Revis. Moss. It's not quite Ali-Frazier, but it's close.
In the right corner, Darrelle "Revis Island" Revis, the NFL's top shutdown corner!
The breakdown—5'11", 198 pounds. Super quick with excellent ball recognition skills. Can run stride for stride with any receiver. Still only 25 years old. 6 interceptions in 2009.
In the left corner, Randy "Sticky Fingers" Moss, the premier deep threat in football history!
The skinny—6'4", 210 pounds. In his 13th season but still one of the fastest in the game. Elite jumping and catching ability. Capable of going deep on every possession. 13 touchdowns in 2009 with 15.2 yards/catch.
In a battle for the ages the two superstars face off once again in a defining match up between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets this Sunday.
Will Revis earn his nickname by shutting down Moss in man-to-man coverage?
Or will Moss avenge being called a "Slouch" and reestablish himself as a dominant receiver who can't be single covered, by anybody?
Revis! Moss! WHO WILL IT BE?
In round 1 last season, the Jets toppled the Patriots 16-9 in a Week 2 match up as Moss struggled to get free of Revis the entire game.
Moss finished with only four catches for 24 yards. Revis had five tackles and a key interception off a ball intended for Moss.
Tom Brady meanwhile had one of his worst games ever as a Patriot, completing only 23 of 47 passes for 216 yards and an interception. To his credit though, New England was without Wes Welker in this game.
With no second threat on the field, the Patriots offense became one-dimensional. Moss had to have a big game for the Pats to come out with a victory, but Revis never left his side.
The Jets defense was dominant. The Patriots offense was stagnant.
Round 1 goes to Revis.
The Patriots and Jets faced off again in Week 11, and this time the results were much different. New England trampled all over their division rival to the tune of a 31-14 victory.
Moss had a solid but unspectacular game, grabbing five passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. Revis contributed three tackles and three knockdowns, but he could do little to stop the rest of the Jets defense from being carved up.
Doing most of the carving, of course, was Wes Welker. The crafty slot receiver finished with 15 catches for 192 yards, both career highs.
Revis did a sensational job covering Moss, but Moss gets the edge here for scoring a touchdown off a quick four-yard strike at the end of the first quarter. Even Revis gets beat sometimes.
During a TV interview last January, Revis called Moss (and T.O. for that matter) a "slouch". He wouldn't be the first player to label Moss as a lazy player, but it's never a good idea to call out the guy you're actually responsible for defending, especially when it's Randy Moss.
Revis had no desire to back down from the comments though.
"When I played him the first game last year, I called him a slouch for a reason, because that game, he played like a slouch. That's the simple point," Revis said yesterday.
Revis credits Moss for playing well in their second meeting, but the initial insult still stings.
Moss, meanwhile, is eager to show Revis up. In an interview with ESPN on Tuesday Moss spoke about the impending showdown.
"We're coming to the Meadowlands on Sunday, man, so you got 60 minutes of this 'Slouch.'"
Moss has reportedly spent his offseason getting ready for Revis and, when motivated, he usually has his way.
But on Sunday no amount of trash talking will make a difference to what happens on the field.
The big question going into this game is if Revis will be in game shape.
The star corner held out for all of training camp and the preseason over a contract dispute. He ended his holdout just in time for the start of the regular season, but it takes more than one week to get NFL-ready again.
In his first game back Jets coach Rex Ryan gave Revis a relatively easy assignment, asking him to cover wideout Derrick Mason. Revis finished with zero tackles as the Baltimore Ravens attacked the rest of the Jets secondary, Anquan Boldin in particular, and came out with a 10-9 victory.
Moss, meanwhile, has been practicing with the first team offense for several months now and appears to have reestablished a chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady, the same chemistry that made the duo so lethal in 2007.
Moss had five catches for 59 yards in an easy win over the Cincinnati Bengals as seven different Patriots receivers were targeted by Brady throughout the game.
The Bengals couldn't stop anybody on the Patriots offense, but will Revis be able to at least contain Moss?
It's as close to a must-win game for the Jets as they can have this early in the season, so all eyes will be on Revis to return to his ball-hawking ways. He has to earn his multi-million dollar contract, and the only way to do that will be to shut down Moss.
But can he do it?
Revis may be able to stop Moss, but he can't cover Welker too.
Moss has at least four inches and 10 pounds on Revis, but the corner has shown the ability to stay with the bigger receiver by anticipating his movements.
Past history would suggest that Round 3 will be no different. Revis may be a little rusty, but at 25 years old it shouldn't take him very long to get back in shape. Moss' best days, however, are definitely behind him.
Moss will again be a non-factor in the Patriots offense, but it won't matter.
Wes Welker, who made a miraculous recovery from an ACL injury by catching eight passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns last week, is still unstoppable. Brady will abuse Jets rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson all day, using Moss as a decoy to stretch the field and leave the middle wide open.
With so many weapons to choose from (Welker, Brandon Tate, Kevin Faulk, Rob Gronkowski), Brady doesn't need Moss to successfully execute the Patriots offense.
Revis will keep his crown as the NFL's best corner, but the Jets will still lose.
The fight goes to Revis, but the war goes to Moss.
It's a team game, after all.