Playoffs' most important players
Jimmy Graham, T.Y. Hilton have outsized impact on their team's fortunes
There's no doubt that the NFL is driven by quarterbacks, perhaps the most important position in sports, but the playoffs have to be more than a one-man operation. While the signal-callers will lead the way, and each one is a three-game hot stretch away from a championship, we'll likely look back at the playoffs and pinpoint one of his top playmakers or perhaps a defensive teammate who played a major role in the team's Super Bowl run. With quarterbacks removed from the equation, here's a look at the most indispensable players for the remaining playoff teams.
Just one week removed from a dominant performance by T.Y. Hilton, it's fairly obvious that he is quarterback Andrew Luck's favorite, and most important, target. He caught 13 passes for 224 yards in the wild-card round against the Kansas City Chiefs just a week after catching 11 passes for 155 yards in the regular-season finale. Perhaps most important is his ability to fill a variety of roles within the Colts' offense. When dependable wide receiver Reggie Wayne went down to injury in Week 7, Luck lost his slot receiver and most trusted target, but Hilton has been able to fill a portion of Wayne's role by lining up in the slot 56 percent of the time since he was hurt.
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