For the fourth time in his career, DeSean Jackson will go head-to-head against Larry Fitzgerald in a matchup of two of the NFL's most dynamic wide receivers. Though they are polar opposites in terms of body type, natural ability and style of play, both strike fear into opposing defenses and can shift the momentum of a game in one snap.
It turns out Jackson has been a fan of Fitzgerald dating back to his high school days at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly.
"Growing up, I looked up to Fitzgerald," Jackson said. "When I was in high school, I watched him at Pittsburgh. He's done some great things. We have a good relationship. I admire him as a wide receiver. He's very good, very physical, and when the ball's in the air he's going to come down with it. I definitely put him with the elite, top wide receivers in this league and he's done it for a long time now."
Larry Fitzgerald was selected by the Arizona Cardinals out of Pittsburgh with the third overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. He just became the youngest player – at 30 years and 85 days of age – to reach 11,000 yards receiving and is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Fame selection.
Fitzgerald has also feasted on the Eagles over the course of his career. In five total games, including playoffs, he has 35 catches for 570 yards and a whopping nine touchdowns, most against any non-NFC West team. And, as much as we might like to, who can forget his nine catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the 2008 NFC Championship Game, or his seven catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns – including the over-the-shoulder game-winner – in Week 7 of the 2011 season? It always seems like he saves his best performances for Philadelphia.
Jackson has fared pretty well against the Cardinals himself. In three career games, including playoffs, he has 15 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson's best showing came in the 2008 NFC Championship Game when, as a rookie, he caught six passes for 92 yards, including a long, tip-drill touchdown from Donovan McNabb that completed the Eagles' comeback and gave them a brief 25-24 lead.
We'll see which player most helps his team emerge victorious on Sunday.