penalty, Coleman was suffocating in coverage, recording an impressive pass breakup on a pass to Chris Conley.
Before the Divisional Round, Leonard Johnson had taken over nickel duties while Coleman has been out dealing with a head injury. After such a good return to action, Coleman should get the start as the Pats’ No. 3 corner against the Broncos. Look for the Tennessee product to contend as the surprise hero of the game if he’s able to get his mitts on a Peyton Manning pass.
Next: 5. Malcom Brown