Seahawks’ cornerback face big challenge

Falcons' receivers White and Jones will provide test



RENTON — Taken individually, Roddy White and Julio Jones rank among the NFL’s elite at wide receiver.

As a tandem, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman doesn’t know if there is a better duo.

“As a tandem, they’re probably the top tandem out there,” Sherman said. “It’s going to be a tough matchup for us but it’s fun to play against good players.”

Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game between Seattle and Atlanta will feature a fascinating matchup between Sherman and fellow Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner and the Falcons’ receiving duo of White and Jones.

It’s the big, physical cornerbacks of the Seahawks, who because of their skills allow Seattle’s defense to be unique, against the big, physical and fast star receivers of the Falcons who make the offense go.

“I expect our guys to try to play like they always play. They don’t need to change anything because we’re not doing anything different, we’re going to try and hang with them, and we’ll find out what happens,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “This is probably the best pair and pair 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.”

While neither was the Falcons’ leading receiver — that honor went to tight end Tony Gonzalez — White and Jones are coming off excellent regular seasons. White had more catches with 92 versus Jones’ 79. Jones caught more touchdowns with 10, compared to White’s seven.

But Browner and Sherman were stars of the defensive side. They combined for 11 interceptions — despite Browner missing four games due to suspension — and 30 passes defensed, with 24 of those by Sherman.

“Everybody is talking about it,” Atlanta center Todd McClure said. “They’ve got good corners. We’ve got good receivers. I think when you look back on this game Sunday afternoon, whoever wins that matchup will probably be successful on the field.”