Pro Bowl 2014: Most Entertaining Matchups in Team Sanders vs. Team Rice

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald embraces teammate Patrick Peterson during the first half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams , Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Pro Bowl draft has come and gone, and it's left fans with some entertaining matchups that are creating plenty of excitement.

Having the draft has opened the door for teammates to face one another, while stars in the same conference are also liable to go toe-to-toe. It's a fun wrinkle to this year's game and helps to create a little extra intrigue.

Looking ahead to Sunday's game, these three personnel matchups look to be the most enthralling. Either they feature players from the same team, or they're something that we otherwise wouldn't have gotten with the old Pro Bowl rules.


A.J. Green vs. Joe Haden

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14:  Defensive back Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns knocks down a pass to wide receiver A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Get
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

One of the few cornerbacks to keep A.J. Green in check this season was Joe Haden. He had Green's number in a big way.

In the Cleveland Browns' 17-6 win, Green had seven receptions for 51 yards, and in the rematch, those numbers dropped significantly to two receptions for seven yards, which was far and away his worst performance of the season. The Browns corner, on the other hand, had two interceptions, one of which he took to the house.

Here's what the Bengals wide receiver said after Cincinnati's 41-20 win in November, per's Coley Harvey:

It's a tough road every time I go against him. He's probably one of the best corners anywhere, but that also goes to their defense. The Browns have a real good defense and they scheme well. But he's also a great corner.

It will be hard for Haden to replicate that kind of dominance in the Pro Bowl setting, but this is a chance for him to once again have the last laugh against Green.

These two will continue going at one another for years to come.


Larry Fitzgerald vs. Patrick Peterson

It's teammate against teammate as Larry Fitzgerald was assigned to Team Rice, and Patrick Peterson was selected by Team Sanders.'s Darren Urban had to go and ruin all of the drama by pointing out that this happens all the time in practice:

But this is the Pro Bowl and bragging rights are on the line. This is a chance for either Peterson or Fitzgerald to demonstrate why he is the alpha male on the Arizona Cardinals.

It's likely that Fitzgerald will be listed as the WR4 on Team Rice's depth chart. Even so, he should see plenty of action and will likely do everything he can to be lined up against Peterson. It will be fun to watch the two going at it.


Alex Smith vs. Eric Berry

Tim Umphrey/Associated Press

By the time the Pro Bowl is over, Alex Smith will be thankful he's a Kansas City Chief. He'll be facing off against teammates Eric Berry, Dontari Poe and Tamba Hali.

Of the three, Berry presents the trickiest matchup. He's such a great ball hawk in the secondary and can play anywhere in the defense. Smith will have a hard time tracking his whereabouts when he's under center.

There could also be the undercurrent of revolt here. After that disaster that was the Chiefs' Wild Card Round loss, maybe Smith puts some of the blame on Berry, or vice versa. All of that rage will come out in Hawaii.

Or the two have put that in the past and are looking to have a good time at the Pro Bowl.

While it's probably the latter, let's hope it's a little more of the former.