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three key players

1. Drew Brees

You know the story; when playing the Saints, it all starts with Drew Brees. Like with Tom Brady three weeks ago and Aaron Rodgers next week (seriously, NFL? Why not have the Giants also face Joe Montana and Dan Marino in their prime?), the Giants' first goal must be to get pressure on Drew Brees.

Brees is not one of the easier quarterbacks to sack, as he is so often able to dump the ball off to one of his tight ends or running backs quickly enough to avoid pressure. The Giants' pass rush, which had been their strength earlier in the season, has only five sacks in their last three games. If they are going to have any chance at stopping the league's number one pass offense, Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora are going to have to make sure their names are called early and often.

Tags: giants, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, three key players
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1. LeSean McCoy

McCoy has been the Eagles' best player this season bar none, and has arguably been the best running back in football. His 906 rushing yards are second only to Fred Jackson's 917, and he has scored a touchdown in every game so far (12 total touchdowns). The 23 year old sports a 5.5 yards per carry average, and will be the key to the Eagles' offense whether its Michael Vick, Vince Young or Mike Kafka under center.

The Giants' run defense has improved over the past couple of weeks, but McCoy is a whole different animal. The last time these two teams met, McCoy rushed 24 times for 128 yards and a touchdown, and he has already broken the Giants' back a couple times during his short career. The Eagles feature McCoy in a number of ways, including as a receiver out of the backfield and on quick tosses up the middle.

Tags: eagles, giants, New York Giants, three key players
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1. Frank Gore

(Note: Gore is questionable with an ankle injury)

Anyone who has watched the 2011 NFC West Champs (Yeah, it's just about official), this year knows that Frank Gore makes their offense go. Heck, anyone who has watched the Niners over the past five years knows that Gore is the key to their offense. Gore is having another fantastic year, with 782 yards, five touchdowns and an excellent 4.9 yards per carry.

Tags: 49ers, New York Giants, preview, san francisco, three key players
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1. Tony Romo

The Cowboys' offensive line has been criticized this year, but Tony Romo has only been sacked 7 times, third least in the NFL. ?Much of the reason for this is Romo's elusiveness. ?Opposing defensive lines have done a good job getting pressure, but Romo has been able to avoid the sack due to his mobility. ?However, under pressure, Romo has been known to make the occasional poor decision. ?The Giants defensive line has been piling up the sacks recently, but they do not need to wrap up the quarterback to be effective. ?The Giants need to continually pressure Romo and force him into throwing picks. ?In the Cowboys' last three losses, Romo has seven interceptions; in their one win, he did not turn over the ball.

2. DeMarcus Ware

Tags: cowboys, demarcus ware, giants, Giants-Cowboys, miles austin, three key players, tony romo
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If the Giants want to beat the Panthers in the first game at the New Meadowlands Stadium, and they do, they'll have to stop these three Panthers players.

1. Steve Smith

If you had just seen the end of the Panthers' 2009 season, you would have thought that Matt Moore to Steve Smith was one of the league's most feared QB to WR combinations. ?In the final 3.5 games of the season, Smith caught 19 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. ?He was on his way to having a big game against the Giants (5 receptions, 60 yards, one touchdown), before breaking his arm on the opening drive of the third quarter.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, NFL, panthers, three key players
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