Saturday, December 15, 2012

Patrick Peterson vs Calvin Johnson

Patrick Peterson, of the Arizona Cardinals, says he's he best cornerback in the NFL. Is he? Maybe, maybe not, but he's certainly amongst the top 3 or 4.

Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver of the Detroit Lions, doesn't mouth off much and/or claim to be the best at his position, but it's generally accepted CJ is also amongst the top 3 or 4 in the league.

No matter who may be rooting for who, it could fairly be said both these guys are REALLY good at what they do. And now they will get to go up against each other when the Lions play at Arizona on Sunday. Maybe.

PP has stated he's been looking forward to going up against CJ one-on-one since he saw the schedule come out. Of course the hypesters (media) have tried to fan the flames by insinuating Peterson called Johnson out. Actually, he did no such thing. Peterson merely stated he has looked forward to going up against one of the best. Well, good grief, what is the man supposed to say? He's been dreading this day and quivering with fear over the prospect of facing a vastly superior athlete? Gimme a break.

Peterson's doing exactly the right thing. If he's one of the best, then he should want to test himself against one of the best. It appears Peterson would like to be "out on an island" all alone against Johnson -- and let's see what happens. That goes back to the "maybe" mentioned above. The defensive coordinator of the Cardinals will make those calls. Every NFL defense features different "looks" and/or coverages at times trying to keep the opposing offense, especially the QB, off-balance. It's a never-ending guessing game, both ways, and whoever adapts the quickest, and executes the best, will normally come out on top.

Yet chances are pretty good PP will get his wish on at least several plays to go mano e mano with CJ. Can he handle him?

The advantages are always with the receiver. They know where their route will take them, as does their QB, and as the defensive back reacts, the ball is already in the air. Few would doubt the receivers are given much more latitude as to "incidental contact" than the DBs, without drawing a penalty flag. To boot, the Megatron always has a serious height, weight, and reach advantage over the opposing DB.

Premier cornerbacks, such as Peterson, have to rely on cat-quick reflexes and proper technique.

And being really fast doesn't hurt. Peterson ran a 4.34 forty yard dash in the NFL combine a year and a half ago, despite being the biggest cornerback there at about 6', 220 pounds, before the Cardinals made him the fifth overall selection in the 2011 draft. A cornerback being picked that high speaks for itself. If the Lions' brain trust, and I use those words lossly, oops loosely, thinks Calvin Johnson will just blow by Peterson on deep routes -- they would be mistaken. PP is every bit as fast as CJ, if not faster.

Sure. the Cardinals came out of the gate 4-0 this year, and have lost all 9 games since. Then again, while so many (suckah!) Lions' fans thought they would improve on last year's 10-6 record, they currently find themselves 4-9 as well, having not won a game since before the Presidential election.

The Detroit/Arizona game means little in the whole scheme of the NFL this year, but here's hoping two of the best, Patrick Peterson and Calvin Johnson, indeed get a chance to duel it out.

Maybe Calvin lights Patrick up for a couple hundred yards and 2-3 touchdowns. He's done it to others. Or maybe PP shuts down the Megatron singlehandedly. On 10/22/12, at Soldier Field in Chicago, a Bears' cornerback named Charles Tillman limited Calvin Johnson to 3 catches for a grand total of 34 yards, while largely playing him "head-up". It can also be done.

My prediction? The Lions should win the game, and of course Johnson's going to catch some balls. QB Matthew Stafford will keep throwing and throwing and throwing at him no matter what. That's been the Lions' modus operandi all year. But don't be surprised if Peterson, knowing that, comes up with a couple plays to make the highlight reels himself. A "pick 6" or punt return for a TD certainly aren't out of the realm of possibility. It's the Lions, remember? Anything's possible, except maybe the Lombardi trophy.

Regardless, PP vs CJ would be interesting to watch. Alas, yours truly won't be able to. Being the fan of all games I am, that pesky NFL schedule comes into play. At the same time the Lions and Cardinals are going at it, there's a few other games going on. Let's see. Seattle/Buffalo in Toronto. What the hell are they doing in Toronto? Forget that. Kansas City @ Oakland. Two bottom feeders. Blecch. But wait a minute, the Steelers are playing The Boys down in Big D. That's pretty much a win or kiss the playoffs good-bye game. Unlike Detroit/Arizona --  it matters.

Sorry Patrick and Calvin. Here's wishing you both well, but both your teams started swirling in the porcelain receptacle a few weeks back, so I'll have to catch your personal exploits on the 4-letter network's highlights later on.

A fan has to have his priorities.

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