Cornerback Patrick Peterson, now with the Cardinals, and wide receiver A.J. Green, now with the Bengals, will face off for the first time since college Saturday.
Patrick Peterson and A.J. Green faced each other a couple of times in college, when Peterson was playing cornerback for LSU and Green catching passes for Georgia, although never quite like this.
By the time Peterson became an all-world player for the Tigers in 2010, the Tigers and Bulldogs didn't meet.
But they were back-to-back top five picks in April's draft – Green No. 4 to Cincinnati and Peterson No. 5 to the Cards – and will be the marquee matchup in Sunday's game.
"The matchup has been fun every time we have had a chance to go at it," Peterson said. "Now we have another chance to reunite. A.J. is a great athlete, a tremendous receiver, and he's definitely going to be one of the greats in the upcoming years in this league."
Green said Peterson was a special player, "probably one of the best corners I went against in college." In Green's two games against LSU while Peterson was playing, he had three catches for 89 yards and a touchdown in a Georgia win and five for 99 and a score in a 2009 loss. This year, he already has become the Bengals' top pass target, catching 61 passes for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns already.
Peterson, who has been hooking up against the opponents' top receivers for a few games now, figures to shadow his former college nemesis.
"They picked him at number five for a reason," Green said. "I'm facing the best corner every week so really there's nothing different."
Who gets the better of the battle may swing Saturday's result. Who won the matchups in college? Peterson wasn't saying.
"We both made plays," Peterson said with a smile. "We both made plays. That's my guy. I can't put my guy under the bus."
Tight end Todd Heap was slowly getting into the rhythm of the offense – 10 catches in a game-and-a-half against Seattle and the Giants – before going down with a torn hamstring Oct. 2. He played in parts of three of the next nine games without even a target, much less a reception.
That changed against the Browns, when he had seven catches (and nine targets) for 69 yards and reemerged as a key part of the offense.
"The most important thing is that we won," Heap said. "All those catches, if we lose, it's all for naught."
The tight ends, now healthy, are coming in with a bigger role as pass catchers; Jeff King also made an outstanding reception Sunday for 24 yards and a first down.
KEITH LIKELY TO SIT
Right tackle Brandon Keith (ankle) didn't practice again Thursday and coach Ken Whisenhunt said it was "unlikely" Keith would play in Cincinnati. Jeremy Bridges would start in his place. Quarterback Kevin Kolb remained limited and Whisenhunt said he wants to see how Kolb responds to the plane flight before making any judgments.
Whisenhunt has yet to name his starting quarterback for the Bengals game.
The only changes to the Cards' injury report were that safety and special teamer Sean Considine was able to get back to limited work on his bad foot, and that punter Dave Zastudil practiced full with his torn right biceps.