Denver's Demaryius Thomas is one of the NFL's most physical wide receivers. The same holds for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. Both players are also among the best in the league at their respective positions. And when the Broncos meet the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, Thomas hopes that Sherman lines up across from him.
“He's a great player," Thomas said. "I'd love to have that matchup and show what kind of player I am. I don't know if we'll match up, but like I said, he's a great player."
Thomas and Sherman faced each other once before, in a 2013 preseason game, when we're constantly reminded that teams are playing vanilla schemes and starters spend more time milling around the sidelines than getting game reps.
But should the Seahawks decide to have Sherman shadow Thomas next Sunday, here's what we know: According to ProFootballFocus.com, Sherman was in coverage on 549 snaps this season and the ball was thrown his way only 58 times. More amazing: He allowed just 30 receptions. There's more: Sherman had eight interceptions and held quarterbacks to a passer rating of 47.3, both best in the league.
Then there's this:
Since @RSherman_25 entered the League: • 1st in picks (20) • 1st in passes defensed (61) • Opp QB Rtg when targeted 39.4 (1st) SHUTDOWN.— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 20, 2014
Thomas, meanwhile, is the NFL's top-rated wideout, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. But more than that, only two players have more receiving yards since 2012. And on 48 occasions during that time, Thomas hauled in a pass that went for at least 20 yards (via Bleacher Report).
Whatever happens, the lack of history between the two players virtually guarantees that neither will have a sandwich named after them in the coming weeks. So there's that.