Despite Madden Curse, Calvin Johnson more than meets the eye

      October 25, 2012 @ 16:20:24 PDT

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Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford
A Stafford infection

Plus, if not for an odd Philadelphia Eagles second-half strategy switch, Johnson's Week 6 would've been much worse. They had his number for most of the first half.

Now, even brash youngsters are coming at the king. The suddenly outspoken 6-foot-3, 195-pound Richard Sherman hopes to be more than meets the eye. "Optimus Prime," per his rented Twitter handle, will be covering the 6-foot-5, 236-pound Megatron this weekend for the Seattle Seahawks. Hopefully, Michael Bay keeps his hands off this potential epic, though Johnson's production may resemble Bay's talent by the time this game reaches handshakes.

Can No. 81 gut through his lackluster limb and create separation from the physical play he'll be facing? If he plays to Seattle's hyper-aggressiveness, it's possible. But size will matter even if Johnson slips past Sherman. Cornerback Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (6-foot-3, 232) won't shy away, either. Earl Thomas (5-foot-10, 202) plays bigger than he looks.

Still, unless the knee injury turns out to be something that either will become a problem or has been bugging him throughout the year, we're experiencing the most benign case of the Madden Curse. You're not considering benching Johnson. Ever. Through the first seven weeks (six games for him), he ranks seventh in the combined WR-TE pool with 67 targets and has seen fewer than 11 looks in a game just once (seven in Week 1).

And, duh, he has 10 games left.

I don't for one second believe the 2012 season marks the league-wide light bulb ding to figure out Calvin Johnson. Limiting this one-dimensional offense involves merely containing their top guy. It's a team-wide problem, stemming from the dude taking snaps. Their timing seems off but has plenty of time for restoration. You know the famous "dying quail" quote from Crash Davis regarding batting average? You can apply that here to Johnson's red-zone trips. A few more battles won in that coveted 10-yard window, and we won't even be worried about him anymore.

Sure, but what's his schedule like?

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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