Texans at Cardinals: Andre Johnson vs. Larry Fitzgerald


Nov 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (80) warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

We are all in for a treat this Sunday, no matter if you are a fan of the Houston Texans or the Arizona Cardinals, because we’ll be able to watch two of the best wide receivers of this generation on the field in a rare matchup between the Texans and Cardinals.

The wide receivers I’m speaking so highly of are the Texans’ Andre Johnson and the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald.

The two receivers have a combined 22,950 yards receiving, 1,675 receptions and 141 touchdowns between the two veteran receivers, who have played a combined 21 seasons in the NFL.

These two teams haven’t faced each other since the 2009 season, and just twice in their franchises history. These two both played in those games as well with Johnson having games of seven receptions for 51 yards in ’05 and eight receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns in ’09.

Fitzgerald in those same games had six receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown in ’05 and five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns in ’09.

This type of receiver matchup in a pass-happy NFL is something to be really excited about when the two teams in this game have a combined six wins, with neither holding a winning record.

For Johnson, his career numbers are 875 receptions, 12,067 receiving yards and 59 touchdowns in 11 seasons. Fitzgerald has 800 receptions, 10,883 receiving yards and 82 touchdowns in 10 seasons.

Again, this is exciting!

Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs with the ball during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I know they won’t face each other on the field, but you just know these two will be competing against each other on Sunday afternoon, in a game that begins at 4:25 EDT on CBS with Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots calling the action.

Who will have the better game?

Record-wise, the Cardinals have the better team with their 4-4 record, but I’m not sold on them being better, as the Texans have had a lot of tough breaks this season and could easily have double the number of wins … or possibly no wins at all.

I will say I like the combo of Case Keenum-to-Johnson as they showed their potential of having huge numbers together last Sunday when they connected nine times for 229 yards and three touchdowns vs. the Indianapolis Colts.

In Keenum’s first start against the Kansas City Chiefs, the two connected four times for 89 yards, an average of 22.3 yards per catch. In Keenum’s two games with Johnson, the All-Pro wide receiver is averaging 24.5 yards per catch. For the season, Johnson is averaging 14.3 ypc.

That’s a huge difference, and Johnson didn’t have a touchdown until Keenum became the official starting quarterback.

For Fitzgerald, his best game this season came against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 13 where he had six receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown. In the season opener against the St. Louis Rams, Fitzgerald had eight receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Again, how often does the NFL get to have a game with two future Hall of Fame-caliber receivers in the same game? I wish the two teams had better records so the game could be promoted better by the league, but their records are what they are.

What I’m hopefully going to take away from this game is the opportunity to get to watch two of the greatest receivers of the past 20 years and hope they live up to the body of work they’ve already produced for the last decade.

This “matchup” should be exciting to watch.