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5 Players Who Must Perform in Super Bowl 2014 to Keep Their Jobs

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Super Bowl 2014: 5 Players Who Must Perform to Keep Their Jobs

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Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest day of America’s sports calendar is approaching. Super Bowl XLVIII provides a matchup that many fans wanted to see. Both No. 1 seeds will square off as quarterback Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos take on Russell Wilson's Seattle Seahawks. Spectators obviously watch this game because it’s football. Flashiness provided by pregame and halftime festivities also adds intrigue, and of course gambling creates high stakes even if you are just sitting at home.

For players this night represents everything they work for. Holding the Lombardi Trophy makes all physical beatings worthwhile. Depending on where players are in their careers, each appearance means something different to everyone. Manning will be 38 next year, and he admits that his time is running low. Denver’s trio of wide receivers make issues for opposing defenses, and as long as their signal-caller wants to play and is able no one else will take over.

Seattle’s quarterback, however, is just getting started. His combination of mobility and throwing prowess create the total package. Running back Marshawn Lynch hits open space quickly but also has speed to break away from tackles. Golden Tate has emerged as a fast wideout who can stretch defense, and Doug Baldwin can also help the passing game.

The Broncos field a somewhat questionable defense mostly because of injury while Seattle’s secondary represents football’s best unit. Pass rush also creates nightmares for quarterbacks. Bringing up these points emphasizes what each team does well, but both clubs’ rosters consist of players that could be in doubt going forward. Different factors could lead to changes, but here are five players potentially fighting to stick around.

Nick Mamary is a New York Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickMamary1, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Percy Harvin

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This may seem crazy because of what Seattle surrendered to get Percy Harvin. The dynamic receiver adds so much firepower when healthy, but that remains an issue for him. Assuming he plays in the Super Bowl, that would only be his third game this season. If his durability does not improve he could be gone after just one year with the Seahawks.

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4. Knowshon Moreno

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Knowshon Moreno enjoyed a breakout year rushing for 1,038 yards. His health could also bring up a concern going forward. Young Monte Ball also waits in the wings, and he could be ready to start as early as next year. Impending free agency also makes Moreno expendable.

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3. Eric Decker

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Eric Decker is a tremendous player. His job security is not a problem, but free agency awaits and receiver depth could mean he ends up elsewhere. Playing well in the Super Bowl would put him in line for a big payday which could create pressure if he wants to remain in Denver.

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2. Julius Thomas

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Thomas played very well this season. Tight ends with Manning are always interchangeable though. He can make anyone look good. Not trying to take anything away from the gifted Thomas, but they could plug someone else in if there is a decline.

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1. Byron Maxwell

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Maxwell has played well down the stretch in place of Brandon Browner. If Manning exploits weakness in his game, however, a negative impression could be made. Browner will return from suspension next year, but Maxwell could make it hard for head coach Pete Carroll to simply hand him back the starting corner spot opposite Richard Sherman.