Revis +9: List of 10 Best Cornerbacks Left in Playoffs
But after Revis, which teams present the best cornerback play?
The answers will figure prominently in determining which teams in divisional playoff action this weekend advance to the conference championship games.
We know the assault on cornerbacks that dominating quarterbacks and whiz receivers dispensed this season. The Arizona-Green Bay playoff matchup of 801 combined passing yards, 9 passing touchdowns and 96 points provided the exclamation mark.
Four playoff offenses remain that during the regular season averaged at least 8.0 yards gained per pass attempt: San Diego (8.7), New Orleans (8.3) Dallas (8.2) and Minnesota (8.0). In last year's entire playoff field, only one team (San Diego at 8.4) entered averaging more than 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
And six teams (San Diego, New Orleans, Dallas, Minnesota, Indianapolis and Arizona) remain in the playoffs that passed for more than 4,000 yards this season. In last season's entire playoff field, only two teams (Arizona and Indianapolis) threw for more than 4,000 yards in the regular season.
We know that effective pass defense correlates to stout pass rush on quarterbacks. In that regard, Minnesota (48 regular-season sacks), Arizona (43), Dallas (42) and New Orleans and San Diego (35 apiece) appear most primed to corralling passing offenses this weekend.
As good as Revis and the Jets have been in pass defense -- they rank tops in the league -- their challenge against the Chargers ranks as the toughest, according to one NFL general manager.
"This is the matchup of the weekend in terms of pass offense vs. pass defense that I can't wait to see," the general manager said. "When you look at San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson and the rest of that crew of receivers, tight ends and backs, they have a mixture there of four players who have caught at least 45 balls and 22 for touchdowns. The Jets really have their work cut out for them there."
Another general manager said the cornerbacks facing the toughest road is Baltimore's versus the Indianapolis bunch.
"The Ravens have to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands as much as they can with ball control offense and then they have to play great red zone defense," that general manager said. "Peyton and that passing offense are going to get yards. But can you match up in the red zone and keep them out of the end zone?"
Both general managers say the Arizona-New Orleans playoff battle on Saturday in New Orleans reduces to which defense can most pressure Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Both look to see how the Saints secondary will match up against Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the game's X-factor, both insist.
The top cornerback tandem remaining in the playoffs?
"It has to be the Jets' Revis and Lito Sheppard because of what they ask both to do in that scheme, which is a ton of press and man coverage," one general manager said.
The other general manager chose San Diego's Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer.
"Both have been pro bowl players," said the general manager, "and both do their job in run support."
Some playoff cornerbacks shine due to their athletic arrogance. Others thrive relying most upon technique. Each playoff team remaining has at least one cornerback it considers its shutdown corner and that is a primary reason these teams have reached the final eight.
Tennessee Titans defensive secondary coach Marcus Robertson ranks these 10 cornerbacks as the best in action this weekend:
1.) Darrelle Revis, Jets -- "He's the best in the entire league right now and he does not get a lot of help over the top," Robertson said. "He matches up with the best receiver all day and makes plays for the Jets. It's not that he is so quick as much as he is explosive. He has what we call `step and replace.' He re-routes you but still stays on top of you. And he is great at being able to get his head turned around and make plays on the ball."
2.) Terence Newman, Cowboys -- "He gives Dallas all the tools you need to be a top corner. Veteran and savvy. Grizzled and knows all the tricks."
3.) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cardinals -- "I have always thought this player gives Arizona unbelievable athletic ability and tools at the position. He's still young and takes some foolish chances and is learning that when you go for the pick, you've got to get there. At 6-2 and maybe 6-3, his unusual length at the position helps him make up for some mistakes."
4.) Antoine Winfield, Vikings -- "When he is healthy, he gives the Vikings one of the most complete corners in the game. He's tough. Maybe the toughest cornerback. He would fit perfectly in a lot of people's scheme no matter the scheme. It doesn't look like he can play straight-line defense against a fast, young receiver anymore and I'm sure the Vikings will account for that part of his game against the fastest Dallas receivers."
5.) Antonio Cromartie, Chargers -- "His skills are off the chart. The Chargers have to love his size (6-foot-2, 203 pounds) and his make-up ability."
6.) Mike Jenkins, Cowboys -- "I though he was a little lazy last year for Dallas and wasn't playing with a sense of urgency. Now he has that urgency and is capable of really impacting games."
7.) Lito Sheppard, Jets -- "A nice complement to Revis for the Jets and he is experienced in the playoffs. He learned under (former defensive coordinator) Jim Johnson in Philadelphia and has the experience to know what the weakness of his defense is and not get beat toward that weakness but play toward the strength of his defense."
8.) Quentin Jammer, Chargers -- "Solid. He can tackle, cover. Not a lot of flash but just goes to work."
9.) Jabari Greer, Saints -- "A little smaller (listed at 5-foot-11, 180-pounds but probably a tad shorter and lighter). A technique type of guy who did a good job with Buffalo before joining New Orleans. He's dealt with injuries this year but he has still been a playmaker for them."
10.) Cedric Griffin, Vikings -- "He's sort of like Winfield for the Vikings. He is not so much an outstanding cover guy. He works hard and is smart player."