The Arizona Cardinals will welcome the Detroit Lions to University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday for just their second home game in seven weeks, with the home team looking to snap a nine-game losing skid that dates back to a loss to the St. Louis Rams on October 4.
To get a win the Cards will need the help of second year cornerback Patrick Peterson, who will have the challenge of covering one of the best wide receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson.
“I believe it’s definitely going to be a huge measuring stick for me because statistically he’s the number one receiver right now in the NFL,” said Peterson Friday. “He’s 300 yards away from the record; he’s got twelve-hundred plus yards receptions. I mean the guy is phenomenal.”
The Cardinals’ pass defense currently ranks fifth in the league, while the Lions passing attack ranks number one. Another positive for Arizona is the fact that Peterson’s six interceptions on the season rank third in the league right now.
“I’m trying to get to that point to where I can be recognized in the league as one of the best corners in the game,” Peterson said.
For the Lions, Johnson has 96 catches for a league-high 1,546 yards with five touchdowns through 13 games. He’s averaging nearly 120 yards per game.
“He’s pretty good in all three phases, in terms of size, physicality and speed,” said Peterson of Johnson. “He has a good combination of all three. I can’t play complacent, I have to play aggressive each and every down, I have to bring the fight to him.”
Last week Peterson picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, giving him an interception for the third straight game. It was the cornerback’s fifth interception in the last nine games.
“That’s what this team drafted me as, as a shutdown cornerback and to go to the Pro Bowl as a corner, that’s a huge accomplishment,” said Peterson. “Hopefully I can get that this year, I have three more games to continue to prove myself. Hopefully I can get this interception number up even higher so it won’t be a second guess or anything else holding me back from getting into the Pro Bowl.”
It could be a tough challenge for Peterson Sunday, with Detroit’s offense averaging more than 400 yards per game and a league-best 307.8 passing yards per game.
“I think honestly this game is going to fall right into my hands because Calvin, he likes the physicality of a cornerback coming up to the line of scrimmage and pressing him so that’s what I’m going to do all game. Like I said,” Peterson reiterated. “I’m going to bring the fight to him.”