The NFL used to be home to the greatest nicknames in sports, however, for the most part, they've lost their creativity in recent years. Names like "Hacksaw" Reynolds and "Mean Joe" Greene turned into lame abbreviations like MJD or undeserved titles like "Sanchize." Though one nickname has stuck for one of the leagues better players, and it isn't half bad.
The 5-0 Detroit Lions' dominant wide receiver Calvin Johnson finds himself being called "Megatron" more than he does by his actually birth name. For the Hasboro-deprived or Go-Bot fans out there, Megatron is the powerful leader of the Decepticons in the Transformers franchise. And the way Johnson plays the game, you'd think he did have rockets at the bottom of his feet.
This weeks match-up between the 49ers and Lions is perhaps the game of the week as both teams have a current combined record of 9-1. The Lions are rolling on all cylinders and the 49ers are going to need to summon their greatest Autobot if they have any chance to topple to Megatron's squad.
After some thought, it became clear to me that the only other physically astounding point-scorer that is any match to what Johnson can do is 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. Davis is the Optimus Prime that will lead us to victory over 'Trons Lions. And much like any Transformers film, it will be an epic 3-hour battle.
Not to take away anything from Frank Gore, but the 49ers will need to get the ball to their most freakish athlete in Davis. The tight end, who I believe is on the same level as Johnson, just playing a different position, can tear up the middle of any defense in the league. I believe we will need to devise a similar gameplan to the one Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman concocted against Philadelphia or Tampa Bay.
Detroit is a talented team but they don't have the linebackers or safeties to handle Davis' abilities. Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Pro Bowler had two touchdown grabs and was used in a plethora of different ways in this new offense -- even lining up in the backfield in split-backs, taking a hand-off.
With the Lions being so strong up front, the 49ers offensive line is going to have to hold together like it has the past two weeks and Alex Smith is going to have to continue to prove he can play quarterback in this league successfully. But for as good as both of these teams are defensively in 2011, this could turn into a shootout.
If that is indeed what ends up happening, you can be sure that it will turn into Megatron versus Optimus Prime. Both men, virtual locks for return trips to the Pro Bowl, have fought tooth and nail to become the players they are today. They are leaders for their respective teams and win or lose, this will be a classy showdown between two rivitalized franchises.
Vernon Davis, who has 22 receptions for 263 yards and three touchdowns this season will look to build on an already polished first half to his career. And more importantly, he will look to bring his team to 5-1 before they enter the bye week. This game is one of the few real challenges San Francisco has left on their schedule, so it's crucial that we come out swinging.
Let's just hope this story has a happy ending with Optimus Prime leading his squad to victory over Megatron and his.
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