Eli Manning tops Wilfork for No. 1
Editor's note: Each week, our Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel compares performances from every corner of the sports landscape and ranks the 10 most impressive, buzz-worthy individuals. Keep in mind that this is not a cumulative ranking and our week is defined from Tuesday to Monday.
Eli Manning spent a lot of time on the ground in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, but he stands alone on top of this week's Cross-Sport Power Ranking. Despite being hit 20 times, including six sacks, Manning finished the game with 316 yards, two touchdowns and one big ticket to Super Bowl XLVI. Other Giants to make this week's list include favorite Manning target Victor Cruz and never-used Manning target Devin Thomas, the special-teams player behind both crucial fumble recoveries.
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But if the Giants want to leave Indy with a Super Bowl win, they'll have to go through Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who threw every bit of his 325-pound body into New England's narrow win over Baltimore and takes the two-spot on this week's ranking.
Did another Patriots player deserve more love? Is Florida State upset specialist Michael Snaer ranked too high? Are we forgetting someone altogether? Check out to the full ranking below and let us know what you think by making your own Cross-Sport Power Rankings HERE.
2012 Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel: Sara Walsh, John Buccigross, Robert Flores, Michael Smith, Bram Weinstein, Mike Hill, Jorge Andres, Charissa Thompson, DJ Gallo, Jim Basquil, Kevin Connors, Will Selva, Jeff MacGregor and Steve Weissman.
2012 CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS
|With a mud-stained uniform and look of utter determination, Eli Manning didn't skip a beat in the pocket. He completed 32 of 58 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns to send his Giants to their fifth Super Bowl. Though he couldn't add to his six game-winning, fourth-quarter drives, he made big plays when Big Blue needed him and now holds the NFL record for most postseason road wins with five.|
|If you're looking for the reason Ravens Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice was quiet on Sunday, look no further than Vince Wilfork. The veteran nose tackle helped New England control the line of scrimmage and shut down Baltimore when it mattered most. He finished the game with six tackles and one sack. Tom Brady, your thoughts? "Well I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us."|
|Florida State already had one season-defining win with the blowout of North Carolina, but Snaer gave the Seminoles a second one with his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end Duke's 64-game home win streak against unranked opponents. Of course, thanks to Snaer -- who finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting -- and his last-second heroics, the Noles didn't remain unranked for long.|
|Those aren't boos, it's fans screaming, "Cruuuuuuuuuuuz!" And with 10 catches for 142 yards in the NFC Championship Game, Giants faithful had plenty of opportunities to exercise their vocal chords. Cruz's 10 snags were just one shy of the Giants' record for postseason catches, set by Plaxico Burress in New York's 2007 NFC Championship win over the Packers.|
|Devin Thomas |
|Devin Thomas' NFL career hadn't amounted to much since he was drafted by the Redskins in the second round in 2008. He's had only 43 receptions, including just three in 23 games with Giants (and none in the playoffs). But Thomas was in the right place at the right time on Sunday, making a pair of huge recoveries on special teams to help the Giants advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in five seasons.|
|The 49ers' season came to an end on Sunday, but not for the efforts of Vernon Davis. The star tight end had only three catches, but two of them went for touchdowns, leading panelist Jorge Andres to say: "In a losing effort, he was NASTY!" Davis joined Jerry Rice as the only 49ers with at least two touchdowns receiving in back-to-back playoff games.|
|It wasn't quite "The Flu Game," but suffering from illness, LeBron James put up 31 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to lead the Heat to a blowout win over the Lakers. He also led a stunning turnaround in a win against San Antonio and helped Miami cruise against the surprising 76ers. Only a disappointing home loss to the Bucks prevented it from being a perfect week for James, who averaged 30 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7 assists in four games -- all without Dwyane Wade.|
|Speaking of stars playing without superstar teammates, Evgeni Malkin is doing just fine in Sidney Crosby's absence. The NHL's leading scorer had another huge week, netting five goals and adding two assists as the Penguins extended their win streak to six games. Malkin capped off the week with an overtime game winner against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, matching his fellow Russian point-for-point in the 4-3 win.|
|With 27 seconds left in the AFC Championship Game, Sterling Moore slapped away what would have been a game-winning touchdown from the grasp of Ravens WR Lee Evans. But he wasn't done there. On the next snap, Moore broke up a pass headed straight for Dennis Pitta, forcing Baltimore to kick the "field goal heard round the world." After saving the Patriots' season, is it any surprise that the definition of "sterling" is "conforming to the highest standard"?|
|14-0 and 13-0 certainly don't look like soccer scores, but with an Olympic bid on the line, the U.S. women's team wasn't about to pump the brakes. Wambach scored four goals this past week, moving into third on the career goals list for women's international soccer with 129. "... We didn't get our job done the last qualifying tournament, and this is a statement that we're making to the rest of the world, we're making to our region, and we can't take any game for granted," Wambach said. Statement made.|
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CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS 2012
Cross-Sport Power Rankings compares the best athletes across all professional sports. Check out the rest of our individual sport power rankings.