Exploring the NFL's Six Biggest Matchup Nightmares

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Exploring the NFL's Six Biggest Matchup Nightmares
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

At its heart, the NFL is still a simple game of blocking and tackling, but scratch the surface and you reveal a complex world of Xs and Os that keeps coaches up at night trying to gain that elusive winning edge. That edge can be manufactured by coaches and their game plan, with better schemes, play-calling and execution than the opposition, but nothing can break a game open faster than a player the opposition can't match up against.

As the NFL becomes ever more specialized, with players suited to narrowly defined roles on defense—pass-rush specialists, two-down run stuffers, nickel corners etc.—a player on offense that can transcend these specialties causes a massive problem.

These players have become the Holy Grail of personnel and scouting departments. Find one, and your offense takes on another dimension, with things opening up that wouldn’t be there otherwise. If you can force defenses to adjust to try and contain a player they can’t deal with in their regular play, you gain that elusive cutting edge.

I'm going to look at six such matchup nightmares.

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