The New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers are squaring off this Sunday at Heinz Field in what is a HUGE game for both of these teams. The Steelers have won their last two games after dropping their previous four, and are currently second in the AFC North due to the Ravens holding the tiebreaker over them. With Baltimore taking on the red-hot Miami Dolphins on Sunday, there’s a good chance that Pittsburgh could take over first place in the division if they come away with a W.
The Giants, on the other hand, hold the second-best record in the NFC at 8-3 and are currently on a six-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Giants, the best team in the NFC happens to be in their division, so they also need a win to keep pace with the Cowboys, who currently have a two-game lead on the G-Men.
Both of those storylines are definitely intriguing, but the main draw for me going into this game is the fact that two of the best receivers in the game are taking the field. I’m talking about seeing Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. (hopefully) going touchdown for touchdown on Sunday. In my opinion, these are the two best receivers in the NFL and they’re both doing it while being undersized guys who are blazing fast. With that being said, who would you rather have on your team?:
What can Brown do for you? Since coming into the league in 2010, AB didn’t come out of the gates as hot as Beckham did, but from 2013-15, he recorded 375 catches, 5,031 yards, and 41 touchdowns… Yeah, he did all of that in a three-year span. This year he’s having another monster season with 82 catches, 998 yards, and 10 touchdowns with five games to go. If all that isn’t enough for you, Brown is also one of the game’s best punt returners and has taken back four punts back for touchdowns throughout his career. The fact that he’s done this as a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan (shoutout to MACtion) who’s under six feet tall is flat out insane to me. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is without a doubt the most important player on the Steelers, if he’s healthy they’re always going to be contenders, but Brown isn’t far behind him. His playmaking ability in the passing game opens up the run game for superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, and as a Giants fan, I’m now starting to get nervous as I write this and knowing the team will be facing this offense on Sunday. Brown catches just about everything thrown his way and is arguably the most dynamic playmaker in the open field when the ball is in his hands. It could potentially be a long day for the improved Giants defense on Sunday. Shit.
Odell Beckham Jr.
This Beckham guy isn’t too bad either. Through two and a half seasons in the NFL, the first-round pick out of LSU has recorded 252 catches, 3,670 yards, 33 touchdowns, a Rookie of the Year Award, and some catch that I don’t know if many people saw. Oh yeah, he’s also 24 years old. Last week against Cleveland, Beckham took a punt back for a touchdown that got called back on a holding penalty, so expect him to start returning more punts like Brown. With virtually zero running game, the Giants offense relies heavily on the passing game and focuses heavily on Beckham’s playmaking ability. The main knock on OBJ is that he can be a head case, as he showed earlier this season when the Giants were 2-3 and he wasn’t putting up the numbers we were used to seeing. Since then, the Giants have won six games in a row (in large part to an improved defense) and Beckham has scored seven out of eight touchdowns and has also seemed to stop acting like a child. Given that can all change at the drop of a hat, but regardless I love having him in a Giants jersey.
I’m not going to take the easy way out by saying I’d be happy with either one of these receivers and not choosing between the two, I’m not a coward. I’d probably lean towards taking Beckham because yes, I am a Giants fan so I am a bit biased, but also because he’s four years younger than Brown and in my opinion seems a bit more athletic. That’s not to say I’d be disappointed if I had Brown instead of Beckham, because it’d be just as awesome, but I give the slightest of edges to Beckham. Regardless, whichever cornerback is covering Brown and Beckham on Sunday is going to have their hands full, and most likely will end up on their highlight reels. I can’t wait for Sunday.