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Megatron vs. Patrick Peterson spices up Lions-Cards

There's nothing at stake except jobs, reputations and draft positions when the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals meet at University of Phoenix Stadium. But it should provide one of the most intriguing individual matchups of the regular season.

Megatron vs. Patrick Peterson

Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson tried to hype the meeting this week, but it largely fell on deaf ears outside of Michigan and Arizona. Peterson called himself the best cornerback in the NFL and Calvin Johnson the second-best wide receiver behind Peterson's teammate Larry Fitzgerald. The speedy 2011 No. 5 overall pick, at 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, is one of the few corners in the league that has a chance one-on-one against Megatron.

Johnson and the Lions, however, are trying to make history. He is 303 yards shy of breaking NFL great Jerry Rice's single-season record of 1,848 receiving yards.

Few teams have dared to play Johnson one-on-one, but few teams have a cornerback the caliber of Peterson.

Here's the rest of our Week 15 underrated storylines:

Doug Martin vs. Saints run defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints are all but eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn't change the mutual dislike between the NFC South rivals. Everyone knows the best way to beat the Saints is to keep quarterback Drew Brees on the sideline. That responsibility falls to Buccaneers running back Doug Martin and the offensive line. Martin ripped off a torrid stretch between Week 8-11 where he averaged 148 yards. He was held to 106 combined yards in the next two games before bouncing back with 128 against the Philadelphia Eagles last week. He needs one of those 120-plus-yard games to work the clock and leave Brees in the ballcap, especially in the Superdome.

The Saints have the NFL's worst run defense and has allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of the past seven games. And these aren't even the Adrian Petersons of the world. We're talking about backups in David Wilson (just 13 carries) and Marcel Reese in addition to LeSean McCoy and Willis McGahee.

The defense has been a sieve in New Orleans. Martin and the Bucs' offense need to take advantage of the Saints' weaknesses in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

David Wilson vs. Falcons run defense

All kinds of playoff implications in the "A" this week, and the focus is on two of the top passing attacks in the NFL. Eli Mannings vs. Matt Ryan. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Martellus Bennett vs. Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Gone are the days where Brandon Jacobs and Michael Turner would have headlined.

But the New York Giants are much more dangerous with a run game and Wilson, provided he has a repeat of last week's 100-yard rushing performance. The rookie brings breakaway speed to the field and has bounced back from an early season benching.

The Falcons have the No. 23 run defense and have had good moments (held the Bucs' Martin to 50 yards) and not-so-good (surrendered 127 yards to the Cardinals' LaRod Stephens-Howling). The Giants put 52 on the board last week with Wilson breaking big gains in the run and return games.

Alfred Morris vs. Trent Richardson

The top rookie rusher vs. the first running back taken in the 2011 NFL Draft. These two could be near the top of the rushing yards list for years to come -- if Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris isn't just another product of coach Mike Shanahan's system. If Morris wants to debunk that theory, he needs to outperform Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson on Sunday.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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