By Tim Graham
PHOENIX -- One of Sunday's most interesting matchups in University of Phoenix Stadium will be Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson against Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Peterson is one of the NFL's best young cornerbacks. Last year's fifth overall draft choice started all 16 games as a rookie. He recorded two interceptions, 13 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, two recoveries and a sack. He was selected first-team All-Pro as a punt returner, bringing four back for touchdowns.
Johnson has been impressed by Peterson, who already has recovered four fumbles this season. Six led the NFL last year, and that was quarterback Tony Romo mostly falling on his own.
"Just checking the film on him -- I haven't looked at him a lot besides this week -- he's a great athlete," Johnson said Thursday at the team's Phoenix hotel. "He shows it on film.
"He can be beat. Well, anybody can be beat, but I think it's going to be a good challenge for myself and for him to go against me because I know he's played against a lot of receivers, but with a style like mine, let's see how he can hold up to it."
Peterson is aware of Johnson's unorthodox route-running style, a trait that has given even all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis trouble.
"He's different," Peterson said. "He has a different approach at the line of scrimmage. He's very shifty. He's quick. He can get on top of receivers, and the quarterback does a pretty good job of putting it within his grasp, giving him the opportunity to make a play.
"He gives you a couple of different looks, and he's going to try to force the corner to open up his hips. I have to do a great job of staying patient, staying square, so I can dictate pretty much where I want him to go."
Dictate where Johnson will go? Johnson likely would chuckle at that sentiment based on his confidence level.
And that will make their matchup that much more fun to monitor.
"As a player in this league, you've got to have some type of confidence," Johnson said. "I think if you go into a week thinking, 'Ah, I don't think I can beat this guy,' you can't be a professional. You can't be one of those elite players if you don't feel you can beat anybody.
"No disrespect to the opposing guys, but I do feel I can beat anyone."