IRVING, Texas - Big on Big.
From a record standpoint, that's one way to categorize this showdown between defending Super Bowl champion Seattle and the 4-1 Cowboys.
But when it comes to a particular matchup when the Cowboys have the ball, that's really the only way to describe it.
Richard Sherman vs. Dez Bryant.
Arguably the best cornerback in the NFL against one of the most dynamic receivers in the league.
Not only is this a battle of two great players in the NFL, but two of the more physical players at their respective positions. Once again, it's back to Big on Big.
While Bryant didn't get into specifics about his potential matchup with Sherman, he did express excitement going up against elite competition.
"Sherman is arguably the best corner in the league. He's an outstanding player," Bryant said. "If you're going up against a guy like that, you have to be well-prepared. You can't go in lollygagging. It's a great challenge. He's a person I have a lot of respect for. We have a lot of respect for each other. We're just going to go out there and battle."
Most people know by now how good Sherman is, but Bryant, who has been studying him on film, offered his perspective as to why the Seahawks' talented corner is so good.
"He's big, he can run, he's got length. You have to play big," Bryant said. "You just can't go in there and think you can do this … you have to be well-prepared."
Now, based off preparation, the film would suggest Sherman won't exactly shadow Bryant all over the field. He plays the left side, so on routes when Bryant lines up to Tony Romo's right, that's when the matchup will occur. But unless Seattle shakes up their strategy, it won't be an every-snap battle between Bryant and Sherman.
But it will be often enough to note.
"Well, they're going to go against each other," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "They're going to go against each other a lot. We certainly have a healthy respect for (Sherman) and really everybody on their defense and throughout their team. We have to go play our best football. There's a lot of great matchups in this game, all across our team. We find it exciting to see our guys play."
But no matchup is seemingly as dynamic as this one. Garrett calls both Sherman and Bryant two of the more competitive players in the league, and two guys who have a physical style that is typically unmatched.
"No question, they're both physical players," Garrett said. "They both compete at the line of scrimmage. They compete at the ball. They compete all throughout the down. It's certainly one of the good matchups in this game – but among many good matchups."
Last week, the Cowboys faced Houston's All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who moves all over the field to create his own mismatches. But the Cowboys didn't just locate Watt before each snap, they often ran right at him.
That's not to say the Cowboys will attack Sherman's side of the field with every throw, but it doesn't sound as if the offense will ignore him. Bryant said that mentality can be tricky. [embedded_ad]
"It's a mindset. You have to go play your game," Bryant said. "But you have to give them their respect – there's a reason why we're talking about them. You have to be prepared for players like this. He's one of the best. You have to lace your shoes up and be ready to go."
Obviously, Sherman is one of the NFL's most vocal players. Whether it's considered trash-talking or just verbal annoyance, Bryant has never been shy about voicing his opinions as well.
Still, Garrett said he's not too concerned with Bryant getting caught up in heated exchanges.
"I think he's matured in so many different ways," Garrett said of Bryant. "He's matured as a route runner, he's matured in the inventory of routes that he can run. Patience during a game, when he gets a lot of attention from the defense, I think is an important part of his maturity as well. That allows him to play well throughout games. He's going to get attention every week. He's going to get the best guy or some kind of double-coverage. That's what those kinds of guys go through. The guys who can handle that the best and keep playing are typically the best receivers in the league." Dez Bryant has earned the right to be labeled as that. But he can even add to that perception based off his performance this Sunday against the NFL's best cornerback.