The division's newest superstar versus every Green Bay Packer fan's favorite cornerback, who just gets better with age, slides in at No. 5 on the countdown.
Of course, I'm talking about Brandon Marshall versus Charles Woodson, a matchup that is very intriguing and crucial for the Packers as they try to fend off Chicago, who everyone is talking about as the second best team in the division now that they've finally given Jay Cutler a true number one wide receiver.
Woodson and Marshall have played each other twice in the past, but have really only gone up against each other head to head once. That one time came on October 29, 2007 in Denver, a Monday night game in which Brett Favre would throw his famous game-winning 82-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in overtime. Woodson covered Marshall in that game with some help from Nick Collins. Marshall was held to only three receptions, but they were good for 26, 35 and 13 yards. Woodson had one pass defensed in the game.
Flash forward five years and there are people out there saying that Marshall is too much for Charles to handle. They may be right that on paper Woodson has got some things working against him. For one thing, he's seven years older than the Bears' new wide out, who is in his prime. And at 6'1", 200 pounds Woodson is three inches shorter and 29 pounds lighter than Marshall.
But the Packers already have a taste of what Marshall can do to them if they don't put Woodson on him. On October 10, 2010, Marshall hauled in 10 receptions and racked up 127 receiving yards for the Dolphins at Lambeau with Woodson focusing his attention elsewhere. The Packers' biggest defensive playmaker, Clay Matthews, was absent for the contest, so everybody's role was kind of out of whack that day. Expect Woodson to make Marshall his responsibility from here on out.
Also expect Woodson to have Packer Nation's vote of confidence as he moves forward with his fifteenth NFL season. They've seen him put up the best numbers of his career in a Packer uniform and most wouldn't want anybody else going up against opposing teams' number one receivers. And he's already got NFL players' vote of confidence, as he placed 36th on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2012, a list Marshall didn't even make.
Furthermore, even though Woodson's getting up there in age, he should have the speed to keep up with Marshall, who ran a 4.4 coming out of college, but who has struggled to maintain that speed throughout his career.
Marshall has been an 1,000 yard receiver the past five years in a row and every year of his career but his rookie year of 2006. He is a three time Pro Bowler, twice with Denver and once with Miami, and he's now reuniting with his former quarterback of three years, Jay Cutler.
Marshall has been through a lot in his personal life while dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, he seems to have his life on track now and couldn't be more excited about teaming back up with Cutler on a likely contender. Marshall has in fact only been on one winning team his entire career, and that was as a rookie when he only started one game for the Broncos.
I'd expect a big year out of both Marshall and the Bears offense with Matt Forte and Cutler back. But I'd also expect a big year out of Charles Woodson. All that talk of him becoming a safety probably isn't going to come to fruition, but it will put a chip on his shoulder and make him want to prove that he can still cover the game's best one-on-one.