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Richard Sherman thinks Atlanta receivers are best tandem in league

Richard Sherman

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman appears during NFL football practice, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Renton, Wash. The Seahawks are scheduled to play the Atlanta Falcons Sunday in an NFC divisional playoff game. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman thinks the Atlanta Falcons receiving corps provides the biggest challenge his team has faced all season.

The Falcons’ duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, along with tight end Tony Gonzalez, are among the most dynamic group of pass catchers the Seahawks have had to face this season.

“I would think so,” Sherman said Wednesday. “They’re two of the best in the league. They’re two of the best out there right now as individuals. For a tandem they’re probably the top tandem out there.”

Seattle has faced some of the best receivers in the game this season in Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall, but they haven’t seen a group that poses as big a threat as Atlanta will this week.

“I think it is really going to be an exciting match-up to watch. Their receivers are so good, and they target the heck out of those guys, them and Tony Gonzalez, so there is going to be a lot of chances in this game,” head coach Pete Carroll said.

Sherman praised the ability of Jones and White in their route-running and their ability to make an impact downfield. He said while both are dynamic players, they are effective in different ways.

“I think Roddy is more crafty of a route-runner,” Sherman said. “He uses different tricks and things. You can see that he’s a veteran when he’s route-running. Julio runs hard routes and plays the game more physical. I think he’s stronger in his routes and uses his body more.”

“This is probably the best pair [of receivers] and pair [of cornerbacks] that you could match-up, and because of the size, and because of their physical nature in the way that they play, it’s going to be really exciting to see, " Carroll said.

The match-up of White and Jones against Sherman and Brandon Browner will be one of the most intriguing positional battles of the weekend. Which tandem is more effective on Sunday could go a long way in determining who earns the spot in the NFC Championship game. As always, Sherman is eager for the challenge.

“It’s going to be a fun match-up for us. It’s fun to play against good players. Good against good is always the best kind of game,” Sherman said.