Pro Bowl 2013: Most Intriguing Matchups in Honolulu

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball in front of nose tackle B.J. Raji #90 of the Green Bay Packers in the second half during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A lot of whining is done about the legitimacy of the Pro Bowl, but it is still an All-Star game chock-full of matchups unseen during the season.

Defensive backs do not want to get beat deep by an opposing receiver and risk being on SportsCenter.

Ditto for quarterbacks getting sacked in the Pro Bowl. Nobody wants to spend their time in Hawaii getting hit by DeMarcus Ware.

Here are the most enticing matchups the Pro Bowl has to offer. 


Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck, AFC Quarterbacks

We were not treated to the Manning-Luck Bowl during the season, but we’ll get a consolation prize of sorts as Luck will back up his Colts predecessor in Honolulu.

Manning’s competitive streak should be alive and well with his replacement in Indianapolis warming up behind him all weekend.

Not to mention, the last-second defeat in overtime that still looms large in Manning's mind against a Baltimore team that is Super Bowl-bound.

With all of that motivation, a Pro Bowl MVP trophy wouldn't be preposterous for the Broncos quarterback.

Luck has a gritty personality though, much like Manning. He won’t back down to the challenge. It is a battle to watch on the AFC side, that’s for sure.


Larry Fitzgerald vs. AFC Secondary

Fitzgerald must really love the Pro Bowl. He hasn't caught passes from a legitimate NFL starter since the Cold War.

Whether he’s playing with Drew Brees, Eli Manning or Russell Wilson, Fitzgerald is bound for a big game with catchable balls coming his way.

Also, he'll finally have a receiver to drag coverage away and a running game that can move the chains. Who said the Pro Bowl wasn’t supposed to be a vacation week?

In fact, Fitz might try to kidnap one of those QBs and take him back to Arizona. You heard it here first.


Adrian Peterson vs. AFC Front Seven

Much of the matchups in the trenches will likely be with lack of effort, so I will be watching the most dynamic player in today’s game.

Peterson is the guy no one wants to tackle while they’re on Pro Bowl vacation. He has a blend of speed and power that was unmatched this season, all with a recovered ACL to boot.

Against the AFC’s best, Peterson will attempt to assert his dominance once again. After all, he doesn’t have a second gear to hold back.

After running for over 2,000 yards and carrying his team to the playoffs, what will Adrian Peterson do for an encore?

That’s why I’ll be watching. 


Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for NFL musings and random world observations.