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Super Bowl LII Predictions: Projecting top defensive performers

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Super Bowl LII is finally upon us as here are some early predictions on which players will be the top defensive performers in the big game.

Two kinds of players are normally named the MVP of the Super Bowl. The first is the quarterback for obvious reasons. The second is a defensive player who makes an impactful play that changes the entire game. Let’s take a look at some of the defensive players that could make a big impact in Super Bowl LII.

New England Patriots

Malcolm Butler – Though the addition of Stephon Gilmore turned Butler into NE’s number two corner, he remains a top-notch player. He also has a flair for the dramatic. His goal-line interception in Super Bowl XLIX is a legendary play.

Devin McCourty – McCourty is another veteran of the big game with this being his 4th Super Bowl. He is a smart player who is usually in the right place at the right time. This can lead to game-changing turnovers.

James Harrison – In a surprising December move, the Patriots signed Harrison after he was waived by the rival Steelers. The 39-year-old Harrison can still get after the quarterback and a huge sack could be in the cards.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Fletcher Cox – Cox is the highest graded defensive player on either side. He will be the key in Philadelphia’s plan to shut down the running game. He can also collapse the pocket, disrupting the offense in a number of ways.

Brandon Graham – Graham is a demon off the edge for the Eagles. Teams that beat the Patriots in big games do so by getting in Tom Brady‘s face. Graham is the Philly defender with the best chance of doing that.

Patrick Robinson – Robinson is the Eagles’ best cover guy and had a dominant season in the slot. He will match up against Danny Amendola who is a key to the Pats’ offense. Whoever wins that matchup may be the winner of the big game.

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