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Saturday, December 15, 2012
Peterson latest West CB sizing up Megatron

By Mike Sando

Even the most enthusiastic Arizona Cardinals fan might have a hard time getting too excited about the team's Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions.

Johnson
Peterson
Arizona is 4-9 and has lost nine in a row. Detroit is 4-9 and has lost its past five.

The matchup does offer one compelling subplot: Patrick Peterson versus Calvin Johnson. Peterson, the Cardinals' second-year cornerback, hyped the matchup during the week. He called himself the NFL's top corner and Johnson the second-best receiver behind Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald.

There is no way to verify where a corner ranks, and Peterson wouldn't qualify as an independent source for information on the subject, obviously. But with six interceptions this season, he's one of the reasons Arizona ranks second in NFL passer rating allowed (71.9) and fourth in Total QBR allowed (41.5).

Johnson leads the NFL in receiving yards with 1,546. That is 204 yards more than runner-up Brandon Marshall.

The chart shows Johnson's production against each opponent this season, sorted by descending order of yards. There are columns for receptions, targets, yards, yards after the catch, yards after contact, touchdowns, first downs, average target depth and number of receptions for 30-plus yards.

Peterson is the second NFC West cornerback to play up his matchup against Johnson.

Seattle's Richard Sherman changed his displayed Twitter named to "Optimus Prime" in a challenge to the "Megatron" nickname associated with Johnson.

Johnson had only three catches for 46 yards against Seattle, but the Seahawks played zone coverage extensively. Sherman wasn't matched against Johnson play after play. The Lions' Matthew Stafford completed 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to cap an 80-yard touchdown drive.