The Miami Dolphins host the powerhouse Arizona Cardinals in December, as we found out Thursday, and it probably won't be the most competitive of contests.
But there's at least a fascinating subplot worth tuning in for: The budding superstar wide receiver versus the bonafide defensive stalwart. wholesale nfl jerseys
Jarvis Landry vs. Tyrann Mathieu. Former LSU teammates pitted against another in the first of many NFL matchups.
It should be a highly entertaining battle, and the winner could swing the course of the game.
Don't take my word for it, though. Just ask the fine folks at Pro Football Focus, who named Landry-Mathieu in its list of top 2016 individual matchups –– the best of Week 14.
The reasoning, courtesy of analyst Nathan Jahnke:
The best defensive back in football last year was Tyrann Mathieu (91.6). Against a team like the Dolphins who frequently uses a three-wide-receiver set, Mathieu should play in the slot most of the game. One of his toughest matchups will be Jarvis Landry (86.7), who spends 70 percent of his snaps in the slot. Landry had 784 receiving yards from the slot last season, third-most among receivers. Mathieu had five interceptions from the slot, while no other cornerback had more than two.
Mathieu, appropriately nicknamed "Honey Badger," had his terrific 2015 campaign cut short by a torn ACL. Landry went on to shatter the Dolphins' single-season receiving record, notching 111 receptions and earning a Pro Bowl trip in a breakout sophomore year. He averaged 10.5 yards-per-catch from the slot.
Barring another injury, Mathieu should be all systems go for his meeting with Landry, but he might not see much of him. In new coach Adam Gase's offense, Landry is expected to be moved all around the formation, hoping to maximize production and exploit coverage schemes. New Orleans Saints Jerseys
He told the MMQB that he's looking forward to playing more outside. cheap nfl jerseys from china
"I’m excited for the opportunity to get moved around, to be with an offensive-minded coach that understands the concept of moving me and allows me to do what I do best — which is play freely," Landry said. "I don’t want to have limits."
That's one way to avoid Mathieu, though I imagine the Cardinals will find someway to get their elite defensive back on Miami's No. 1 weapon. Perhaps in bracket coverage with another defender. Wholesale New Orleans Saints Jerseys
Minimizing Landry's impact would force Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to lean on his other targets –– DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron, and whomever their starting running back is. wholesale jerseys