By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate present quite the challenge for defenses, and Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie do the same for offenses.
The Cardinals (8-1) host the Lions (7-2) Sunday, and Johnson said how he and Tate fare against Peterson and Cromartie will be a major factor.
“It’s big,” Johnson said. “We need to go out there and do what we’ve been doing, make big plays for our team.”
In his first season with the Lions, Tate continues to exceed expectations. Through nine games, he has amassed 909 receiving yards, a career high. Cromartie, a three-time Pro Bowler, is in his first season with Arizona.
Johnson and Peterson – both recognized as the best in the league at their respective positions – have matched up several times in the past, but Johnson does not characterize Peterson an individual rival. When the Lions and Cardinals met in 2013, Johnson hauled in six catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said that while Johnson and Peterson might not be matched up the entire game Sunday, they will likely see quite a bit of each other.
“Each week it’s the best matchup for those guys,” Arians said. “The majority of it is just who we feel handles the other guy the best.”
The coach said the duo of Peterson and Cromartie – who have combined for five interceptions this season – makes a significant impact on the Cardinals defense as a whole.
“It does allow us to play guys up in the box and let our safeties be more active in different roles, whether it’s double-teaming certain players, getting down in the box to stop the run,” Arians said, “but we do put a lot of pressure on those two guys.”
Johnson anticipates he will face both Peterson and Cromartie over the course of Sunday’s game. He outlined a few differences in the cornerbacks but acknowledged both play well.
“Peterson, he’s a big corner, but he’s not as tall as Cromartie,” Johnson said. “Cromartie’s a very long guy. Both of them have good ball skills. Peterson might be a little quicker, but overall both of them are very good corners.”