Patriots CB Kyle Arrington vs. Giants WR Victor Cruz
ABOUT ARRINGTON: When the season started, Arrington (5 feet 10 inches, 196 pounds) was the fourth cornerback behind Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, and second-round pick Ras-I Dowling. It didn’t take long for Arrington to become the team’s only dependable cornerback after Bodden and Dowling were injured and McCourty proved incapable of playing man coverage. Arrington led the NFL with seven interceptions and had 12 passes defended through 11 games. In the final seven games, including the playoffs, he has zero interceptions and two passes defended.
ABOUT CRUZ: Also an afterthought early in the season, Cruz has developed into quarterback Eli Manning’s security blanket when he needs to move the chains. Since the third game, Cruz has averaged nearly six catches and 102 yards per game and has seven touchdowns. He’s bigger (6-0, 204) than he looks and is a terrific athlete with 4.54 speed and a 41.5-inch vertical jump. Cruz is dangerous on every part of the route tree, from the flat to go.
SKINNY: We don’t know how Bill Belichick is going to defend the Giants, but taking Cruz away from Manning will probably be high on his to-do list. Arrington usually plays right cornerback, but he’s the only player with the shiftiness to hang with Cruz. Arrington would still need help.