Calvin Johnson looking to redeem himself against Revis this weekend

11/21/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

If there is one NFL wide receiver that a defense does not want to face, that receiver is Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, if there is one NFL cornerback that an offense does not want to face, that cornerback is Darrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week, we won't just see these two elite players on the same field, but we will see them clash face-to-face on each and every Lions passing play, of which there are an average of 43.1 per game.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that Revis is expected to shadow Johnson in this weekend's showdown at Ford Field in Detroit. The battle will be a great one, as each player is generally considered the best at his respective position.

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) on the field before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsJohnson will have a little extra on the line in this one, as the last time these two went head to head, Johnson ended up stranded on Revis Island. Playing for the New York Jets at the time, Revis held Johnson to just one catch for 13 yards when they last faced off in 2010. Johnson was targeted just four times on the day, and his inability to make an impact stymied the Lions' 12th ranked pass offense, which had just 228 yards that day.

There are some differences since that season, however, the biggest being that quarterback Matthew Stafford had yet come into his own back then. Stafford was playing one of the three games he was healthy for in 2010, as a recurring shoulder injury held him out through most of the season. In addition, he was in his second year as a pro and was playing just his 13th career game. Stafford has now made a name for himself as a top-tier NFL quarterback, and should have an easier time getting Johnson the ball.

In addition, Johnson has gone from Pro Bowler in 2010 to all-time legend in 2013. Johnson was definitely a good player in 2010, making the Pro Bowl with 77 catches for 1,120 yards, but he has since exploded, constantly putting up record-breaking, historic numbers. He is definitely not as easy to handle now as he was the last time he went up against Revis.

Johnson will roll into this matchup on a jaw-dropping hot streak, with 35 catches for 746 yards and seven touchdowns over his past four games - that would be a career year for a lot of receivers. Revis, however, could be the immovable object that disrupts this unstoppable force.

Deemed not healthy enough to handle man coverage early in the year due to a 2012 ACL tear, Revis was initially limited to zone coverage in 2013. Despite having played strictly man coverage during his six years in New York, Revis remained dominant in the unfamiliar scheme.

In Week 8, however, the Buccaneers decided to let Revis try his hand at locking down Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers. Revis bottled up the Panthers' top receiving weapon, holding him to 42 yards on four grabs. The following week, Revis locked up Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, who had three catches for 29 yards. Revis then crossed Mike Wallace (4/15/0) and Roddy White (3/36/1) off his list in games against the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons the following two weeks.

Nov 11, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) intercepts the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsCombining stats from both zone and man coverage this season, Revis has allowed just a 45.8 passer rating on throws into his coverage - that's third best among corners playing at least 50% of defensive snaps. My personal favorite statistic, however, is that on throws that actually do get completed on Revis, he allows just 6.7 yards per catch (best in the league) and has not allowed a completion of more than 13 yards.

Now getting his man coverage dominance back, Revis is ready to take on the league's best receiver, but he does not seem as excited about the personal battle as one would think. "I'm not worried about even that stat or trying to better that stat," Revis said of Johnson's 1/13/0 line from 2010. "That was years ago, and we'll see. I got a lot of respect for Calvin and what he's been doing in the league, and I'm sure he has a lot of respect for me as well. I don't know what the outcome will be Sunday. I'm going to prepare the best way I can and be prepared for the game."

Though he downplayed the matchup, Revis clearly takes his one-on-one matchups very seriously and takes a lot of pride in being able to shut down the best receivers in the NFL. Revis may not be a hundred percent recovered from knee surgery just yet, but he is certainly healthy enough to make this the most intriguing individual battle of Week 12.
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