Commentary

12 Things: Key NFL title game players

With good games Sunday, these guys could become NFL legends

Originally Published: January 21, 2011
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyMatt Forte and B.J. Raji will be among this weekend's biggest difference makers.

Who will it be this year?

A year ago on the eve of the AFC and NFC championship games, New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter and Indianapolis Colts wideout Pierre Garcon were little-known starters who, overnight, became household names after helping their teams reach the Super Bowl.

With the Minnesota Vikings driving late to win the NFC title game, Porter intercepted Brett Favre at the Saints' 22-yard line to ensure overtime, where Garrett Hartley won it with a field goal. In the AFC title game, Garcon had 11 catches for 153 yards and a TD, (the first two career highs and AFC title-game records) to help the Colts past the New York Jets and on to Miami.

So the question now is, who will be the instant stars to come out of this week's championship games?

Here are 12 players from the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers who could step into that role:


To read about the 12 players who will be key in the AFC and NFC title games, you must be an ESPN Insider.