Six key matchups for Week 10

Pierre Garcon has an opportunity for a big Thursday night

Updated: November 6, 2013, 11:57 AM ET
By Field Yates | ESPN Insider

Pierre GarconPatrick McDermott/Getty ImagesPierre Garcon had seven catches for 172 yards against the Chargers in Week 9.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman successfully transitioned from offense to defense during his college career at Stanford, a move that has paid off in his ascension to becoming one of the NFL's elite cornerbacks.

In fact, there may be no better cornerback who has entered the league since the 2011 draft, during which Sherman was a fifth-round pick by Seattle.

Julio Jones didn't have to wait nearly as long to hear his name called, as just five players were selected ahead of the Alabama wide receiver in 2011. The Falcons boldly traded up for him in a move to add dynamic ability to their offense.

The move paid off, as Jones is perhaps the best receiver to enter the league since the 2011 draft.

Sunday was supposed to feature the two matching up, and many would have guessed before the season that a Week 10 showdown between Atlanta and Seattle would carry significant playoff ramifications. That has not turned out to be the case, as Jones is on injured reserve and the Falcons have tumbled to 2-6, effectively out of the playoff hunt. (And no, Sherman versus Harry Douglas does not carry the same excitement.)

But several other matchups are worth closely monitoring come Sunday, with a look below at three players who have a favorable edge and three more in which players will have their hands full.


Favorable matchups

Garcon

Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins

Forecasting Garcon to have a breakout Week 9 using this space last week would have been an impressively prescient call, as he had a career day with seven catches and 172 yards in an overtime win against San Diego. Those 172 yards may not be replicated Thursday night against the Vikings, but that secondary is ripe for the picking, as it continues to play without stud safety Harrison Smith and with beaten-up depth at cornerback.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.