FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and cornerback Patrick Peterson are no stranger to one another.
The two faced each other in college as Jones went to Alabama and Peterson attended LSU, they were drafted in the same year (2011) and have played each other twice since entering the league.
And you could say the scoreboard is even with those two.
In their first meeting, Jones won big with 10 catches for 189 yards. Following that game, Peterson made a vow to never let that happen again.
Two years later when they faced each other again, Peterson held Jones to just four catches for 35 yards.
Jones and Peterson are widely considered to be two of the best at their respective positions, which makes this matchup such an intriguing one. Neither Jones or Peterson appears to be slowing down anytime soon.
As Peterson began his preparation for Sunday's game, he put the following in his notes:
"Here we go, best versus the best," Peterson said. "These are the type of matchups I live and thrive for. I'm sure he's the same way. This is why you play the game of football."
Jones leads all receivers with 1,429 yards and has five touchdowns.
Longtime Cardinals receiver and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald gave Jones the ultimate compliment when reporters asked about Jones.
"There's nobody like him in the game," Fitzgerald said. "To be that fast, that explosive, that abrupt in terms of change of direction, and his route running is unbelievable."
Peterson was asked if he would be shadowing Jones throughout the game or if he would be getting help and the former first-round pick declined to answer. Peterson has always followed Jones, one of the many reasons for the mutual respect between one another.
As for what makes Jones such a tough matchup? Peterson didn't stop at just one thing.
"What he's able to do after the catch," Peterson said. "We definitely have to eliminate that. He's just a very big, strong physical receiver. You really have to bring your lunch pail when you are playing against No. 11 for Atlanta. He's explosive, very shifty and he causes a lot of problems for defensive backs."
With both team's playoff dreams virtually out the door, this one will be about legacy. The Cardinals and Falcons play Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A 1 p.m. ET kickoff is scheduled.